“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
People love startups.
I wouldn’t just say that casually. I mean that people in startup ecosystems — founders, investors, mentors and evangelists — love startups in this deep and passionate way. Startups are the physical overflows of the optimism and enthusiasm of their founders. They embody the attitude that a small group of people can change the World for the better.
For founders, startups are the ultimate empowerment — you are the master of your destiny. And for the community, country and the World, we stand to benefit from the innovations that these entrepreneurs bring to our lives.
But the journey is really hard. The path from startup to success, from idea to IPO, from (Series) A to Apple is more challenging than most founders can imagine at the onset of their voyages. (Disclosure: GSV is a shareholder of Apple.)
Today, Silicon Valley’s startup ecosystem is booming and startup fever is spreading around the country and the world. Starting a company is now easier than ever before because of the foundations that have been built. Isaac Newton, the father of modern physics and calculus, once said, “If I have seen further it is from standing on the shoulders of giants.” And in the startup world, there have been many Giants who have created the technological, financial and cultural bedrocks to enable the next generation of Pioneers and Mavericks.
In fact, it isn’t just that nearly every industries will be eaten by software, but that our world will be fundamentally transformed by the startup culture of openness, optimism, constant improvement and persistence in solving important problems.
As such, we stand at an important crossroads in history. Founding a company has become accessible to more people around the world and the demand for the Silicon Valley startup culture is strong, but there are still roadblocks, financial or otherwise, for many would-be world changers.
To understand what the future may hold, it is important to have a perspective on where we came from.
The growth of civilization from the very primitive to our modern world has paralleled our increasing use of resources, both natural and human. We have worked hard to democratize opportunity for more people and it is the challenge of this generation to capture the human resources from many more of the seven billion people that co-inhibit our world.
To that end, humanity has been on a march of progress, evolving the way that we organize our societies.
In early civilizations, monarchs dictated the lives of people and the workings of countries. You became what you were born as. A prince became a king and a farmer’s son became a farmer. As societies evolved, civilizations like Greece and Rome embraced slightly more equitable laws and over the next millennia, the tug-of-war between more centralized power and greater individual opportunity raged on. As capitalism first rose in Europe, it received criticism for being an unfair paradigm where the people with the capital, or means of production, controlled the laborers. That slowly changed as workers became more educated and could also access some of the means of production on their own.
Even so, at the beginning of the 20th century, the demand for greater opportunity outpaced actual available opportunities in the world. People seeking a better life poured to places like America, where the promise of more equality existed. But it wasn’t until the latter half of the 20th century that we saw globally impactful changes. The 1960s gave rise to the civil rights movement, legalizing equal treatment in America, and the hippie movement, opening the world to previously tabooed ideas. These forces not only reshaped America, but sent shockwaves around the world. Over the next few decades, the personal computing revolution swept the world, the Berlin Wall fell and the ideologies of a more open marketplace spread. As we approached the turn of the century, the Internet was going to change everything…and it did, but only after it first ran over the Dotcom Bubble speed-bump.
Just as we have move from low-technology, hunter-gatherer societies to high-technology, modern agriculture and production societies, we have also moved from low-participation culture where opportunities are dictated by the few people “in charge” to a high-participation culture where more people are empowered to impact their societies.
This evolution is natural. No one has a monopoly on good ideas. Having a supportive ecosystem further allows startup founders to turn ideas into important products and services. And for as far as we have come, this is just the beginning of the Startup Era.
In the second decade of the 21st century, we have the chance to usher forth an era of exponentially accelerating innovation through democratizing opportunity. This should be the Century of Entrepreneurs.
Many cities want to have the Silicon Valley culture of startups and innovation (see: Silicon Alley, Silicon Dragon, Silicon Viking, Silicon Wadi, Silicon Beach, Silicon Glen), yet established governments and industries are unsure about the impact of this wave of change. Certain ruling powers are nervous about the disruptive nature of technology and having to give up more power to their citizens. While others simply need to learn the knowledge and skills needed to build a startup ecosystem that can empower their communities.
And that’s precisely what startups are. They fit closely within Clayton Christensen’s concept of Empowering Innovation. In both mature economies looking for job creation and emerging economies looking for high-quality growth, startups are relied upon as a catalyst to allow a city or country achieve more.
Despite the arduous nature of building an idea from scratch, the willingness to take the plunge and defy the odds is the Zeitgeist of Silicon Valley.
Cities trying to become Silicon Valley naturally copy what they can easily observe — good universities, local offices for big tech companies, incentives to startups, venture capital dollars. These are necessary building blocks, but any “Get Silicon Valley Quick” scheme ultimately miss out on the most crucial piece, the Secret of Silicon Valley.
A quick search on Amazon.com reveals several titles related to the Secret of Silicon Valley like “The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley” or an upcoming book, “Secrets of Silicon Valley: What Everyone Else Can Learn From the Innovation Capital of the World”
So what is this great “Secret”?
Well, it turns out that this must be one of the worst kept secrets in the world. What makes the Valley work is its culture. Over many decades, Silicon Valley has cultivated a culture of intense optimism, openness and trust. A culture that has been shaped and informed by millions of events and people who have paved this path for upcoming entrepreneurs. It has benefited from the mixing of many different cultures that have migrated to the Valley where no one is really native.
I have been fortunate to have met people from many countries trying to boost innovation in their home countries. The most important insight for me has been this: don’t try to replicate everything that’s in Silicon Valley. That is like someone trying to become the next Steve Jobs. The world doesn’t work that way. There was a set of unique geographical characteristics and non-replicable historical contexts that gave birth to Silicon Valley and its many heroes. Just like with each individual person, each city has to forge its own path.
And while nurturing a startup culture is the eventual focus, the foundations must be strong. Not every city should try to be like Silicon Valley, at least, not yet.
Each person is unique, though hard-work, persistence, are creativity are some of the common threads among successful people. Each city is unique, though cities too can cultivate some universal qualities that will help them become more innovative.
Using a framework borrowed from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, startup ecosystems can be thought of as having a similar hierarchy of needs. Before really achieving a strong startup culture, each prior level of needs must be adequately addressed. No city will be perfect at any level but each should be strong enough to allow people to focus working on higher levels of needs.
Level 1: Stability — having stability is a basic requirement for a city (or country) to flourish and is a particular focus for emerging economies. This includes rule of law, enforcement of laws, basic infrastructure to enables exchanges and commerce and a basic health system. If these requirements are not met, people will worry more about safety and social stability than channeling energy to developing higher levels of needs.
Level 2: Rights — once the needs of stability are met, the next building blocks are rights and civilian participation. People should have the right to own their physical and intellectual property. Governments and corporations must have enough accountability and transparency for citizens to want to actively participate. More equitable participation by a city’s citizenry allows more voices to be heard and ideas to be exchanged.
Level 3: Incentives — as we move higher up in needs, people need incentives to take the types of risks inherent in startups, both in terms of financial and social rewards. A well-structured capitalist system should allow the expected benefits to outweigh the short term challenges faced by all startups.
Level 4: Opportunity — with the appropriate protections and incentives in place, founders need to have the right opportunities. Open access to information via the Internet and a robust educational system are needed. Also, having a well-functioning capital markets is vital for entrepreneurs to get started. This capital market can range from having micro-lending institutions to angel investors to institutional investors and public investors.
Level 5: Culture — ultimately, the highest level in a startup ecosystem is culture. After all of the other prior needs are built up to a satisfactory level, people will begin to naturally pursue opportunities and seek entrepreneurial activities. Over time, examples of even a small number of successes can catalyze more people to jump in. Even in Silicon Valley, there are only a handful of big companies created each year, but people look at those winners as reasons to take a shot themselves. As startup activity bubbles up, the community becomes more connected, ideas meet and mate and then run off in new directions. Some of those ideas become reality. Building a small critical mass of the startup culture will help attract the right people to join and slowly expand and even edge out the wrong people. Startup Districts can form within cities and make a meaningful impact on culture. More on this coming up shortly.
The debate here is on how much involvement the government should have in catalyzing innovation. Both sides have good points that I don’t believe are truly in conflict with each other. TechStars founder Brad Feld in his book, Startup Communities, showed that the startup community in Boulder, CO was built up organically by a remarkably small group of entrepreneurs.
While it is ultimately the entrepreneurs who nurture the highest need of a startup ecosystem: culture, governments are actually quite vital in building out the lower levels on the hierarchy of needs. In fact, they are the strongest force in shaping the stability, rights, incentives and opportunity of a city or country. In the case of Boulder, being a relatively established city in the United States, it was already resting on the foundations that it needed. With a concentration of the right people, it was able to become a robust startup community. Both governments and individuals are important contributors to the ecosystem, but each group is more effect at different levels of needs.
The great news today is that there are some important developments that will give people more opportunities and ultimately cultivate a lasting culture of innovation.
(Accelerators, incubators, ecobators)
Founders are seen by our society as lone geniuses, but even the best have benefited from mentors who often quietly provide support in the background.
The default for startups is failure. Only a few percent ever make it to stardom. In many cases, founders are deeply talented in the technology and product aspect but want help with fundraising, distribution or business strategy. Not too surprisingly, startup mentorship has, over time, become an entire industry.
In the frothy Dotcom years, incubators were commonplace in the Valley. These incubators placed their bets on a few businesses and did not diversify their capital and portfolio because everything with an URL seemed to be garnering high valuations. When the bubble popped, the incubator industry naturally contracted.
After a few years and as the dust settled, the next generation of leaner accelerators and incubators were started, led most visibly by Y Combinator (YC). YC invested less money per company and expanded their batch sizes over time so that they could spread out the risk and increase their chances of getting a home run hit. From its humble beginning of having eight companies in its first batch in 2005 to a high of 75 companies in its summer 2012 batch, YC has accelerated over 460 companies to-date.
Because of the success and momentum of some early leaders of this leaner model, accelerators and incubators have sprung up like groundhogs in springtime.
The concentration of incubators and accelerators in Silicon Valley today is high and may see some consolidation. At the same time, there seems to be insatiable demand everywhere else in the world looking to gain access the the Silicon Valley magic. Cities are lining up to bring an innovation center to their communities.
Seed-DB, a database kept by Jed Christiansen of Google, tracks a large number of seed accelerator programs. While large, the actual universe of programs is much more expansive than even his large database.
Based on Seed-DB’s tracking, as of the end of January 2013, 147 programs world-wide have accelerated 2,283 companies since their inception. These companies have received $1.7 billion in funding and thus far, 119 companies have had an exit for a total of $1.1 billion. This is quite an impressive figure when you consider that several billion-dollar plus companies like Dropbox and Airbnb have yet to have an official exit to be counted towards to total figure. These startups have created 6,038 jobs by Christensen’s research and estimates. (Disclosure: GSV is a shareholder of Dropbox.)
Beyond just the seed accelerator programs, there are several different models that all focus on helping founders launch and grow their startups. The most basic of these are co-working spaces that bring together many startups. It’s the basic model with little or no additional services provided. Incubators are the next step up, providing both space, services and potentially some mentorship and guidance. Seed accelerator programs, as mentioned, are intensive programs with hands-on mentorship that lasts for a few months.
The company is also launching developer tools to make Energy Apps and Energy Drivers. GELI will invite other companies to create useful energy applications on top of its EOS. Think of it as the iOS or Android ecosystem for energy.
Not to let everyone else have all of the fun, we have partnered with an unique company, nestGSV, who is pioneering what they call the new “ecobator” model. An ecobator is the combination of an ecosystem for innovation within an incubator space. (Disclosure: GSV is a shareholder of nestGSV.)
nestGSV brings together all stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem — startups, corporations, universities, and government partners — to accelerate the growth of ideas and companies. It hosts startup training classes and works closely with companies to help them connect with the appropriate service providers, corporate partners or potential investors.
And that’s just the beginning. As startup culture spreads, nestGSV’s vision is to build a campus in all of the major innovation hotspots around the world to help more founders achieve their goals. Ultimately, nestGSV will connect its campuses together to create a global platform for entrepreneurship and innovation.
I think there are some important long-term implications from this rising class of professional startup coaches:
First, the model has proven to work for digital startups and can be transplanted to other sectors. A few examples that are top of mind include accelerators focused on revolutionizing education like ImagineK12, programs encouraging great women entrepreneurship like Women Innovate Mobile, and incubators to boost innovation in healthcare like RockHealth.
Second, the accelerator model of coaching can and are being use to accelerate non-profit or socially beneficial enterprises. YC admitted their first ever non-profit, a medical crowdfunding site called Watsi, into its current batch and they are head over heels in love with it. It seems likely that others will look at this example and find ways to expand their programs to incorporate more socially mindful companies and non-profits.
Perhaps most important, people from around the world are building similar programs to educate and jumpstart startups. The biggest impact for the Silicon Valley programs is actually having people copy their success and spread the knowledge and resources for startups globally. The impact can be enormous as more people in many more places have a better chance at receiving the resources they need to launch their ideas into reality.
Changing people’s access to resources will always change the world.
Fundamentally, the democratization of access to financial resources leads to the democratization of opportunities. Throughout most of history and in most places in the world, the limiting factor hasn’t been the lack of great ideas but rather the necessary resources to execute them. In fact, creative entrepreneurship seems inherent to the human condition. And even with a small amount of funding, in the example of micro-lending popularized by Muhammad Yunus, people were able to start small businesses and create a new life for themselves.
For startups, even greater gains can be made when incorporating the potential of crowdfunding. Today, fewer than 2% of the business seeking early-stage equity financing are successful and 60% of new businesses are financed with personal and family savings. Importantly, people only had a realistic chance to participate in private funding only if they are located in one of a handful of technology or startup centers. Crowdfunding can level the playing field so that the best teams with the best ideas, rather than circumstance or geography, is the strongest determinant for receiving funding.
Last April, through the lobbying and advocacy work of a dedicated group of entrepreneurs and other stakeholders, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, a historical piece of legislation. The JOBS Act effectively lifted a previous ban against public solicitation for private companies raising funds. Now, we eagerly await for the SEC to set up specific guidelines and a 2013 announcement seems imminent given the excitement and attention that has been building.
Long before the JOBS Act, people drew on the power of the crowd for ideas and support. While the first ever crowd-funded activity was a 1997 tour by British rock group Marillion, underwritten by the band’s fans, the popular acceptance of crowdsourcing is a new phenomenon. This is an important cultural shift.
The world has moved away from a model centered on the ideals of having your own unique ideas and solutions. As we solved more problems that an individual and a company could easily solve, the world begin to look for new ways to accelerate innovation. People and industries began to view the world as positive-sum rather than zero-sum where inventions from other people could be used to solve common problems. People no longer need to look for a needle in the haystack, instead you can ask everyone to look through just a tiny bit of the hay so that the needle can be easily found.
Out of the problems of a not-very-transparent financing market and lack of access for resources to pursue good ideas, pioneers like Kickstarter and AngelList came into the market.
Kickstarter allows anyone to list a creative project and raise funding. The platform currently leads all crowdfunding platforms in web traffic and dollars pledged. In 2012, it had 86 million unique visitors, a 252 percent increase from 2011. The more than 2.2 million people who backed a Kickstarter campaign last year cumulatively pledged $320 million. The Pebble E-Paper Watch raised a record $10.3 million last year — that would make for a pretty good Series A round!
AngelList has become one of the leading companies connecting companies with investors and has the vision to become the central place for startups to go to find money, talent, customers and acquirers.
These are just two of the many companies that started to fill up the crowdfunding space in several categories: donation-based, reward-based, lending-based, equity-based crowdfunding platforms.
Outside of the U.S. where equity-based crowdfunding had been legal, early leaders saw great traction. One of which was CrowdCube, the world’s first equity crowdfunding website, which has over 28,000 investors registered on its platform since launching in February 2011. The company announced in February 2013 that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has given it authorization to allow investors to become direct shareholders in U.K. businesses.
Globally, crowdfunding grew at a CAGR of 63% from 2009 to 2011, with growth only accelerating to $2.8 billion in 2012, an 87% annual increase. And 2013 is poised to grow significantly again with industry estimates ranging from $3 billion to as high as $6 billion.
The proliferation of crowdfunding platforms has now expanded to over 550 this month. While the bulk of the companies are based in North America and Europe, new platforms are now taking root in all of the major and emerging economies around the world.
While money still doesn’t (and won’t) grow on trees, we believe crowdfunding will become one of the critical pieces of the startup fundraising system, along with angel investors and venture capital firms. On the flip-side of all of the excitement is the need to make sure there is no abuse of crowdfunding platforms and fraud. It is now in the SEC’s hand to find a sweet spot that maximizes both funding flexibility and investor protection.
Going forward in 2013 and beyond, some major trends will shape the crowdfunding industry:
General purpose platforms will begin to consolidate as the ones with the most traction will have strong network effects as both projects and donors or investors flock to the platforms with the most activity. Smaller players will either have to join forces with more established platform or exit the industry.
At the same time, more niche or specialty crowd-powered financing will grow. In areas outside of the digital and consumer startups, we will see growing uses of crowdfunding for things ranging from financing solar energy and supporting minority and women founders.
Once you go down this path, you can imagine the global impact of this newfound funding source and more importantly, these newfound opportunities.
Culture is the pinnacle of a startup ecosystem’s hierarchy of needs. Like Maslow’s highest level, self-actualization, culture is by far the hardest level to achieve.
Going from the very aspirational vision of the globalization of startup culture to the actual reality of the daily cultivation of an innovation culture, I believe that cities should begin by creating Startup Districts.
In any city, the prevailing culture has a strong overarching influence on people. If all of your friends work at stable corporate jobs and live a certain lifestyle, that largely influences your decision-making. In college, your career choices are impacted by what options are available locally or close by (East Coast schools feeds into New York or Boston, Northwestern and University of Chicago feeds into Chicago and so forth.)
The prevailing culture usually wins and new people who join a city have an incentive to assimilate to that culture. Right now, people looking to work at startups generally find it easier to move to Silicon Valley rather than to try to fight the prevailing culture in most other cities.
Instead of trying to marginally improve the overall startup culture across the entire city, a better option is to focus on a small number of physical spaces and initiatives that creates a space where startup culture is overwhelmingly dominant. To put it concrete terms, if you could either improve startup culture in the city overall from 3% to 6%, a immediate doubling in the entire city, through a piece of legislation or alternative build a startup co-working space in one block in the city where startup culture is 100% and that’s what everybody who works there is doing, I’d rather take my one city block.
Unfortunately, in most large cities, startup culture really is very small (like actually 3% of the people are founders) so it is smarter to concentrate it almost all in one area, perhaps well illustrated by the example of 1871 in Chicago. I saw this first-hand having gone to Northwestern University and lived there for six years. Chicago was not known as a startup city given its lengthy history with industrial, manufacturing and professional services (accounting, consulting, banking) industry. Many of my very enterprising friends struggled with trying to do a technology startup there. Fortunately, over the last few years, initiatives like 1871, a 50,000 square-foot co-working space located centrally in downtown and pioneers like Chicago Ideas Week, a week-long TED-like conference and Starter League, a school to teach beginners coding and design, have brought the Chicago startup community together. Many of these initiatives were led by individuals but have received the support of the city’s government. Now, many of the entrepreneurial people, particularly recent graduates can coalesce around a central and very concentrated core of startup life.
Don’t try to take on Godzilla, a city’s culture, head-on. Make startups a special sub-culture of a city, like a special economic zone. Bringing the subset of people who are already intensively interested in startups together, physically and virtually, is a good use of a city’s resources if they want to achieve the startup culture.
Once a city establishes a strong Startup District, even a small one, the broader culture can accept that part of the city and people will have an outlet to build and expand from. The great news is that startup companies are by definition suppose to grow as quickly as possible and a few success stories will inspire many more people in a city. The startup culture will expand as a new generation build around the initial concentration of entrepreneurs.
And that’s great news for our future.
We are witnessing not only accelerating technology changes but also accelerating improvements in people’s access to information and resources.
Silicon Vally is brimming with innovation, but there is this sense that we are not focusing enough energy on solving some important problems. Part of that is because solving important problems is harder than build yet-another-social/local/mobile thing and part is because we live in this sunny paradise (read: bubble) where we don’t personally experience problems that the rest of the world find intractable. But what I know is this, as we continue to face problems on a global scale, we can no longer afford to have startups be predominantly a “Silicon Valley thing”. If recent trends continue, it won’t be. We are moving towards a multi-polar world with many innovation ecosystems, led but not dominated by Silicon Valley.
Technology eating traditional industries is just the beginning. It gives people a piece of technology that they can just use. What is really transformative is startup culture spreading around the world, capturing the hearts and minds of our next generation of leaders. It is precisely the unbridled optimism of startup culture that the world needs today, more than ever. It’s the startup way, applied to non-profits, politics, everything else. That is the difference between giving someone a fish versus teaching them how to fish.
This is a historical, rather than a cyclical change — the genie is out of the bottle. We will inevitably face roadblocks along the way, but people will want ever more equitable opportunities and liberties and never less of it. While we do face unprecedented global issues, the future should be very awesome because that future isn’t something that’s just being dropped on us, it is a world that we have the power to create.
Albert Einstein once declared that “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
That new level of thinking will come from the addition of a few billion new Internet users, new entrepreneurs in all parts of the world. It is a true privilege for us to build a world where people with ambitions to improve the planet can be armed with funding, advice and support to have a better chance to create a successful impact, regardless of their geography. A world where more of the seven billion people than ever before share in the mission of pushing humanity forward.
That world is the Global Silicon Valley and it would truly change everything.
Stocks moved mainly higher last week buoyed by strong earnings reports, going private transactions and improving economic data. For the sixth week in a row, the S&P 500 was up, advancing 0.3%, NASDAQ was up 0.5% and the Dow was down 0.1%. The 10 Year Note’s yield fell back below 2% to 1.99% and the Dollar hit a 14-month low versus the Euro.
LinkedIn had a spectacular quarter with revenues up 81% and earnings up 192%…on Friday, LNKD shares moved up 21%. Dell announced it was going to go private with a group led by Silver Lake Partners and founder Michael Dell. Showing continued momentum in the mobile sector, ARM Holdings had a great 4th quarter and guided up for the 1st quarter.
As we would expect in a Market that is showing favor to growth companies, IPOs last week showed some real life. 3D Printer ExOne had a 47% first day “pop” and was up 60% for the week. Boise Cascade was up 25% in its re-debut.
We continue to be encouraged by the price action of growth stocks and the fundamentals for many of our favorites. A stealth improvement in the economic outlook creates additional tailwinds to the momentum we are seeing. Accordingly, we are BULLISH.
Last week, we received our eight Nest thermostats at our Woodside HQ. I was eager to get my hands on the cool gadget as I’ve been admiring Tony Fadell’s innovative approach to consumer goods. Ten years ago at Apple, he designed the iPod and changed the way we listen to music. Then he helped design the iPhone and changed the way we communicate. For the past two years, Tony was working on creating Nest, which is a self-learning thermostat that helps users save 20-30% energy.
Besides the efficiency benefit and the smart technology, Nest is incredibly simple to use… no user guide, no buttons, no instructions… all self explanatory.
Coincidentally, Nest announced it raised a $80 million investment at a $800 million valuation. Investors include Venrock, Kleiner Perkins, Al Gore’s Generation Capital, Lightspeed and Shasta Ventures. Nest is now shipping ~45,000 thermostats per month, which equates to ~$135 million revenue run-rate at $250 per piece. We’ve had Nest high on our list and will continue to keep it at the top of our Cleantech list.
Houzz, a new online platform attracted interest ($35 million) from top Silicon Valley VCs including NEA, Kleiner Perkins, Sequoia, GGV Capital, and Comcats Ventures. Wife and husband Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen had a problem as they were struggling to find the right contractor and architect when they wanted to renovate their newly purchased home in 2009. So they launched Houzz to match homeowners and professional architects and saw the user base skyrocket, currently at 12 million monthly users and 160,000 professionals across the US and Canada.
It’s a nice success story and it will be interesting to keep an eye and see how Houzz progresses. The numbers are impressive, and so is the investor group.
Data analytics continues to be an attractive area, and now there is a new startup specifically in the data storage analytics niche. New Hapshire-based DataGravity raised $30 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Charles River and General Catalyst. It will be focused to get best value out of data… how it’s shared, the flow of content, and any other valuable business insights. They will be rolling out in 2014 and will target mid-market businesses that are unlikely to have in-house data scientists. This is very early stage, but we like the space and will keep an eye on DataGravity.
Another data analytics company that’s been on our priority list and is now moving up is New Relic, which just raised a new round of financing led by IVP, T.Rowe Price and existing investors Benchmark, Trinity, and Tenaya Capital. New Relic’s dashboard solution helps customers monitor and manage their cloud, apps, and to catch increased web traffic activity. New Relic added 1,200 customers in Q4 alone to a total of 5,000 and grew revenue by a solid 200% in 2012. Some of its largest customers are paying $500,000 per year for a premium level of monitoring and services. Valued at $750 million, New Relic could be close to an IPO given it’s growth profile and size.