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How to Organize Your Deal Flow

Deal flow takes a substantial amount of time for the startup investor. It’s important to organize your deal flow process so it’s efficient. Use these steps to organize your deal flow. Set up a separate email for deal flow and use it to capture deals from websites, social media, and other sources. Have everyone on […]

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How to Automate the Deal Flow Process

Running deal flow is a time-consuming process. There are steps you can take to automate it. Here are some key points to consider: Standardize the information you collect by using forms on the website. Capture referral partners or sources so you can measure the results. Collect the startup submissions to run metrics and track progress. […]

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How to Attract Deal Flow

Deal flow is key to a startup investor’s success.  Investors seeking startups to fund can follow these steps to attract deal flow: Build a global network of venture partners, scouts, and micro funds. Showcase your network to the startup community to capture more startup interest.  Set up a series of meetings to attract startups seeking […]

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How to Generate Deal Flow From Your Network

Investors seeking more deal flow should look to their own network. Here are some steps to find deals from your contacts: Identify the type of startup you want to fund.  Search for contacts related to that sector and domain.  You’ll find experts with deep knowledge of the technology, as well as those who know the […]

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How to Increase Deal Flow

Deal flow is important to the startup investor. After you set up your initial sources, you can expand your deal flow in the following ways: Connect with other startup investors and offer to share your deal flow with them and invite them to return the favor. The best deals come from other investors, especially those […]

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Finding Deal Flow

Deal flow is the lifeblood of startup investing. It’s important to set up sources to provide quality deal flow on a consistent basis. Here are the steps to set up your deal flow sources: 1. Map out the entrepreneurship and funding groups in your geographic area or sector. 2. Use the web and social media […]

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How to Set Up a Deal Flow Process

Deal flow is key to successful startup investing. It takes a great deal of time, so it’s important to build a strong process for managing it. It helps to use a software tool to track it. Start with the key steps for running deal flow as follows: Set up a deal flow source with angel […]

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Importance of Deal Flow

Deal flow is critical to successful startup investing. Here are some key points to consider: Deal flow gives you experience with founders, valuations, exits, and many other aspects of the startup process.  It teaches you a great deal about the market, current technology, and the startup ecosystem. Deal flow gives you practice on how to […]

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Knowing When Not to Invest

So how do you know when not to invest in a startup? Here’s a checklist of show stoppers: – There’s no business plan and no plan for an exit. – There’s no vision for the company. – There’s no growth in the target market. – The business doesn’t provide enough of a return on investment. […]

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How to Win the Best Deals

The best deals have more investors than they need. So how does an investor gain access to those deals? Startups choose investors who can provide support beyond the fundraise. Here are some examples: 1. Offering specific advice on how to build the business and grow it.  2. Make introductions to potential customers, new employees, or […]

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Finding Quality Deals

As a startup investor, you will find there are many deals to consider. In fact, there are too many startups to diligence and pursue. You want to build quality deal flow channels that meet your criteria and screen out the noise. Quality sources often have experienced entrepreneurs working on their second and third businesses. While […]

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Knowing When to Invest

So how do you know when to pull the trigger and invest in a startup? After applying the investment thesis, check for the following: – There’s a strong team with integrity, industry knowledge, and business experience. – They have product validation and market validation – the product works and people will pay for it. – […]

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Where to Look For Deals

While there’s a great number of startups looking for funding, the startup investor needs to set up deal-flow sources. Your personal network is a good place to start. Contact not only investors in your network but also attorneys and accountants who may see deals seeking funding.  You can join the local angel network in your […]

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Understanding Business Models

In analyzing potential investments, it’s important to understand their business model and how well it meets the venture investors’ requirements.  The business model consists of unit and customer acquisition economics as well as market and business economics. Unit economics is the cost to provide a product that drives gross margin.   This determines how much revenue […]

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What the Elevator Pitch Can Do for You

The elevator pitch can do more for you than just give you a short-form pitch. It boils down your pitch to the bare essence. This helps you focus on your core value proposition. It helps you think through your pitch so you can prioritize the most important points. It gives you messaging to use online […]

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Delivering Your Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is one of the most important pitches you can give. Here are some key points to remember in delivering your elevator pitch: Keep it around thirty seconds.  Practice it to get the timing right. Use the rest of your time to engage with your audience in questions and answers. Talk at a […]

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The Rolling Close

Today we’ll talk about a rolling close. Closing a fundraising round can be challenging given the schedules of the investors. A rolling close is used in a deal that is open to investors who can sign the documents and send in their money on their own schedule.   This allows the startup to take funding a […]

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Polishing Your Elevator Pitch

In pitching your startup for funding, you’ll find many opportunities to engage investors. Not all opportunities will provide substantial time and attention to investors. Develop an elevator pitch for those times when you have only a few moments to capture the investors’ interest. Here are some key points to consider: Start with the problem you […]

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Best Practices for Writing an Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is a key tool in your fundraise. Here are some best practices to make your elevator pitch a success: Before delivering your pitch, learn something about your audience. What are their careabouts? What motivates them? Customize your pitch for your audience. Don’t try to tell them everything, instead, tell them just enough.  […]

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Elevator Pitch Types

Elevator pitches can be used in many ways. The pitch states the problem, the solution, and how to learn more about it. In addition to fundraising, it can also be used in sales. Instead of asking for an investment, the ask goes to purchasing the product. Another type of elevator pitch is the question pitch. […]

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Elevator Pitch Template

The elevator pitch follows a simple format. Start with the people who have this problem so the listener has context. Show the cost in time or dollars to demonstrate the size of the problem. Demonstrate your competitive advantage over the other solutions. Quantify the benefit with numbers. Propose the next steps to discuss further. Close […]

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Intro for an Elevator Pitch

In crafting an elevator pitch, the intro is the most important part. You must grab their attention and make them want to hear more. Start with a problem and show how big and costly it is. Generate curiosity in the listener by telling them you have a solution to that problem. Demonstrate your solution to […]

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Key Elements of an Elevator Pitch

To craft an elevator pitch, start with the end in mind.  Do you want to pitch an investor? Do you want to sell a product?  Start the pitch with the problem you solve and what your company does. There needs to be a hook at the beginning of the pitch to capture attention. Describe your […]

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What Is an Elevator Pitch?

An elevator pitch is a short version of your fundraise pitch. Use it when you are engaging investors in situations where the slides are not available and the time is short. It’s useful for setting up a more formal presentation by giving the investor a reason to take the meeting. The elevator pitch demonstrates you […]

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Pros and Cons of Working With Corporate VCs

There are pros and cons to working with Corporate VCs. Here are the pros: They take a long-term point of view giving the startup time to grow and develop. They bring access to partners, customers, and other resources. They bring domain knowledge far beyond what most traditional VCs bring. They can fund major projects much […]

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Best Practices in Working With Corporate VCs

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In working with corporate VCs, follow these best practices: 1. Consider access to the R&D departments of the corporate VC and how much value that will add to your startup. 2. Document your work and […]

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How to Achieve Success Running a Corporate VC Fund

Corporate VCs can leverage their position in the industry to sign up good startups with an investment. The corporate VC brings a network of partners, distribution channels, a brand, an existing product line, and more.  An investment can leverage their research dollars and achieve more than if they build it themselves. The pharmaceutical industry recognized […]

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Mistakes Companies Make With Corporate VCs

Companies setting up a corporate VC arm often make the following mistakes: Treating the corporate VC arm as purely an acquisition pipeline. There are several other ways to gain value from a corporate VC structure than just recruiting target acquisitions. Not taking enough risk in selecting startups to pursue. The startup world has a higher […]

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How to Set Up a Corporate VC Fund

In setting up a corporate VC fund in your organization, consider the following: Start with the legal structure. You can either create an LLC legal entity for the fund or move the fund inside the corporate structure. Next, establish your investment thesis in alignment with your corporate strategic objectives.   Build an investment structure with a […]

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How to Make the Corporate VC Fund Model Work

While traditional venture funds increase their fund size over time, corporate VCs should keep their fund size low. Traditional VCs seek higher compensation and can do so by increasing the size of the fund which increases their management fee. Corporate VCs are often compensated as employees of the company with some upside on successful outcomes […]

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How Corporate VCs Approach Venturing

There are several approaches corporate VCs can take in setting up their venture program: For finding innovations for current challenges the corporate VC can use collaborative innovation tools such as coding sprints, hackathons, or Xprize competitions. For generating new business concepts, utilize accelerators by either bringing in an existing program or creating your own. For […]

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Types of Corporate VC Funding

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Corporate VC funding continues to grow as companies look for innovation and startups look for funding opportunities. There are several types of corporate VC funds. Here are three: 1. Traditional investment fund  – This fund […]

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Tools for Running a Corporate VC Program

There are several tools for the corporate VC to use in a venturing program. Here’s a list to consider: – Hackathon – invite those in the industry or area to participate in a coding challenge to solve a particular problem. – Shared resources – provide the community with a set of tools and data sets […]

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Mistakes Founders Make With Corporate VCs

Founders looking to raise funding from corporate VCs should avoid the following mistakes: 1. Not matching the corporate VC to the needs of the startup – corporate VCs bring not only money but strategic value. 2. Not understanding the corporate VC investment strategy – some corporate VCs invest for a financial return, while others invest […]

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Corporate VC Requirements of Founders

Startups looking to take corporate VC funding should be aware of the requirements put on founders. Here’s a list to consider: – Corporate VCs may seek consent rights on contracts the startup enters with competitors. – They may seek higher levels of compliance on the part of the startup. – They may require additional rights […]

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Core Functions of the Corporate VC

The corporate VC must set up and run a program. Here’s a list of core functions the corporate VC must cover: Planning out the portfolio – this includes estimating the size of each investment as well as the type of company to invest in. There needs to be a target valuation and percentage ownership for […]

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Positioning Your Corporate VC Fund

With the growing number of startups seeking funding, it’s easy to increase your corporate VC fund to capture more deals. Fund sizes in many corporate VCs increase almost every year. For many startups, too much funding can bring unexpected problems. It’s best to start small and grow the fund organically. The corporate VC also needs […]

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Purpose of Corporate Venture Capital

Corporate venture capital is venture funding from a company, rather than a fund raised from limited partners. Most corporate venture capital invests for strategic reasons rather than financial ones. Reasons for corporations to invest in startups include the following: – Gain market insight through their startup portfolio companies – many companies want a front-row seat […]

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How to Set Up a Corporate VC

Corporate VCs follow the startup cycle with many launching their programs at the peak of the cycle. Most Corporate VCs last about 4 to 6 years, at which point the economic cycle creates a challenging environment for the company. To be successful at running a corporate VC, you’ll need to do the following: Set goals […]

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How a Corporate VC Compares to a Traditional VC

Overall, corporate VCs invest more than traditional VCs by about 2%. Corporate VCs operate the same as traditional VCs with some exceptions: – Corporate VCs seek a strategic advantage rather than a financial return – Many don’t lead funding rounds but only follow them – They bring strategic support to the startup such as sales […]

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How a Corporate VC Works

Corporate venture capital is an existing business utilizing venture funding to further the company’s strategic objectives. The firm takes an equity stake in startups either through an internal fund or off the corporate balance sheet.  Unlike traditional venture capital, corporate VCs look to gain a competitive advantage for the company and not a financial return. […]

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What Is Corporate Venture Capital?

Corporate venture capital is an existing business utilizing venture funding to further the company’s strategic objectives. The firm takes an equity stake in startups either through an internal fund, or off the corporate balance sheet.  Unlike traditional venture capital, corporate VCs look to gain a competitive advantage for the company and not a financial return. […]

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Papering an Advisory Agreement

To ensure an advisor engagement is successful, make sure you set up an advisor agreement. This is a contract between the advisor and the company and defines the work to be done. Here are some key points to consider: Make clear what the advisor will do — bring experience, contacts, domain knowledge, or other. Include […]

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Promissory Notes

For family and friends funding, sometimes a promissory note is used to set up a loan. Here are some key points to consider in reading a promissory note: 1. The note summary section establishes the relationship between the borrower and the lender, the date of the note, the total loan amount, and the agreed-upon interest […]

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Waterfalls

In negotiating the valuation, it’s important to understand the impact of that valuation on follow-on rounds and the exit. A waterfall analysis maps out the cap table with subsequent rounds of funding. To run a waterfall analysis, create a spreadsheet with the cap table owners and the current fundraise round. Include the owners, the pre, […]

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Problem Signs in a Cap Table

The Cap Table is an important part of any diligence process. In reviewing a startup’s Cap Table, look for these signs of a problem: – The current team has little equity and thus little incentive to see it through to an exit. – The Cap Table is complicated with multiple share classes. – The early […]

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What Investors Want to See in a Cap Table

Investors review the cap table as part of their diligence process.  They look for the following in the cap table: The founders have a large enough stake that keeps them motivated. Those who have very little ownership will most likely not stay with it for the long haul. The right people need to have enough […]

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How to Handle Convertible Notes in a Cap Table

A fully-diluted cap table shows the impact of the conversion of convertible notes. A convertible note has a date of issue, an interest rate, a discount rate, a valuation cap, and a maturity date.   Upon maturity, the debt typically converts to equity. The conversion is based on the principal amount, accrued interest, and the discount […]

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How to Manage the Cap Table

It’s important to manage your cap table as you go. Fixing it later will cost you time and money. Here are some key points for managing your cap table: Consider setting up your cap table with a provider that keeps track of all transactions in one place. Founders should take ownership of the cap table […]

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The Fully Diluted Cap Table

It’s important for investors to see your cap table in its fully diluted form. The total number of shares issued or outstanding will determine the value of each share from which the shareholder can determine their percent ownership. For startups, issued shares and outstanding shares are the same thing.  Authorized shares do not apply. In […]

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How to Clean up the Cap Table

If you have too many former founders with stock who no longer work at the startup, then you may need to clean up your cap table.  Due to a lack of a vesting schedule, those founders took substantial tranches of stock without staying long enough to build meaningful value. If this stock amount is significant, […]

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Who Gets Access to the Cap Table?

So, who gets access to the cap table? In general, the CEO, CFO, the board of directors, and investors with information rights get access on an ongoing basis. Attorneys, auditors, and other financial professionals may get access to the cap table for specific projects. Employees generally don’t get access to the full cap table. Employees […]

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Reading Cap Tables

The cap table stands for capitalization table and tracks the equity ownership in a company. It’s important to be able to read a cap table and understand what it says. The key terms to know include the following: – Pre-money – the value of the shares before the investment. – Post-money – the value of […]

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Founder-Friendly Term Sheet

Term sheets tend to favor the founder over the investor or the other way around.  Here is how to tell if you have a founder-friendly term sheet: – Valuation skews to the higher end of the market in favor of the founders. – There’s no liquidation preference for the investors. – The option pool shares […]

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Common Mistakes With Cap Tables

The cap table tracks the ownership in the company. In applying the company’s equity to the business there are several mistakes to avoid: One – Not vesting the equity over time.  It’s important to set up a vesting schedule for the equity to vest over the duration of the project. If the employee or contractor […]

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Cap Table Advanced

As the startup grows it will add new entries to the cap table including new hires, option pools, advisors, as well as new investors. Here’s a list of potential changes to the cap table to watch for: New hires and options pools must be added. Employees who leave before all options are vested will have […]

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Cap Table Basics

Cap Table stands for Capitalization Table and tracks the equity ownership in the company. This includes the number of shares each one owns and what percentage of the company it represents. It also lists the total number of shares issued as well as the number of authorized shares by the board. Your number of shares […]

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Purpose of an Advisory Board

An advisory board is a group of three to five people who provide advice on how to grow your startup. They bring experience, contacts, and domain expertise. Advisory boards help the company grow and succeed. In recruiting for your advisory board, consider the following: Recruit diverse skills, networks, and experiences so they don’t overlap. Use […]

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How to Pay Advisors

Once you’ve found an advisor you want to bring on board, consider the compensation. It’s important to pay the advisor something for their time and experience. Real work requires real pay. Not all advisors bring the same level of support to the startup. Also, consider that equity increases in value as the company grows. Later-stage […]

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Does Your Advisor Have What It Takes?

In recruiting an advisor, check to see if they have what it takes to be a good one: Have they been through the wringer?   Those who have been tested, such as nearing bankruptcy or going bankrupt will have a deeper understanding of the challenges in running a startup. Will their work with you put them […]

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Avoiding the Wrong Advisors

Here are some warning signs you may be talking to the wrong advisor: Their primary business-building experience came two tech generations ago. They have business experience but only in one area such as sales or marketing. They can relate their experience but have difficulty understanding your situation. They have a strong ego and center most […]

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How to Select an Advisor

Once you decide you need an advisor, you’ll need to find and select one. Here are some key points to consider: Start with your network and expand out from there. Hold several conversations with the candidate advisor before making a decision. If you need to raise awareness for your startup, consider a thought leader in […]

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Characteristics of a Good Advisor

In working with an advisor for your startup, look for these characteristics: – The advisor has first-hand experience in the industry, running a business, closing sales, and more. – They listen and can relate your problems to actionable solutions. – They have been through the same challenges and experiences as you are going through. – […]

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How to Be a Good Advisor

In choosing a startup to advise, it’s important to find the right fit. Here are some key points to make sure you are a good advisor to the startup. Spend time with the startup to really understand if you can add value and if they are ready for an advisor. Make sure you communicate well […]

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Advisor Roles

Advisors take many roles in their work with startups. You can use advisors to fill gaps in the early stage of the startup. Some advisors provide support as informal advisors.  There’s no set goals, meetings, or formal advisor agreement. This is the most common way startups work with advisors. Those advisors signed up with an […]

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Types of Advisors

There are several types of advisors you can choose to help your startup. Here’s a list to consider: The Brand Name – This type of advisor offers their name to your company.   This can be helpful to attract investors, employees, and customers.  They typically bring some value in the form of advice, but it’s primarily […]

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How to Recruit an Advisor

Good advisors bring good value to your startup. Great advisors bring great value. Spend time identifying the right advisor. In recruiting an advisor, pose specific questions and gauge the response. How does it rank compared to feedback from other sources? It should be the best or near the best of responses. If they advise other […]

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How to Find the Right Startup to Advise

As an investor in a startup, you may want to provide additional value and sign up as an advisor. Here are some key points to consider: – Choose startups that you can help. – Make clear the work you plan to do such as introductions, networking, advising on the domain, or just sharing business experience. […]

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Achieving a Good Advisor Fit With the Startup

Advisors can be very helpful to startup founders.  Here are steps to consider in selecting an advisor: 1. Check your company needs for the coming two years and determine what is missing. 2. Look for advisors who add value to the team by bringing the necessary skills and experience the team doesn’t already have. 3. […]

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Ideal Advisors

Just as you have an ideal customer profile, so you should have an ideal advisor profile. Start with your industry and growth strategy and look for founders who have experience in the same. Look for someone who has already gone through what you are going through now. Start with those who are local and reach […]

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Finding the Right Advisor

Advisors can help startups achieve higher growth, avoid problems along the way, and give the founder confidence. Here are some key points in choosing an advisor for your startup: – Avoid the “dabbler”. These advisors want to dabble with startups but don’t have any substantial experience to share. – Avoid “Yes” men. These advisors confirm […]

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Do You Need an Advisor?

Advisors can be helpful to your startup. Here are some key points to consider to determine if you need one: – If you haven’t run a startup before you’ll most likely need an advisor. – If you plan to raise funding, you’ll find advisors add gravitas to the team as well as potential contacts. – […]

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Convertible Notes

The Convertible Note is a commonly used investment structure for funding startups. It’s a short-term debt instrument that converts into equity later. If the issuer wants a debt instrument without conversion to equity, a promissory note would be a better option. With a Convertible Note, the investor receives accruing interest while holding the note. It […]

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Equity

Equity is used for investment purposes to give the investor an ownership stake in the company. To calculate your ownership percentage you take the number of shares you are purchasing and divide it by the total number of outstanding shares. Another way to calculate your ownership is to use the pre-money-plus-investment-equal-post-money valuation equation. Each share […]

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SAFEs

SAFE stands for Simple Agreement for Future Equity. SAFE notes were created to provide a convertible note-like structure for startup funding but without interest rates or maturity dates.  The SAFE note operates like a warrant which gives the investor the right to buy shares in a future-priced round. SAFEs are similar to convertible notes as […]

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Direct Listings and IPOs

The traditional method of going public with an IPO is being challenged by a new model called a Direct Listing.   The IPO is typically run by an investment bank which hypes the new offering to investors to create a market. This oversubscription creates artificial demand for the stock.   After launching the IPO, the issuing company’s […]

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Should You Use an Investment Banker?

In raising funding or selling your business you may consider using an investment banker.  Here are some key points to consider in making the decision: They can build out the dataroom and do the appropriate research of competitors and comps.  An investment banker can create competition for your acquisition thus raising the buyout value.  Fees […]

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Negotiating the Exit

In negotiating the exit with an acquirer, you’ll need to know the following: 1. Key metrics about your business, both those that show the company in a positive light as well as a negative one. 2. The total addressable market for your company. 3. The top three opportunities your company can attack. 4. The company’s […]

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What if It Doesn’t Sell?

Most startups are launched with the idea of selling the business for a substantial gain in five to seven years. Many companies reach that stage and find they can’t sell the business, at least not for the price they want. Here are some options: – Reduce your burn rate to zero and keep running the […]

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Early Exits

In setting the exit, most investors look to maximize the exit value. It’s important to remember that the metric investors use, IRR or Internal Rate of Return, has a time component to it. The faster the exit, the higher the IRR. As an investor, consider pursuing the highest IRR and not just the biggest dollar […]

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Timeline for an Exit

Most exits come from another company buying the startup.  It takes six months to a year to complete a buyout. Delays often come from the startup not being prepared or ready for the M&A process. Also, setting a valuation and final terms can take substantial time for research and negotiations. To shorten the time consider […]

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Finding the Buyer

In selling a business there are two types of buyers: strategic buyers and financial buyers. Strategic buyers look for companies that can enhance their current business. Financial buyers look for companies that generate cash. Their motivations and careabouts are different. The strategic buyer will look to see how closely the acquisition is to the buyer’s […]

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Planning for an Exit

Startups should start planning for an exit after they achieve product-market fit.  Here are some key points to consider when planning your approach to an acquirer: – What are the key metrics the acquirer will look for? – What are the company’s metrics and how do they currently look? – How big is the market […]

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What are the Exit Options?

There are several ways to exit a business. You can sell the business to another company or investor. This provides liquidity to the owners.    The downside is, it’s not clear what happens to the employees and the direction of the company. You can develop an employee stock ownership plan. This transfers ownership to the employees […]

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Exit Strategy Planning

Most startup exits come through acquisition by another company.  In planning for an exit, you need to develop a strategic plan that prepares your business for the target acquirer. Here are some key steps: Identify the target acquirer and make contact with the CEO and VPs of the company to discuss a potential acquisition in […]

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Alignment for an Exit

Investors should gain alignment with the startup about the exit before making the investment. This includes the size and timing of the exit. There needs to be some clear thinking and research about who will buy the company and how much they will pay.   The investors and the startup need to work together to achieve […]

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The Various Options for Selling Your Business

There are several options for selling your business. Here are some of them: Strategic – This is a buyer that buys your business as it provides strategic value for their company. Financial  – This buyer looks solely at the financials, in particular, the cash flow, and buys the company without consideration to the strategic implications […]

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Positioning for an Exit

Even in the early days of the startup, the CEO must keep in mind the exit.  The investors funded with the anticipation of a return. While the vision of an exit may seem like a distant future, the decisions taken at the beginning often impact the exit at the end. Selection of business model and […]

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Looking for an Exit

Startup investors look for an exit in the 5-7 year range. As a startup, you need to consider the exit from the beginning as the exit strategy can inform your decisions around funding, hiring, and more. Here are several exit options to consider: – Mergers and acquisitions – most companies exit by being bought by […]

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How to Plan for an Exit

Here are some key steps to take in planning the exit for your company: – Understand why you are exiting the business.   – Is this exit going to be seller motivated or buyer motivated? – Explore the options. Consider who would be the best acquirer or which company would be best to merge with. – […]

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Reasons to Exit the Business

There are many reasons to exit the business. Here are some key ones to consider: – The company is ready to go IPO. By taking the company public, new ownership comes into place. – The market has changed dramatically putting the future of the business into question. – The business failed and can no longer […]

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When to Sell Your Business

For every business, there comes a time to sell it. Ask these questions to find if now is the right time to sell your business. Do you still want to run the business? You may want to move on to new projects and opportunities and the current business may no longer be fulfilling. Do you […]

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What Percentage of Startups Fail?

Startups have a high failure rate. What percentage fails? Out of 100 startups/investments: -75 will fail or turn into a lifestyle business within 2 years  -25 will remain on the venture track after 2 years Of those 25: -half will die or turn into a lifestyle business between years 2-4 -15 will remain on the […]

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Awareness, Interest, Desire, Commitment

Running a fundraise with investors is similar to running a sales funnel with prospects. You must take the investor through the stages of awareness, interest, desire, and commitment. Here are the steps you need to take: Stage 1: Awareness – identify and contact an initial list of investors. Start with an ideal investor profile. Categorize […]

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How to Follow up an Investor Prospect

After you’ve had an introduction and talked with the investor either in person or on the phone, it’s important to follow up with the investor to answer questions, update about progress, and walk through diligence. Investors are not interested in spending time to hear about your forecast, they are looking for updates about your progress […]

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Cash is King

In startups, cash is king. It’s the key financial metric to watch. Growth may be going straight up, customer traction may be better than ever, but if cash runs out then it all comes crashing down. Cash management is a daily exercise.   The first step is to understand every inflow and outflow of cash.   Set […]

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Most Common Metrics for Platform Products

Platform products facilitate two-sided marketplaces that match buyers to sellers.   The most common metrics used in platform products are buyer/seller metrics, inventory metrics, and transaction metrics. Buyer/seller metrics include the number of buyers and sellers on the platform. Also, the growth of buyers/sellers and the number of repeat buyers/sellers should be measured. For inventory, metrics […]

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SAFE Notes vs. Convertible Debt

Many startups use SAFE notes and Convertible Notes for their early-stage investments. So what’s the difference? A convertible note is a debt instrument that converts into equity later upon an event such as raising an equity round or reaching a maturity date. A SAFE is a Simple Agreement for Future Equity which is a warrant […]

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The Importance of Storytelling for Your Startup

Storytelling is a key skill for any startup raising funding. In the early days of a startup, the product and team aren’t fully developed and customers are typically not fully engaged.   The investors look to the founders to understand the potential of the business.   The founder who can articulate a clear vision of the company […]

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Strategic Buyer or Financial Buyer?

In seeking a buyer for the company, there are two basic choices: a strategic buyer or a financial buyer.   The strategic buyer is typically a company in your industry that is seeking to acquire technology, teams, a customer base, or brands. They will look at those aspects of your business for a potential fit with […]

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