Silicon Valley Startups Must Pass "The Toothbrush Test"

Do you use an app twice a day? Does it improve your life? It may succeed if so.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Consumer Reports

    A good start-up idea is like a toothbrush: you use it twice a day and it improves your life.

    That's according to Google CEO Larry Page, who is credited with coining this new test of tech viability. The test is being used more and more often to judge whether a company is worthy of being bought out by bigger dogs like Google or Facebook, The New York Times's Dealbook first reported.

    The toothbrush test, aside from sounding neat, clean and very twee, is also a way to more money for the people who lead tech companies.

    More and more tech companies are doing their own buying-out, New York Magazine's Silicon Valley-based correspondent Kevin Roose wrote. Investment banks were used in less than one-third of acquisitions of $100 million or more in 2014, the magazine reported. 

    Doing the acquiring this way removes the bankers, who would otherwise be getting an awful lot in fees.

    Using the toothbrush test as the metric, then, is a simple, easy and very unscientific way to judge an app's viability. It could also be utterly foolish -- but then again, "bidding $4 billion for a messaging app that will never make any money whatsoever" could be, too, the magazine reported.