These Founders, Investors, And Employees Got Rich Without Having To IPO Or Sell

Some people are speculating that 2011 will be the year of the tech IPO. But maybe it will be the year of the late-stage funding.

The new type of late-stage funding has given startups all the advantages of going public — access to capital, founder liquidity — without the drawbacks — regulatory hassles, transparency.

More and more of the world’s biggest private tech companies, which would be expected to go public, are instead doing these types of deals.

They’ve sometimes been called “DST deals” after the Russian firm that pioneered them — but they’re really the New IPO.

Peter Thiel, Facebook's first outside investor, sold half his stock to DST in 2009.

After Facebook's $12.7 Series A in 2005, Mark Zuckerberg, Sean Parker and Dustin Moscovitz all gave themselves $1 million bonuses.

That's the only case we've heard of the founders of a pre-revenue company taking money off the table in their first round of venture capital.

Accel Partners recently sold $500 million worth of Facebook stock.

We're betting Accel Partners GP and Facebook board member Jim Breyer got good carry on that sale (venture capitalists typically get 20% of the money they return to investors after the fund as a 'carry' fee).

In fact, tons of Facebook early employees and investors are cashing in through DST, Facebook's Russian investor that has already bought $500 million worth of Facebook stock.

One of the reasons why Mark Pincus also did a DST deal was so early employees could cash in.

Yelp's Jeremy Stoppelman did a DST-type deal with private equity firm Elevation Partners, after turning down a $500 million acquisition from Google.

The founders of enterprise software company Atlassian took money off the table in a $60M deal with Accel Partners.

When Index Ventures invested in Etsy at a $300 million valuation, angel investors cashed out.

Foursquare's founders took money off the table in their $20 million Series B with Andreessen Horowitz

And here are the ones putting all the others to shame: the Groupon founders just pulled in $345 million in cold hard cash

And this huge, possibly-biggest-ever $950 million round isn't over yet! And this after an earlier $135 million round with DST where much of the money also ended up in their pockets!

How can Groupon get even bigger?

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