Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
There are few constants in entrepreneurship—perhaps none. That is why when something appears to be even semi-stable across meaningful periods, it is usually worth further investigation. This short paper investigates just such an apparent constant. Specifically, it is often claimed that there only are fifteen to twenty information technology companies created per year in the United States that turn out to “matter,” where matter is defined as the company (relatively) promptly going from founding to $100 million in revenues. Further, and of real consequence to cities and regional economies, is that most such companies founded in any given year are thought to be in California. This paper tries to find out if the preceding is true.
For our purposes, companies that matter must meet (at least) the following three criteria:
- They must be scalable. They must, in other words, be able to grow to at least $100 million in revenues, and ideally, much larger.
- They must be disproportionate creators of jobs. They must be able to generate jobs quickly and broadly, even if they may not generate jobs in line with their revenue growth.
- They must be disproportionate creators of wealth. Both directly, through profits, salaries, and profit-sharing, and indirectly, through equity, options, and perhaps a public listing, they must put wealth back in the hands of the company’s ecosystem.