How many $100M+ startups are overdue to be founded?

What Cameo’s $100M year teaches us about entrepreneurial timing

By Joseph Flaherty, Director of Content & Community


Theoretically, this type of service could have existed before the internet, and indeed it did. The social primitive is fan conventions, where b-list celebs would take photos with fans for a fee. But coordination problems limited scale, and lack of internet vitiated virality.

Dot-Com era?

Cameo was *technically* feasible during the dot-com boom. JenniCam debuted in 1996, and an AOL website could have connected fans with celebs. However, at that time, the web was something you largely accessed at work. The tech was there, sort of, but the culture wasn’t ready.

Web 2.0?

By 2005, you could have stitched a Cameo clone together with early Web 2.0 tech — think YouTube videos embedded on MySpace with popular clips going “viral” on Fark. By this point, celebs could record in glorious 640 × 480 resolution clips on their iBooks!

Early App Store?

2010 brought the first iPhone with a front-facing camera. Facebook had grown to 500M+ users. The Old Spice Guy was a star. Amazon transacted $34B. TaskRabbit/Uber were creating talent marketplaces. The pieces were ready at this point, but the stars just weren’t aligned — yet.

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