Remember the good/bad old days of the first Internet boom, when AOL bought TimeWarner with all their imaginary money? Well, TimeWarner is trying to put AOL out behind the dumpster now and get on with their real, live, moneymaking business, and Web 2.0 investors are looking for a whole new generation of worthless widgets to lavish their millions on. That's where YouNoodle comes in. It's an online destination for potential Google or Pets.com entrepreneurs alike to meet, socialize, and make up crazy numbers for the value of their imaginary businesses run from their mom's basements. But what if the numbers the YouNoodle startup predictor algorithm spits out aren't crazy? To get a better sense of YouNoodle’s accuracy, TechCrunch asked the company to calculate a few more valuations of high-profile companies based on available information about their early stages. Goodson sent the analysis along to me. In cases where real-world numbers are available for comparison, YouNoodle was usually a bit off. For example, it predicted a $124 million valuation for social application startup Slide, and a $71 million valuation for competitor RockYou. As of their most recent fundings, the companies were actually valued $550 million and $250 million, respectively. That’s pretty far off, but Goodson notes that YouNoodle did predict that Slide’s founding team was stronger.
On the other hand, YouNoodle came quite close for semantic search startup Powerset — it gave a valuation of $104 million, and indeed, Microsoft acquired Powerset for a little more than $100 million.
I plugged in the information for my own startup business, and according to the algorithm, I'm already in the south of France sipping champagne brought to me by my posse of naked supermodels. So I've got that going for me. YouNoodle.