Peter Cohan posted a great article in Forbes titled With $201 Million Of Capital And $1 Billion In Sales, Wayfair’s IPO Can Wait. The article is about Wayfair and the CEOs decision to delay taking the company public (read it here). Wayfair is an ecommerce home goods retailer founded by Niraj Shah and Steve Conine. The company was founded in 2002 and is on track to hit $1 billion in sales soon. For those that know Niraj and Steve, their success comes as no surprise.
Niraj and Steve started the company in 2002 with $27,000. They didn’t take any outside capital until 2011 when they raised $165 million to rebrand the company with the goal of becoming a household name. That gives them the luxury of not having investors anxious to cash out (yet) and the ability to think big.
In the article, Niraj talks about Boston entrepreneurs exiting earlier than those in Silicon Valley. He says he wants to see Boston have more “10 billion plus” technology companies.
Wayfair has the opportunity to build what the author calls a ‘pillar company’ – which he defines as a publicly-traded, local company that provides start-ups with talent, capital, and a willingness to try out their products.
We’ve had our share of pillar companies here in Atlanta. Many of our leading entrepreneurs trace their roots to companies like MSA, Peachtree Accounting, Scientific Atlanta, ISS, Mindspring, Radiant, McKesson, iXL, and WebMD.
Like Boston, Atlanta entrepreneurs tend to cash out before they scale. As we think about what it takes to make Atlanta one of the top startup hubs and the leading tech hub in the South – who will our next ‘pillar companies’ be?