The other day, we had a shareholder express frustration with how long this process of making a real, publicly traded, business is taking. I shared her frustration. But then I got to thinking about what our expectations were (different from what we hoped for) when we started down this road.
The Dropbox IPO really triggered this post. Dropbox was founded 11 years ago. It has never been profitable. It only started generating “free cash flow” a couple of years ago. And now, the business is probably valued at about $8 Billion. That means for about eight or nine years, Dropbox needed to raise money constantly, in order to grow.
No ordinary people are going to make money from their IPO. Investors for the past 11 years probably couldn’t sell their Dropbox stock, and if they could, it would be even harder than selling iConsumer stock. Even so, if I were an investor in Dropbox, I’d be very, very happy right now.
iConsumer is still early stage. In just three years, we’ve succeeded in involving 50,000 ordinary people in our economic future. We’ve proven we know how to make money on each customer. Any shareholder can sell their shares, at any time (but finding buyers is still very hard). Now, our challenge is to have a sufficient number of customers to make money overall.
Which is why we’re about to raise more money, to fund growth so that we, just like Dropbox, can have free cash flow. I’m still a bit frustrated, it always takes longer than I want, but it reminds me that my having patience is appropriate.