Can a company go into an IPO if the founders own 70-80% of the company?
Sure. When Atlassian IPO’d, the founders owned 75%:
And Atlassian is the 5th largest public cloud company by market cap:
(In the case of Workday the founders also owned 75% at IPO. But that was different, as they were billionaires and millionaires already.)
Atlassian is the only one in the Top 10 here where the founders owned 75% at IPO without being rich before. Even Veeva, which only did one traditional venture round, still had more founder dilution than this.
It’s harder, for many of us, without outside investment. You may well grow more slowly in the early years. Opportunity may even pass you by if you don’t invest enough. That’s something to think long and hard about.
But usually, things normalize around $10m-$20m of ARR or so. Everyone sort of grows at the same rate after that, irrespective of how much — if any — capital they raised before that. How you get there is up to you. And the market and opportunity that picks you.
In some markets, and some time periods, and with some teams … it’s fine to take a little longer to get there. In other cases, the competition sails right past you.