Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Professor Frank Quattrone Talks History of Tech IPOs

These days, Frank Quattrone, the famous dot-com banker, tends to focus more on mergers and acquisitions than IPOs. But he made an appearance earlier this week to give a lecture about historic tech IPOs aimed at entrepreneurs looking to take their companies public.

Speaking at an event put on by Wealthfront that I also covered here, Quattrone noted that he worked on his first IPO way back in 1982.

Going back even further to 1971, if someone had invested a dollar in Intel’s IPO, it would be worth $1,480 today, Quattrone said. To put that into perspective (or whatever’s the opposite of perspective!), if Facebook goes public at a $100 billion market cap that grows 20 percent per year for 40 years, the company would then be worth an unimaginable $146 trillion.

Quattrone noted the importance of the LinkedIn IPO experience in stabilizing market expectations, though he said the valuations of today’s late-stage venture capital round make him nervous.

He admonished would-be public CEOs, “Don’t go public before you can be public,” and, “Respect public investors and treat them as partners and important constituents.”

The tireless Silicon Valley social butterfly Robert Scoble attended the Wealthfront event, and posted video from it here.

The Quattrone part goes until about 26 minutes into the video, after which comes a pretty interesting panel of venture capitalists (which I suppose should get a NSFW warning, because there were F-bombs involved).

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work