Ok, still thinking about the Makerbot news...
I have to admit, part of my reaction to the Makerbot news was "Already... jeez? It didn't even have much time."
That's because our recent experience with exits is that they suck--or the company sells right at its peak meaningfulness. Most of the startup exits that we've seen lately are of companies that are one acquiring company management pivot away from disappearing off the face of the earth.
We don't want that to happen to Bre and company.
Makerbot did over $15 million of revs last year and nearly did that in the first quarter of this year alone. It's a real business that isn't going anywhere. It's staying in Brooklyn and will grow its team long after the acquisition. In fact, there's a $200+ million incentive for them to do that over the next few years in the form of an earnout.
There's a sense out there that ecosystems need billion dollar exits--but I think if you compare Tumblr's billion to Makerbot's four to six hundred million, Makerbot is going to have a much more lasting effect on the NYC tech community. The company will employ way more people over time and its revenue plan of selling real things to real people is on a significant upward trend. This is what helps ecosystems--training masses of people how to create sustainable businesses over a long period of time. At what point in their valuation they decide to cash out matters less to the ecosystem as long as they intend to stick around, continue to interact with others, and grow their business.
Doubleclick, for example, continued to have an impact on NYC long after investors cashed out--because it threw off lots of management and technical talent into the tech community that knew about adtech and had experience.
Instagram, however, had a dozen or so employees at acquisition. It's huge financial impact was a blip in the SF ecosystem. There will be no Instagram alumni network the way that you had a Paypal Mafia.
On the other hand, Makerbot will employ over 1,000 people in Brooklyn one day. That is sigificant, no matter when they sold. If anything it makes investors happier--because then this whole venture thing seems less like a fluke and more like a way to create sustainable business models.