By Mark Evans

Summary: When a startup is acquired, it attracts a lot of attention. But how does it reflect a startup’s higher calling?

Facebook’s $19-billion acquisition of WhatsApp is astounding on many levels, which will make every one of the WhatsApp’s 55 employees incredibly wealthy.

But here’s the thing: WhatsApp’s success from a user and financial perspective is a massive fluke. It’s like winning the lottery. In fact, it’s a longer shot than winning the lottery.

higher callingWhile the deal is being slice and diced from all angles, it also raises a key question facing many startups: ¬†what is your startup’s higher calling other than dreaming about a seven, eight, nine or 10 figure acquisition?

Does your startup have a higher calling other than simply building a product to fill a need and establishing a viable business?

At the end of a long day, what keeps an entrepeneur excited about getting up the next morning and doing it all over again?

Whether they know it or not, many entrepreneurs are driven by a higher calling, even though the dreams of being snapped up by Google or Facebook are shinier and sexier.

The willingness to embrace the risk and volatility of a startup often begins with the need to solve a problem, fill a need or make the world a better place.

At the same time, being an entrepreneur is an all-consuming, immersive, exhausting and intoxicating experience. Getting acquired or even getting financed is a bonus given the real focus is building a business that attracts customers.

Many entrepreneurs keep going because they’re motivated and inspired by a vision beyond finances. If they get acquired, that’s a huge bonus but it’s not what gets someone to plunge themselves into a startup.

What do you think? Are entrepreneurs driven by a higher calling or the prospects of Facebook knocking on their door one day?