How long tech exits really take

We looked at how long it took 205 publicly traded tech companies to exit. Specifically, we used their prospectus (S1) to find out the year each company was founded and compared it to the last year financials were released as a private company. The data is below and organized between SaaS companies (140) and Other Tech (65).

SaaS takes a long time. On median SaaS companies took 9 years to IPO/exit since founding and 11 years on average. If we isolate only those companies that exited in 2019 or 2020, those companies took 11 years to exit on median.

Other Tech (generally B2C focused) exits faster. This category includes Social Media, Marketplaces, Ad Based businesses, and Hardware, Ride Sharing, and other B2C tech. On median the exit took 7 years and on average 8 years.

The 90’s were awesome. Netscape IPO’d in 1994, the same year it was founded. Netflix IPO’d 4 years after its 1997 founding. Google took 5 years after being founded in 1998, TakeTwo took 6 years (founded in 1993), Amazon took 2 years, and Overstock took 3 years. Companies with a pre-2000 founding vintage got to exit very fast even though they were far smaller than their predecessors that IPO today. The 90’s were an incredible time and you could exit with ease relatively quickly whereas today, investors require a lot more revenue which takes time to build.

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co-founder at Blossom Street Ventures. Email me at sammy@blossomstreetventures.com