The typical tech startup story usually involves a kid with an idea who's raised tens of millions from venture capitalists and who ends up selling out to Google, AOL, or some other mega-company for hundreds of millions, if not more. It all seems super exciting and very sexy. And because we hear about it so often, it also seems rather easy. So easy, in fact, that every time another Internet-based company like Instagram gets bought for $1 billion by Facebook, there's a whole new crop of people who rush to the get their own online company launched, expecting the same result. If only that happened to every company!
The truth is, for every company that sells for an outrageous amount, there are probably thousands of companies that fail while just trying to eke out a small profit. To start with, venture capital is notoriously hard to come by. It's estimated that for every company that a VC funds, the VC has considered about 400 companies that they ultimately rejected. And of the ones that have gotten VC funding, many struggle to meet financial expectations.
The point of all this isn't to scare you into putting this book down and giving up on the idea of becoming independently wealthy through a Web venture. The point is to try to bring your expectations down to Earth a little bit. A Web-based business doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing thing. You can generate great revenue and build a successful business without taking in huge VC-backed investments or selling for billions of dollars. If that's what you want, go for it! It's great to have that as a goal. But be prepared to potentially settle for a little less as well.