Valuation for early stage investments tend to look like horse trading because traditional valuation tools, i.e. P/E ratios make no sense when a company is losing money. Because we invest into pre-profit (and in many cases pre-revenue), we tend to use a price to sales ratio for valuation. For companies that aren’t generating revenue, we can work backwards and discount forecast revenues.
What basis would you use for determining an appropriate multiple?
Icon Corporate Finance have published their 2006 figures for Technology M&A. Their numbers are a good place to start that discussion based on achieved exit prices. You can see on the left hand axis that price to sales multiples tend to fluctuate between 1.5x and 2.0x for 2006: