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Rapid growth and its founders' ability to take the lion's market share are big factors in determining whether a start-up will get the attention of VC firms.
The big social network is on the hunt for small companies that can strengthen its hold on the social media market.
The young startup has a small staff and no revenue, but Facebook's decision to buy is not just a blind gamble. Other venture capital firms will be looking to invest in similar companies.
With so many startups trying to follow in Facebook's -- and now Instagram's -- footsteps, they're forgetting one very important element: money.
Here's a quick history of the meteoric rise of the popular file-sharing app, which is being acquired by Facebook despite its absence of revenue.