Groom your company right from the start to become a part of a public company's portfolio.
One of the reasons that so many companies are formed in Silicon Valley is that they are all groomed from Day One for sale to another Silicon Valley company. Proximity makes it just that much easier for a company to be sold, which makes it that much easier for the company to raise capital. When a company has a huge-market capitalization, it can use that stock or cash to go on an acquiring binge. For many years, we started companies with a specific buyer in mind, such as Microsoft, Oracle, or Cisco. More recently, Google, Groupon, and AOL have been active acquirers. The movie companies are also in the wings as they decide to get into or out of the game business. It is a good strategy to watch the IPO market this year and ask yourself what newly-public companies would like to buy. Groom your start-up from to be a fit into their portfolio. Then move fast and get something going quickly before they have spent their money or find out that some of the things they bought are crap. Your sale will make your shareholders rich and you get to work with these companies for a couple of years as part of the deal. After that, you can buy your boat (or perhaps an island) and live happily ever after.