Yuri Milner, the Russian investor whose early bet on Facebook made him a billionaire, thinks three websites will endure for 100 years.
Not surprisingly, the world’s largest social network was one of them. The other two he named are Google and Wikipedia, businesses that Milner’s investment firm Digital Sky Technologies appears to have no vested interest in.
In an interview on stage at the South by Southwest Interactive conference today in Austin, Texas, Milner said these websites will still exist a century from now because their services gain momentum the more people use them.
“All three have amazing network effects,” said Milner, the co-founder and chief executive officer of DST. “Chances are that those are long survivors.”
Milner was relatively unknown before his 2009 investment in Facebook, when the company was worth $10 billion. Since then, the value of the social network has grown more than sixfold, and Milner has expanded his Silicon Valley portfolio to include sought-after investments in Twitter and LinkedIn — thus expanding his influence.
After selling 45.7 million shares of Facebook in the company’s May 2012 initial public offering, DST and its subsidiaries still own 13.8 million shares, valued at $387 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimates Milner’s net worth to be $1 billion.
The investor sees Google’s search engine as such a common tool in everyday life that it’s becoming more difficult to imagine it going away, he said at the conference.
“If Google is turned off,” Milner said, “I don’t think we’ll be able to function the same way we used to function because we outsource some significant portions of our brain already to Google.”
Wikipedia has staying power because it has virtually no competitors, Milner said. “I don’t think you need, like, five competing Wikipedias,” he said.
Milner’s predictions came in response to a question posed by audience member Yusuf Roso via Twitter: “IBM survived for 100 years, which tech company will be next and why?”
Groupon and Zynga, two troubled public companies in DST’s portfolio, were mysteriously missing from Milner’s list of survivors.