Lower The Wall, Lift The Market


Editor’s note: Sandy Miller is a general partner at Institutional Venture Partners. He co-founded investment bank Thomas Weisel Partners and served as a senior partner at Montgomery Securities.  

The tech IPO market is booming, but only when you compare it to the lean years of the past decade. If we look back a little further, to the healthy days that preceded the dot-com bubble, the 51 tech startups that went public last year appear paltry in comparison.

A key difference is that Wall Street is fixated today on the biggest names (Facebook, Alibaba, GoPro) to the detriment of hundreds of smaller startups that don’t get the attention they deserve. The universe of venture-backed tech startups was much smaller when I ran technology investment banking at Montgomery Securities in the 1990s.

And yet, more than 150 tech startups went public in 1996, precisely because the market appreciated quality, regardless of…

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