Today’s startup-saturated economy has its pros and cons for new budding entrepreneurs. Markets may have become more crowded and therefore investments needed to take your startup to the next level are becoming harder to obtain. Almost every entrepreneur goes through the peril of fundraising at some point. If you do not hail from a very wealthy background, you will eventually need to raise funds for your startup.
So you have a great idea, a concept, a gap in the market that could be the next big thing. Now, you need to find a way to achieve your entrepreneurial goals.
Though there are many ways to get funded, including government grants, bank loans, incubators programs etc. The following are the 4 major sources of investment that the majority of startups will use as their pre-seed or even seed capital.
The first place to look is obviously your own wallet. Some entrepreneurs save up before jumping into their new venture. They work hard and work on their company after hours. Others are lucky enough to be financially sound enough to delve right into their new business.
Should you choose to fund your own startup, you will need to put a plan in place on how you will efficiently sustain yourself and your business in the near to mid term. Be careful, It is not uncommon to see startup founders living at family or friends’ places, occasionally even in the office because they have put everything they have into their business, or they are ‘all-in’, as they say.
The second place to look for funds is, quite naturally, with your friends and family. This is because at such an early stage, it is difficult to convince people who do not know you so well to invest in your ‘vision’. An idea alone without any physical presence, ‘proof of concept’ or ‘market validation’ is quite difficult to get funded.
However your friends and family know you so well that more often than not, if you are truly the right person with the right concept, they should jump at the opportunity to back your business.
Another source of funding is to approach high net worth individuals within your network. IF you are truly onto a winner and you have a great pitch, you might be able to snag some startup capital from an angel investor.
How do you reach out to one? Through networking; expand your net a little bit wider, go to startup events and see if you can find people interested in your business. It would be wise to know that not all Angel investors are angels at heart. They might even expect interest on the amount loaned. Some might have an agenda behind helping you out. It is important to not accept the first offer of investment and to find the right investor who shares your vision.
Venture capitalists are investors that provide funding to firms that have exhibited high potential of growth or are uniquely profitable. A venture capitalist usually gets involved at seed funding, so anything south of US$1 million will likely not get your average VC excited.
You need to be well informed and experienced in dealing with corporate entities and their agendas should you choose to enlist the aid of a venture capitalist. There are hundreds of cases of founders being driven out of their own business because they gave away too much, too fast and their new board found it better to replace them.
While it may at first seem difficult, there are a number of avenues that entrepreneurs commonly use to get their startup idea to the next stage. The path of least resistance may not always be the best way forward for your fundraising needs. It is essential that whoever you bring on-board should share your vision and that you do not give away too much equity too early. Once you find the right fundraising option, it is up to you to execute on your plan ans provide real value for any of your investors. Goodluck!
In an already startup-packed economy, it is difficult, close to impossible sometimes, to come up with a unique idea of your own. Market penetration is often tricky and a majority of startups fail within the first 5 years.
Even if you are able to create something altogether unique, if your initiative is not sustainable in the long run and does not have a sustainable monetization model, you will find yourself exiting the industry early. There is no doubt that not every venture is destined to succeed. However there are clear and consistent traits between successful startups.• A Perfect Idea
It pretty much goes without saying that a perfect idea makes for a perfect startup. What makes is perfect idea is scalability. Have a wider vision and take long-term factors into consideration before settling on your idea. Think big. Investors are not interested in good ideas to own relatively small companies with limited or niche scope. They need big visionary ideas that could disrupt multip billion dollar industries like UBER or AirBNB.• A Great Team.
Alright, so you have a great idea, now what? Now you need the right people to execute the idea. A great team is the difference between a successful or failed venture. The quality of your team depends on education, experience and also, quite a lot—more than the rest, in fact—on the personality of each member of the team and their ability to work together.Building a Team
You need to your weaknesses. If you are technical, find a business person. If you are a business person, find someone technical. If your industry is highly specialized or technical, find a veteran relevant to thay industry.
Once you have both of these things then the biggest challenge is raising funds which leads us to the pitch deck.• The Pitch Deck
Creating a pitch deck is actually one of the simplest steps if you have a clear vision. Start by stating the problem you are trying to solve, then a simple explanation of how you will solve the problem. After this, include some industry data, market size and very importantly your team information; why are YOU the perfect team to solve this problem.
Once completed, it helps to practice and rehearse. Standing in front of a mirror and delivering the pitch will help you perfect the pitch. Keep practicing then try in front of family, friend and eventually start with the investors you are closest to. Remember, make sure you know your market well, you have a clear plan and be confident!• Proof of Concept
Every startup needs that initial financial push to be able to kick-start. To avail yourself that much-needed funding, you need to develop your proof of concept. This proof is, usually, physically viable. A prototype that can be tested, measured, and improved. It works quite well for software products like apps, websites, and other similar makings—even though they are not quite physical. However, if you are a services-based startup or your product-to-services ratio hinges more on services than an actual product, there are other ways to present your proof of concept. Like visually projecting your initiative through a presentation or providing a detailed overview of how you plan to run things. The end goal is proveto your investor that your idea is tangible and will work.
For more on Proof of Concept and funding, read this blog here• 5 Year Projections
Last, but not the least, are financial projections.
You need to be very clear on where you want to see your business venture in the next five years. This is not an exact science, the investors just want a better idea of where you will be spending the majority of your money, how you plan to allocate it and importantly, your vision for the next 5 years.
In conclusion, be sure that you choose the right problem to solve. Once you have identified it, assemble a super team of experts to help you achieve your goals. Investors want to see the size of the market, your go-to market strategy and why you are the perfect team to address this problem.
Help minimize the risk of your venture by providing proof of concept. Either by building an actual prototype, or even drawings of exactly what you are looking to build and identify early customer who can vouch for their need for the product.
Once you are ready and you have all of the above, then you need to network, go out and meet people already in your industry. Reach out to influencers, potential board members. You might want to apply to accelerators or incubator programs to help get things started.
If you feel you have the perfect partner and want help with the proof of concept of validating your market, apply now for our code for equity program and learn how we can help your funding goals!
Start ups are everywhere. They have become an important part of the business world. Many students of today want to one day run a business of their own. You will find many start ups being “incubated,” taken in, by incubators that help them learn and grow. They say that running a business is not easy. Starting one isn’t so even more.
Code for Equity is an uncommon method of business financing that is starting to become a more mainstream option.
With Code for Equity, you compensate for the funding you receive with shares from your company. The percentage that you give away depends on your company valuation, product development stage, and a host of other factors.
To generate funds for both a new business and one that’s already been running, business owners have previously relied on self-funding or friends and family. There are angel investors out there who have helped launched many businesses. As for venture capitalism, firms—sometimes individuals, it can be safely assumed that you need a lot of will power to work that out for yourself.
The capital cost of starting a business is quite high. It might get worse as time goes by and if you are not able to meet the expectations of investors. Also, there is a high amount of risk associated with a new venture. Should your idea not satisfy your traditional investor or appear altogether too risky, they might not invest with you at all. This changes with C4E, a way to help prove your business’ worth before giving away a huge chunk, in return for funding. Through C4E, you can take a concept to prototype, MVP or even paying customers, before taking on funding.
Having made an MVP, you can reduce the percentage of your shares being taken away. As you have a physical working product, you can better de-risk the investment into your venture.
With an improved MVP in play, you can have your prototype further perfected for your investors to put even more faith in you and have it market-validated, thereby reducing the percentage of shares they ask of you even more. Market-validation would mean that your product has the potential to bring in the needed, if not desired, return on your collective investment—hence the reduction in the percentage of shares.
Seemingly uneasy, code for Equity can help you get to the stage in the funding process where you have an MVP, a minimum viable product. It also brings market validation for your venture without your having to give up as much of your company initially so you can get higher chances of funding and raise bigger rounds of funding down the road, reducing the number of shares you were giving up at the start.