How much can I sell my startup for?

When we think about a company getting acquired, we tend to remember the biggest successes: YouTube, Instagram, and other $1 billion dollar plus exits. But startups are hard. Even with a great product and a great team, sometimes the market fit or the timing just isn’t right. Recent research at Harvard Business School found that as many as three-quarters of venture-backed startups fail. There are plenty of companies that get acquired in smaller deals. So if you are a founder that has realized the time is right for you to sell, how do you estimate what a realistic price might be?
First, realize that startups are bought, not sold. It is very hard to initiate a sales process. When it becomes clear that selling your company is the best course of action, it’s important to do everything you can to raise the profile of your startup amongst potential acquirers. You don’t want to be waiting by the phone on prom night; you’ve got to do everything you can to get asked well in advance. Raising your profile among prospective buyers is one of the best reasons for having proactive PR and Business Development. One of the key drivers of valuation is simply the number of bids you get. The more, the merrier.
Now, assume you’ve been able to gather more than one interested party to your company. The range in valuation you might reasonably expect is largely a function of the type of acquisition that you’re looking at. Here are some of main drivers behind acquisitions:
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