Holy crap. Numerous sources — including the Bits blog at the NYT, as well as Mashable and Business Week — are reporting that Slide has raised $50-million, giving the company a valuation of $500-million. This seems almost unbelievable to me. Maybe I’m missing something, but I just don’t see how even a popular Facebook widget can be worth the kind of money we’re talking about here, unless Slide has a more extended strategy that I’m not seeing. For their sake, I hope so.
Kara Swisher of All Things D says she’s hearing talk that Slide, the widget company founded by Max Levchin, is close to getting a bunch of funding that will value the company at “many times” its most recent $60-million to $80-million valuation. If that happens, it would be a pretty big boost for makers of Facebook apps. But is a company whose products consist of widgets such as SuperPoke and a slideshow really worth $100-million, or $200-million, or (God forbid) $300-million?
At the moment, Slide and another app-maker called RockYou are the Coke and Pepsi of the Facebook widget game, with several spots in the list of top widgets each. Over the past six months or so they have jockeyed for top spot, with RockYou claiming those honours just before Christmas. Slide has SuperPoke, RockYou has X Me; Slide has FunWall, RockYou has SuperWall; Slide has Top Friends and RockYou has Zombies. Each one has millions of “users.” But what are they worth?
In a recent post, I looked at the numbers put out by Adonomics — a Facebook app consulting company — which argues that apps like FunWall are worth $30-million based on an ad model that the company has come up with. As I noted in that post, however, much of what goes into those numbers is just guesswork, and maybe a little wishful thinking as well. Can something like FunWall produce enough actual value that we can say (in any real sense) it is “worth” $30-million?