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Raising capital at any stage of a company's growth is challenging and requires creativity and tenacity. However, these hurdles are especially difficult to conquer at the earliest stages of an enterprise's development, the author says. This article discusses where and how to raise capital at the seed level and growth stages.
Any entrepreneur who hopes to raise capital from individual investors, so-called "angels," should be properly prepared with a presentation, business plan, list of potential angels, and outline of the opportunity his or her new venture affords. The author explains that it's also important to avoid making such mistakes as allowing investors to have too large a stake in the enterprise. That could cause problems should the company fail, he writes, in an article filled with specific tips for dealing with these financiers.
Angel financing - or funding from individuals with the time and money to invest in early-stage companies - is more accessible thanks to the gathering of such investors into networks, writes an erstwhile entrepreneur turned angel investor. The process is still arduous, but the author offers tips for easing the way.
Convertible debt and a discreet amount of bank credit are available to entrepreneurs seeking substantial loan financing for early-stage ventures, says a company founder turned private investor.
Angel investors are funding companies at the seed and start-up stage, as venture capitalists retreat from that market, says an angel investor and former entrepreneur.
Numerous factors affect how angels value a company. Primary are the strength of the management team and the size of the opportunity, or a company's potential to scale. Accompanying this article is a valuation worksheet that entrepreneurs can use to better understand what investors look for and to identify factors that can justify higher pre-money valuations. Investors will find it useful to compare companies and determine whether valuation should be higher or lower.
This informative piece explains a well-known method that venture capitalists use to determine "post-money valuation," which is a company's valuation at the time of investment. Perhaps more important, it provides valuable insights into why the returns expected by investors are often perceived as "too high" by entrepreneurs.
Don’t get Randal Charlton wrong. The executive director at the TechTown business incubator in Detroit is thankful for a recent announcement of $5 million coming his way to help graduates of his FastTrac business training program launch their companies. But, he says, look at it this way: The money, granted by the New Economy Initiative, a Detroit-area philanthropic partnership, is not being thrown at comfortable entrepreneurs. This is, essentially, aid to the unemployed. And, as such, $5 million barely scratches the surface.
Many of the entrepreneurs to be helped by the First Step Fund, the entity created by NEI’s $5 million investment, are not launching startups because it seems like a promising thing to do. They have nowhere else to go, Charlton says. Their former jobs in the auto industry are gone, never to return. Their choices are to leave the state or try to create their own jobs in Michigan.
Entrepreneurs must identify ways to exit a business at the onset, which enables efforts to be directed to a goal, writes the builder of two companies. The author, now a venture capitalist, outlines four steps for doing so.
Finding venture capital is a matter of securing the right fit between founder and funder, writes the author. Affinity with a investor helps, such as pursuing groups that finance the type of company that yours is, such as a minority- or female-led firm; also necessary is a plan outlining your company's financial prospects and a pitch for convincing investors that you can execute, the author notes.
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