Pushing back on the greater fool startup model

One of the features of the current tech investment mania is the ‘greater fool’ business model of building a startup with the aim of flipping it to a larger company.

That model is based upon gaining as much publicity and users as possible to justify a high price for further investme, a buy out or stock market listing.

In that environment making money is irrelevant, in fact to many Silicon Valley investors a profitable startup is less attractive to one burning investors’ capital.

Now New York’s top tech investor, Fred Wilson, says he’s sick of that model.

But I’m a bit sick and tired of the objective of every operating plan I see is to get the business to a point where it can raise money at a much higher price. That’s nice and it’s how the VC/startup game is played. But at some point I’d prefer to see an operating plan that has the objective of getting to sustainable profitability. And I do mean sustainable.

When the froth comes off the current investment market it will be the profitable businesses, or those with a prospect of making a return, with the best prospects of survival.

Fred Wilson’s pint is a warning for the many of today’s investors; profits matter and startups need to be able to show how and where they are going to eventually a return.