Perhaps the lesson here is that sometimes technologies are not products. And they’re not companies. They’re just damn good technologies. Vint Cerf did not land a Google-size fortune for having helped invent the TCP/IP protocols that power the Internet (though he did get the U.S. National Medal of Technology). What’s more, to be successful, a startup requires both a great idea for a product or service, and a great idea for how to make money off of it. One without the other will fail.
I would add one more requirement – the company has to guard against the pirates who will automatically show up, out of nowhere. These guys can smell an opportunity, and easily bomboozle everyone into giving them the loot.