How George Lucas built a $4 billion company

October 31, 2012, 3:27 pm Henry Blodget Business Insider

Hey, Silicon Valley, George Lucas just made $4 billion without any VC money


An entrepreneur by the name of George Lucas just cashed out of the company he founded and built: Lucasfilm.

Unlike many entrepreneurs who build companies these days, George Lucas didn't raise any VC money.

And that means he gets to keep the whole cheque Disney wrote for his company, which was for a not-inconsequential $4 billion.

How did George Lucas build a company worth $4 billion without any outside investors?

Here are the key points:

  • He quit an early career when he realised it wasn't right for him (he wanted to be a race-car driver ... until he almost got killed in a crash)

  • He made a type of product he loved and cared deeply about (movies)

  • He made — and learned from — lots and lots of different products (There were many Lucas movies before Star Wars)

  • He evolved (Lucas's early movies were artsy non-commercial films)

  • He studied and learned from the best mentors (Francis Ford Coppola, among others)

  • He became friends with other extremely talented people in the industry (Steven Spielberg, among others)

  • He was shrewd (He sold his directing services to Fox Studios for Star Wars for cheap — but kept all the merchandise, licensing, and sequel rights, which Fox didn't want)

  • He was very, very patient (Unlike many of today's entrepreneurs and investors, Lucas wasn't looking for a "quick flip." Lucasfilm was founded in 1971, 41 years ago)

Put all those things together, and you've got yourself a recipe for building a great business.

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