The LinkedIn IPO, Mark Pincus and Zynga, elevator pitch obsolescence, and more entrepreneur news.
LinkedIn is worth more than Fiji? The social network for professionals priced its IPO at $45 a share, and if it raises the expected $352.8 million, it will be valued at $4.3 billion. That makes LinkedIn worth more than most developing countries. DealBook reports that LinkedIn's "offering will be the fifth largest for the Internet software and services sector in the United States". Not bad for a company that, according to its own S-1 filing, does not expect to be profitable in 2011. We didn't say "bubble" just yet, but then again, we don't need to. "Analysts have raised concerns that LinkedIn's valuation is running ahead of its fundamentals," DealBook points out.
LinkedIn's role in the social media landscape. If the social media world were a high school, Facebook would be the star quarterback rocketing to a career in the NFL and LinkedIn would be the studious introvert getting into the Ivy League. While LinkedIn may be less notoriously revolutionary than its social media counterpart, the professional networking site plays a major role in the growing industry, especially today, when it became the first major social network to trade publicly. According to TechCrunch reporter Sarah Lacy, LinkedIn's success stems from the fact that it is practical, and maybe even a little boring. Comparing LinkedIn to a AAA card, Lacy says the network remains an indispensable tool throughout a professional's career.
Mark Pincus and the Zynga game company that made him a billionaire. Save this link for when you have a few minutes to read Vanity Fair's profile of the colorful Zynga founder Mark Pincus, who is behind Facebook games like FarmVille. His company now has 250 million users and a $10 billion valuation, and also illustrates the second Silicon Valley boom underway.
Get your elevator pitch in while you still can!The Wall Street Journalreports this morning that hi-tech elevators are making the classic "elevator pitch" moment harder than ever. The problem lies in the new elevator dispatch systems, which are popping up in cities like Denver and New York; they group people together by floor and only stop at that floor for maximum efficiency. So, if that executive you wanted to talk to resides on a different floor, you're out of luck. Not all is lost. First Round Capital's Charlie O'Donnell told the Journal: "Stay in the lobby in front of the elevator door. That's your optimal pitch place."
$10,000 in 60 Seconds. The elevator pitch can still be one of those mythical things in the business world that if done correctly can often lead to money and success. At Howard University in Washington D.C., 100 Urban Entrepreneurs held a contest for idea-filled young entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas in 60 seconds or less with the chance to win $10,000. Watch the event here:
Minority entrepreneurs get a lift from Comcast and DreamIt. DreamIt Ventures, a venture fund and start-up accelerator in Philadelphia, is partnering up with Comcast's venture capital arm on a program to give minority entrepreneurs seed funding, training, and mentoring. According to TechCrunch, five minority-led start-ups will pilot the program this fall, and get advised by experts in marketing, brand building, business development, financial modeling, distribution, and customer acquisitions. This is Comcast Interactive Capital's first investment initiative from the $20 million fund created from the acquisition of NBC Universal.
Not all start-ups are created equal.The New York Timesnotes that the "bubbly" feeling in Silicon Valley isn't felt by all and for every start-up that's bought for its employees, there are tons that are still struggling to make it. Paul Graham, the head of Y Combinator, told the paper that out of the 310 start-ups that have come through his company, only 25 have been sold and 18 of those were talent acquisitions.
ALLISON FASS is deputy editor of Inc.com. A longtime business journalist at Forbes and The New York Times, she has also held roles in venture capital and innovation at Hearst Interactive Media and digital strategy at a start-up consultancy. @alliefass