From the Crowd

Commentary and analysis from outside voices in venture capital, hedge funds and economics

The growth of growth-stage companies

June 22, 2011: 10:27 AM ET

What growth-stage CEOs are thinking about the rest of 2011, and beyond.

By Jeff Richards, contributor

Last Thursday, GGV Capital hosted 25 of the top growth-stage CEOs in the U.S. for dinner at Town Hall in San Francisco. The topic was "Growth Stage Financing, M&A and IPOs," and our guest speakers were unqualified experts on the subject – Ted Wang (Fenwick & West), Keith Rabois (COO at Square) and Bruce Felt (CFO, SuccessFactors).

My partner Glenn Solomon listed some of the highlights on his blog last Friday. In addition to those insights, we took a survey of CEOs in attendance. A few results:

1. Size & Funding: 47% of companies in attendance will do more than $25 million in revenue this year. 55% of companies have raised more than $15 million in venture capital to date, and 59% are planning to raise more in 2011.

2. Growth: Perhaps the most amazing statistic -- and an explanation as to why valuations have continued to rise -- 100% of companies are growing revenue at more than 30% per year, and 82% are growing at more than 50% per year. Wow.

3. Hiring:  55% of CEOs said the war for talent is a real challenge. "Very competitive, harder than 2010."

4. Valuations: This is not surprising given their growth rates, but 77% of the CEO's believe valuations will be at their current levels or higher throughout the end of 2011 (46% said they'll be higher).

6. M&A: 45% of CEOs said M&A interest in their company has increased considerably vs. 2010, while 55% said it's essentially the same as 2010.

7. IPOs: 25% of our CEOs said they are currently planning for a 2011 or 2012 IPO, while 55% said an IPO isn't something they've thought about. 20% said they "have no interest in running a public company."

Thank you to everyone who attended, and a special thanks to our guest speakers – Ted, Keith and Bruce.  Some great insights shared over a great meal.

Jeff Richards (@jrichlive) is a partner with venture capital firm GGV Capital.

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