Jeff the Great Crowns Instagram a Winner

So much to blog about these days but it took a $1 billion acquisition of a no-revenue company to get me writing this evening. Yes, I am talking about Instagram and the sale to Facebook. One billion dollars. Wow...and congrats to them! The most amazing thing to me is that they are just a 10 person company with a product used by around 30 million people. That, my friends, is a lean startup!

So here is something to think about. Facebook paid approximately $33 for every Instagram user. That got me thinking, will this number be cited in the valuation of other web/mobile companies as they raise funding or negotiate a buyout? This means if your web/mobile app has 1 million users, you could reasonably argue that your company is worth $33 million......or more if you have revenue!

That is a little far fetched but it is a great way to remind yourself how much more work you have ahead of you. Say you have 25,000 users. That is wonderful, but you have a long way to go if you want to be purchased for millions of dollars! Twenty five thousand makes you worth about $825,000 based on Facebook/Instagram math. One hundred thousand users puts you at $3.3 million. Personally, I don't want to sell my current company for less than $100 million so I better get more than 3 million users running my software. Yikes, I have a lot of work to do!

Of course, I am over-simplifying things. Revenue changes the picture drastically. I also believe that each new Instagram user was worth more than the last (a network affect, so to speak). Not to mention all the other tangible and intangibles.

I'll leave you with this final thought. Maybe $1 billion was a bargain for Facebook? They are approaching an IPO that is rumored to value the company at around $100 billion. With around 900 million users, that is $111 per user. Makes $33 per user look like chump change, doesn't it?