The Math Behind Beginning a Profitable Software program Startup by @ttunguz


How a lot worth does a profitable software program startup create per greenback of enterprise funding?

About 10x, although it’s risky.

Let’s name the worth generated per enterprise greenback the MOIC (a number of on invested capital).

MOIC = value_at_exit / total_VC_dollars_raised

Over the past 30 years, a enterprise greenback invested in a profitable US software program startup generated $10 of worth.

Within the late 90s, the MOIC oscillated between 12-42. After the dotcom crash, the MOIC fell to five.0, save for a short interval previous the World Monetary Disaster. Quantitative Easing for the following decade juiced the MOIC to eight.5. In 2021, the determine topped 15 for the primary time in ten years.

No marvel so many new founders entered the ecosystem.


Along with MOIC patterns, the information reveals three startup fundraising epochs.

Startups within the 90s raised lower than $10m. Within the 2000s, about $30m. Within the 2010s, someplace between $30-120m. This progress outruns inflation by a mile.

The expansion in VC {dollars} raised is economically rational for profitable corporations since every greenback raised generates $10 of worth at exit.


As fundraising totals swelled, so did the prize. Common exit values hit all time highs in 2021.

However the roads runs over cobbled roads. Exits arrive during times of punctuated prosperity. 5 surges within the final 30 years show the knowledge of constructing hay whereas the solar shines. When the IPO markets shuts, exit worth regresses to the typical M&A value.

When the IPO window is open, common exiting startup values blast skywards, most not too long ago close to $1.5b. The Nasdaq’s efficiency explains 80% of the variance in exit value.

I haven’t addressed a number of questions on this evaluation. First, what’s the success fee of software program corporations throughout the complete inhabitants? Second, what’s the final founder possession at exit? I hope to cowl them sooner or later.

Regardless of all of the modifications of the previous ten years – 10x progress in enterprise {dollars} & 70% correction in inventory market valuation – the economics behind beginning a profitable software program firm stays compelling, even all through downturns.

Notes on the information

  1. Thanks to the PitchBook crew for offering the underlying information.
  2. The information set consists of solely software program M&A whose costs had been disclosed & IPOs for US venture-backed software program corporations.


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