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Pressure on Entrepreneurs to Exit

by

April 30, 2015

The time spent in the run up to an IPO for an entrepreneur can be stressful to say the least, and the WSJ has a feature about Aaron Levie and Dylan Smith, the founders of cloud storage startup Box that shows how stressful it can be. There are anecdotes about Levie’s hair going grey by the age of the 30, drinking two cups of coffee at a time, clutching one in each hand, lost car keys (which led to a decision to not drive), racing between employees’ desks at Box’s headquarters and subsisting on once-a-day pho at a Vietnamese restaurant nearby. The article said that pressure to float came from Box’s PE and VC investors, after the founders turned down a chance to be acquired. These two are probably not the only ones that faced a tight private to publicly traded schedule. Renaissance Capital’s graph of the average IPO age (date of founding to IPO date) shows that companies are indeed getting younger in recent years. Not since 1999 and 2000 has the “IPO Age” been this young.

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