Revenue Multiples for Tech Startups


Does anyone have an idea of what a revenue multiple for a tech startup with a transactional business model would be?

I know it would be highly variable, but any resources, thoughts or known multiples would be useful. Thanks!


Venture Capital Business Model

asked Aug 18 '10 at 04:31
Jim Shook
417 points
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3 Answers


What do you mean by "revenue multiple"?

If you're thinking about estimating the fair market value of the startup based on its gross revenue (a.k.a. total sales + capital gains), then you're going wrong. The company's value will be determined by many things, of which revenue is less important -- earnings (a.k.a profit), unique technology advantages, and strategic fit with the buyer are more important.

Take a look at the following link if you want a superquick primer on valuation based on earnings or see Wikipedia's longer article on it.

answered Aug 18 '10 at 06:12
Jesper Mortensen
15,292 points
  • Hey, I used to work in corp banking so I have a pretty good grasp on DCF and the ideas around earnings multiples. I was under the impression that because few startups are earnings positive, they were bought and sold on revenues a lot of the time (and even other things if there is no revenue yet). And definitely true re: tech advantages and an M&A synergy premium for that market value, just wondering if anyone knew of a ballpark number for rev multiple. – Jim Shook 13 years ago
  • Sorry that I didn't level-set correctly. :-) I still don't think that revenue is a meaningful yardstick for valuation, but perhaps someone else will contribute an answer that proves it so. For VC investment it often comes down to competitive advantage, size of the potential opportunity, and gut feeling. There are metrics loosely related to revenue that are interesting and feed into the decision, fx Customer Lifetime Value. IMHO revenue itself is not that interesting, other than it's a 'signal' for both customer need and market traction. – Jesper Mortensen 13 years ago
  • Interesting, that makes sense. And I bet bidding wars between VCs can play a big factor too. Sounds like that happened with Foursquare. Thanks for the thoughts. – Jim Shook 13 years ago


  1. DropBox: 40x (>$100M rev at $4B valuation)
  2. Facebook: 30x ($3.3B run rate on a $100B valuation)
  3. SurveyMonkey: ~20x ($50M rev on $1B valuation) Dec 2011
  4. Zynga ~7.4x ($1.2B run rate on $8.9B IPO valuation. Dec 2011)
  5. Twitter: 50x ($140M rev at a $7B valuation)
  6. AirBnB: 50x ($20M rev at a $1B valuation)


answered Dec 17 '11 at 06:15
11 points
  • Interesting, but not sure it's worth focusing on these outliers, gives the rest of us unrealistic expectations – Ryan 11 years ago


I think most web business can be valuated or actually sold for 2x - 3x annual revenue as long as there is room for growth, and positive growth (business is not sinking).

answered Dec 14 '10 at 10:52
2,079 points

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