Dropbox CEO Drew Houston isn’t a fan of the way privately held startups are valued by mutual funds. And he thinks Warriors star point guard Steph Curry is the best way to explain the problem.
Startup valuations have been in the spotlight in recent months, as big funds like Fidelity, have marked down the value of holdings in private tech companies including Snapchat, Cloudera and Evernote.
In the case of Dropbox, one markdown trimmed its $10 billion valuation to the tune of 20% earlier this year.
But in Houston’s eyes, the whole thing is just “silly” and are not in any way a reflection of how strongly or poorly a business is really faring.
The people marking down the value are not even the people who actually made the investments at the fund, but third party consultants who don’t have access to the same level of financial information of his company, Houston argued at the Fortune Brainstorm Conference on Monday.
“They have these outside folks that do the mark,” he said.
“It’s kind of silly. It’s like, look you’re trying to figure out how the Warriors are going to do next year by asking Steph Curry’s accountant.”
Still, Houston said that he had to explain how these markdowns happen in order to prevent any poor employee morale issues. And one thing he always tries to stress is that the long-term view is more important than these short term fluctuations in its worth.
“Valuations are really important but what’s really important is what’s the valuation going to be in 5 years? You build a great company for a long period of time, and the valuation takes care of itself,” Houston said.
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