Startups ‘are staying private way too long’ says Salesforce founder Marc Benioff

“What public markets do is indeed the great reckoning. But it cleanses [a] company of all of the bad stuff that they have.”

That’s Salesforce founder and chief executive officer Marc Benioff talking about the benefits of public markets.

It’s something that private companies seem to be ignoring in the go-go days of the current venture capital boom cycle and something that’s led to a lot of the erosion in investor value, says Benioff.

“I think in a lot of private companies these days, we’re seeing governance issues all over the place,” says Benioff.

The multi-billionaire founder of one of the most successful enterprise software companies of the past 20 years pointed to both WeWork and Uber as companies that could have benefited from the oversight that public investors provide sooner in their life cycle.

“I can’t believe this is the way they were running internally in all of these cases,” says Benioff. “They are staying private way too long.”

Benioff pointed to Salesforce as an example. “We went public, were $100 million in revenue [and] that was about the right time. We were small enough that we could make those changes and adjustments,” Benioff said. “And there’s a

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