From its first funding until IPO, Twitter took 77 months (6.4 years). But is that much time the norm or atypical? We’d already highlighted that the road to go public for venture-backed healthcare companies, on average, requires nearly seven years and over $100M in funding. How does tech stack up?
Using CB Insights venture capital data, we analyzed VC-backed tech companies that have exited since 2007 to find out just how long it takes. The time to exit for each company was defined as the period in months between the dates of its first funding round and its exit.
The following chart shows the average time to exit taken by tech companies that have exited since 2007. In 2007, it took a company 70 months from first funding round to exit via IPO and 59 months if via M&A – an 11 month gap. Since 2007, the time to exit via M&A has grown only marginally while exits via IPO have steadily increased in length. Companies exiting in 2013 YTD via IPO took 85 months and those via M&A took 54 months – a difference of 31 months.
Next, we looked at median exit times. Contrary to the average trend, the median time to exit via M&A has, in fact, decreased over the past few years. While the median time to exit via IPO has seen much more variability, it is on an upward trend similar to the corresponding average.
As we peel back the time to exit in just the mobile and internet sectors, we see that the average time to exit within the internet sector has been pretty flat while that of the mobile sector seems to be on a slight decline. Interestingly, the data for 2013 to-date shows that both mobile and internet companies have converged and are taking the same time on average (~50 months or 4.2 years) to exit the market.
Interestingly, the median exit times for both mobile and internet show a relatively steep decline with the median exit times converging at ~34 months in 2013. This steep decline in months to exit for mobile companies has largely been driven a change in mix of the type of mobile companies exiting. In 2007, exits were largely in the more capital-intensive telecom equipment and services area while more recent exits have been in the mobile apps and software area.