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Better Beginnings

Getting ready to do your first presentation to a VC or angel? A good beginning leads to a happy ending. An experienced speaker and writer provides entertaining and useful advice on why your business presentations should open with a spark instead of a spreadsheet.

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Financing an Acquisition

This well-written article gives practical advice on how to think about acquisitions and five no-nonsense tips on how to do them productively for all concerned.

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Valuation Worksheet
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During a round of investment in seed- (start-up) and early stage companies, angel investors typically invest from $25,000 to $100,000 each. The round usually totals between $250,000 and $1 million, and the company valuations run from $1 million to $3 million. Collectively, the angels purchase from 20 to 40 percent of a company’s equity and seek a return of 20-30x over five years.

Since the Internet bubble burst, the pre-money valuations of seed-stage companies by venture capitalists have averaged between $1 million and $3 million. Angel investors tend to participate at earlier investment stages than VCs, so pre-money valuations for angel deals nearly always fall into this admittedly wide range. What factors within this range impact the valuation of a specific company?

The accompanying Valuation Worksheet provides entrepreneurs and investors with an empirical basis for deciding if a start-up company should be valued near the top or bottom of the range. It’s not designed to be used for definitive valuation calculations.

The Valuation Worksheet lists major factors and key issues to consider in judging the value of a seed (start-up) company. Note the following features:

  1. The major factors are listed roughly in order of importance.
  2. Each major factor has been assigned a weighted ranking. For example, the “Strength of the Management Team” is worth 30 percent while “Sales Channels” are worth 10 percent. Investors put greater emphasis on the management team and the size of the opportunity than they do other factors.
  3. Within each major factor, the impact of each issue has been assigned a valuation ranking from +++ (very positive) to - - - (very negative), to assist the investor decide the overall weighted ranking to be assigned to the valuation. Some factors, such as the size of the opportunity (scalability) and coachability of the entrepreneur, can be deal killers.

Entrepreneurs can use the worksheet to gain insights into what investors are looking for in a fundable seed-stage company and to identify factors that justify higher pre-money valuations. The worksheet is also a roadmap on how entrepreneurs can improve the fundability of their enterprises and increase the pre-money valuation.

The Best Funding Source for You

This article provides an excellent framework not only for how to raise money but also for how to think about raising money. Key point: Always stay nine months ahead of your need for cash.

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The Entrepreneurial Mind: Short-cut to Trouble

Are your startup financials accurate? Odds are they are not, perhaps significantly so, because you have not spent the necessary time and effort forecasting revenues. This article explains why revenues, not expenses, are the most important--and difficult--numbers to get right.

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Enterprise Development Network (EDN) Originator, Provider, and Advisor Listing

The structure of EDN consists of three service providers.  Loan and Political Risk Insurance Originators (Originators) serve as local service providers to micro, small-medium enterprises (MSMEs) to help develop the OPIC application package, refine marketing strategies, and draft or enhance business plans.  Financial institutions serve as Designated Lenders to establish OPIC-backed lending facilities that are used to make loans to MSMEs or their affiliates for projects in OPIC-eligible countries.  EDN Advisers are specialists in particular business sectors and geographic areas throughout the world and assist OPIC in credit underwriting and due diligence on OPIC-funded loans.

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