If you are lucky enough to get someone to back you based on an idea or your team’s ability to deliver on a concept, then they are taking a substantial risk. In return for that risk, the investor will ask for a large amount of equity.
On the other hand, if you sign up for code for equity, the investor is not giving you money, but rather a technology so it reduced their risk somewhat. That translates to lower equity given away.
If you are looking to raise money on an idea or the strength of your team, it is possible but very difficult. Investors want to see real traction, a working product, a proof of concept. Something they can touch and feel that supports your pitch. Research and info-graphics sometimes may cut it, but more often than not is not enough to get investors to pull the trigger.
Once you have a delivered MVP, a tangible working prototype of your product, then you have reduced a great amount of risk from investing in your business.
A working product, a proven concept and ideally validation of your market will get you to the next round of funding faster and for a considerably lower amount of equity than you would give up without a ‘proof of concept’ or ‘market validation’.
It is expensive to set up an in-house team, especially at the very early stage. Most start-ups end up outsourcing to onshore or offshore firms. There is a multitude of things that can go wrong with outsourcing your product.
When you agree to code for equity investment, the investor provided you with the tech or code, not cash. The beauty of this model is they are not paid for their services. Their success lies in your success. There is no greater motivator for quality production than a positive return on investment!
The startup culture is taking over the world. It is what everyone is talking about and has become a popular choice for fresh grad students and seasoned industry veterans alike.
People get into the startup game for a range of reasons. Sometimes it is because they want to earn more than they currently do, sometimes because they want to make a difference in the world. It may be simply that they want to be in control of their own time and destiny, not stuck in a 9-5 job.
According to smallbiztrends.com, the reason 29% of startups failed was because they ran out of cash. Funding is what often makes the difference between a failed idea and a successful company.
There are many forms of funding which you have probably heard of. You can raise money through Bank loans, Friends & Family, Angels Investors, VC’s or go through various Incubator’s or Accelerators who will often fund your company and provide guidance along the way.
A not-so-common way of raising funds is “Code for Equity”.
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 variables and can be anywhere between 5-30%.
In comparison with traditional funding, Code-for-Equity is often a road less traveled. So why would you choose it over the traditional methods?
The biggest risk with code-for-equity is similar to all outsourced projects, where the initial Intellectual Property (IP) is going to be shared with a third party.
Arsalan Amdani, CEO of LiveWire Group, an active investor through C4E says “The investments we make are long-term plays. Start-ups are one of the most illiquid and high-risk investment options. The biggest advantage of partnering with LiveWire Group to build your MVP rather than outsourcing to a development firm is that we will have a vested interest in your success. This guarantees the safeguarding of IP as well as maximum motivation to achieve project quality and timeline goals”.
At first glance, code-for-equity seems like a harder road to travel. There are more initial negotiations and trust required in your investor than traditional methods of funding. However, if you are able to find the right partner, it seems there is no doubt it is a great option and will result in much lower dilution of the founders, along with a higher chance of further funding for the startup.
If you would like to apply for the code-for-equity program with LiveWire Group, click here.