Investor Connect

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Espresso

Loans

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Equity funding is just one source of funding for your startup. There are many others such as loans. Loans are debt instruments that must be repaid. Startups can find it difficult to get a traditional […]

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Accelerators & Incubators

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Equity funding is just one source of funding for your startup. There are many others such as accelerators and incubators. Accelerators and incubators provide startups with workspace, mentorship, pitch practice, and in some cases funding.  […]

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Taking Loans From Family and Friends

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Many startups use loans to fund their business. If you are taking a loan from family and friends, here are some points to consider: The first step is to determine the amount of the loan […]

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Before Launching Your Business With Family & Friends Funding

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Many startups raise funding from family and friends on their first round to get the startup going. Before launching, make sure you do the following:  Co-founders should agree on the equity split for each one […]

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Profit Sharing

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Many startups use profit sharing to fund their business.  It is important that everyone involved has a very clear understanding of how “profit” is calculated. There are three locations in the startup’s profit and loss […]

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Should You Take Money From Family and Friends?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. I’m often asked if you should you take money from family and friends to fund your startup. Outside investors will look at family-and-friends funding as a sign of support for your business.   If your family […]

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Paying off the Loan

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Many startups use loans to fund their business. Here are a few ways to set up a payment structure and schedule. For payment structure you can use: Interest-only payments — in the beginning the startup […]

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Family and Friends Funding

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Many startups raise funding from family and friends on their first round to get the startup going. For those considering family-and-friends funding, think about the profile of the type of investor you need. Clearly, the […]

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How VCs Make Money

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. So how do Venture Capitalists make money? VCs charge the limited partners a management fee on the funds raised. This is traditionally 2% which is paid out every year for the life of the fund.   […]

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Fund Report to LPs

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. The fund manager provides a quarterly report to the Limited Partners.  The reports typically contain the following sections: 1) Fund Manager Commentary — the fund manager provides an overview of the current news and trends […]

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Investor Expectations of Returns

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Investors in the startup space have a certain expectation for returns.  Startups raising funding should keep in mind these expectations and only approach them if they have a deal that is in the game for […]

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Funds Held in Reserve

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. When a Venture Capitalist makes an investment, they place a portion of their allocated investment upfront in the first round and save the rest for a follow-on round. Most VCs put criteria on the startup’s […]

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Syndicates and Syndication

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Both angels and venture capitalists often invest in syndicates.   In a syndicate, one of the investors leads the round and the other investors follow.  Sometimes the syndicate is a formal group in which the lead […]

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Fiduciaries

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. A venture fund brings a fiduciary responsibility to those raising the funds from limited partners.  A fiduciary means the VC must act in the best interest of the investors. VCs who sit on the boards […]

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How VCs Raise Venture Funding

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing So how do Venture Capitalists raise funding? VCs raise funding from limited partners which include family offices, high-net-worth individuals, foundations, pension funds, and other sources. Institutional investors such as pension funds require a track record, […]

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Targeting Investors for Your Fund

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Targeting investors for your fund and getting buy-in is a key step in raising a fund.  Potential investors include family offices, high-net-worth individuals (HNI), and angel investors.  Larger institutional investors such as pension funds, are […]

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What Is Growth Equity?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. So what is growth equity? Growth equity refers to investing in a company at later rounds such as Series C or D. These companies typically have $3-5M of revenue and are beginning to start the […]

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Returns of a Fund

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. The Returns on a Fund are based on the power law which means that the Pareto Principle applies: The bulk of returns come from just a few of the companies. Out of ten investments, one […]

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How to Analzye a Market

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In running a fund it’s important to analyze market segments. First, evaluate the leading companies in the market. Are there any leaders that stand out, or are all the companies competing head-to-head with the same […]

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How to Analyze a Startup

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Fund managers must present their investment ideas to the other general partners.  Here’s how to analyze a potential company for investment: 1) Identify a recent event for the target company, such as entering a new […]

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Key Legal Documents for Your Fund

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. There are 3 key legal documents for your fund. They are: 1) Subscription Agreement — describes how the limited partners purchase interest in a fund, or rather, subscribe to it. It contains representations and warranties. […]

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Key Metrics for Your Fund

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. There are three key metrics for tracking the performance of a Fund. The first is Net Internal Rate of Return (called Net IRR) — this measures the performance of fund distributions and the change in […]

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Develop an Investment Thesis for Your Fund

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. For those raising a fund, you must develop an investment thesis for your fund or investing strategy. An investment thesis is a hypothesis that describes how a particular market is suitable for producing a positive […]

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Creating an Executive Summary for a Fund

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In raising a fund you’ll need an executive summary which should include the following: Fund Objectives, (Legal) Structure, Fund Specifics, Investment Strategy, Investment Criteria, Investment Process Overview, Management Team and Disclaimers. Fund Objective — purpose […]

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How to Find Market Sizing

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. One of the key selling points for a startup is their potential market size. There are several ways to find it for your startup. You could buy a market research report. These typically run anywhere […]

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Starting Your Own VC Fund

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. You can now start your own VC fund. Venture capital, angel investing, crowdfunding, and most forms of startup funding are best done through a fund model for when deal flow volume reaches scale.    A fund […]

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How Can VCs Make More Money

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. As a startup, it’s helpful to understand the VC investor you are talking to and how they make money. In venture capital, there’s two ways to make money. First, VCs typically take one third of […]

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The Time Element of Returns

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In calculating returns the timing of the return is a key factor. There are two metrics for measuring return. ROI is return on investment without respect to time, and IRR which is Internal Rate of […]

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Follow a Disciplined Investment Strategy

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In angel investing the two basic approaches are generalist and specialist.  The generalist funds across all sectors but with certain criteria focused on growth rates, team composition, or monetization models such as recurring revenue. The […]

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Key Documents for Your Due Diligence Box

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. You’ll need to gather your basic company documents for investors to review. In preparing a due diligence box also called a dataroom, there are basic documents to include: Income Statement and Balance Sheet Three to […]

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The Challenge of the VC Life

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Many people want to work for a VC, especially those straight out of college. Most are not aware of the challenging dynamics that come with the VC life.  Here are a few: Raising funding — […]

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Product: Show What Product You Are Going to Build

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. I once read a sixty-five page business plan that talked about the startup’s services and the benefits that came from it. After reading it, I met with the CEO and said, “This is great. What […]

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How to Diligence the Team

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In diligencing a startup, the team is the most critical factor in the process.  Since the startup has only a nascent product and perhaps some intellectual property, the team is the only thing that you […]

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Red Flags in Due Diligence

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In due diligence you may encounter red flags indicating something is wrong. Here are some that I’ve found: The founders are not investing any of their own money into the business.   The cap table is […]

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What Isn’t Being Said in Due Diligence

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In due diligence, what isn’t being said or shared is as important as what is. When a startup pitches their idea, you should be skeptical of founders that don’t mention potential risks or discuss their […]

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The Importance of Follow-Up

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. So many entrepreneurs think the most important moment in the investor engagement is the pitch.   In fact, the pitch is the second most important.  The most important moment is the follow-up after the pitch. The […]

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You’ll Hear “No” a Lot

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In raising funding you will hear “no” from investors a lot.   When I say a lot, I mean it’s more than most entrepreneurs think. I know one entrepreneur who made 50 investor pitches before he […]

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How to Contact Investors

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In running a fundraise campaign you’ll need to set up calls and meetings with investors who are busy and may struggle to find time to give you. Of course you can have a mutual contact […]

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How Do VCs Make a Decision?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. So how do VCs make a decision to invest? Venture Capital investors make investment decisions as a group. As an associate, partner, or otherwise, you must convince the team to move forward with it.   Even […]

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Multiple Position Points

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In pitching you can position your startup in more than one way.  You could pitch for the sector it is in — such as Edtech. Many investors focus on a sector. In this case you […]

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How Do Investors Decide to Invest?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. So, how do investors decide to commit to a startup investment? Entrepreneurs look at the opportunity in the deal. Investors look at the risk. There are two factors that help the investor decide to invest […]

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What Investors Can Do for You at Each Stage

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. At each stage of funding, investors bring not only funding, but also some level of support.  From crowdfunding you receive not only the investment (or prepayment, if you are running a rewards campaign), but you […]

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Who Should You Pursue for Your Raise?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In raising funding, start with your own network. Set up calls with angels, family offices, and others who you already know. Since the relationship is already built, it’s much easier to set up the meeting. […]

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What Is the Best Source of Capital to Align With My Needs?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. There are many sources of capital.   There are family and friend loans. There are bank loans. There are revenue share loans. There are equity investments in the form of convertible notes and equity ownership. There […]

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Coronavirus Economy Trends: Government

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In the Coronavirus lockdown, we’re seeing trends that will establish the next cycle of startup innovation. We’ll see the government shift to building out the infrastructure and response programs for healthcare and public safety initiatives, […]

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Coronavirus Economy Trends: Shift to Digital

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In the Coronavirus lockdown we’re seeing trends that will establish the next cycle of startup innovation. While already underway, there’s an accelerating shift to digital.   Startups in this area will find investor interest if they […]

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Character, Confidence and Coachability

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In evaluating a team, there are elements to look for in a CEO for early-stage companies. The first is character. The CEO must have integrity and demonstrate character. Over time, the company will adopt the […]

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Coronavirus Economy Trends: Sports

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In the Coronavirus lockdown we’re seeing trends that will establish the next cycle of startup innovation. While physical events for esports have been cancelled and future events may be postponed, in general, esports continue with […]

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Team Is the Only Thing

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Vince Lombardi once said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”. In startup investing, “Team isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”. All problems will ultimately be solved by the team. If the team can’t solve […]

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How to COVID-19-Proof Your Business

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. After the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, investors look to see if you have made your business COVID-19-proof. Here are some steps to COVID-19-proof your startup. Ensure your startup can continue day-to-day operations by working remotely, […]

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Fundraise: Show That Others Are Interested in the Deal

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. The prospective investor wants to see traction in your fundraise just as they want to see traction in your core business.  In raising funding, investors will first express interest and then make a commitment before […]

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The Coronavirus Impact on What’s Getting Funded

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. The Coronavirus pandemic impacts what venture capital funds. We’ll see changes in the following ways: Goods and services deemed ‘essential’ will receive funding such as cannabis, CBD, and hemp.  Alcohol will see increased funding as […]

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Timing Matters

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In raising funding, you need to build a relationship with the investor and communicate your story.  Both take time.  It’s a numbers game. You have to put yourself in places to meet people. Once you’ve […]

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The Coronavirus Impact on IT and Cybersecurity

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. The Coronavirus pandemic impacts many parts of the economy including IT and cybersecurity. We’ll see changes in the following ways: With the shift to distributed employees and remote work, there will be more people logging […]

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What Do Investors Really Want?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Most investors look for startups in which they can find a return on their investment. In the diligence and funding process, what the investor really wants is to not lose all their money. They want […]

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The Coronavirus Impact on Logistics

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. The Coronavirus pandemic impacts many parts of the economy including logistics and supply chain. We’ll see changes in the following ways: The need for flexible manufacturing come to the forefront in the Coronavirus pandemic in […]

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Tell a Story

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In pitching your business plan, consider using the story format. Start with the problem you faced. Show how you couldn’t find a solution so you created your own. And now others are coming to you […]

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The Coronavirus Impact on Education

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. The Coronavirus pandemic impacts many parts of the economy including education. We’ll see changes in the following ways: Education has been moving online for the last twenty years. With online courseware, virtual classroom tools and […]

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Due Diligence – the Thorough Approach

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. There are several approaches to Due Diligence. The most common is the “Thorough Approach” in which you review each aspect of the business and focus on the top items. Main areas to cover in due […]

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The Coronavirus Impact on Work

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. The Coronavirus pandemic impacts many parts of the economy including work. We’ll see changes in the following ways: Increased usage of remote-work software tools. Video conferencing, shared drives, Slack, and other tools make virtual work […]

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IP – Demonstrate You Have a “Secret Sauce”

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Investors look for some protection over the idea. Patents and trade secrets can help. Half the value of a patent is for show, to investors. In practice, it’s difficult to use patents as the sole […]

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The Coronavirus Impact on Healthcare

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. The Coronavirus pandemic impacts many parts of the economy including healthcare. For healthcare startups, we’ll see changes in the following ways: Increased use of telemedicine. The pandemic highlights the challenge of centralizing all healthcare functions […]

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What Do VCs Invest In?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. I’m often asked what venture capital looks for.  VCs look for emerging tech markets with strong growth projections. These sectors include blockchain, AI, Data Analytics, and other strong growth areas. They do this partly because […]

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QA Session – Markeyla Henton

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Today’s question is from Markeyla Markeyla asked: I would love some direction about creating relationships in the VC world. Although I have been accepted into an accelerator, I don’t have many connections in the VC […]

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How to Achieve an Exit for Investors

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Today, we’ll talk about how to achieve an exit in a startup investment. It’s easy to get into a startup investment, but difficult to get out — especially with a positive return. Most startup exits come […]

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The Coronavirus Impact on CPG

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. The Coronavirus pandemic impacts many parts of the economy including consumer product goods. For the consumer-product-goods space, we’ll see changes in the following ways: Many CPG companies will see greater demand for their product as […]

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What to Do in the Coronavirus Economy

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. The Coronavirus economy is accelerating changes already underway. Content and engagement is moving online. This impacts healthcare and education in particular, as well as general business. As a startup, you need to recognize this acceleration […]

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How Are Startup Investors Reacting to the Coronavirus Economy?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. The Coronavirus has sent the stock market into a wild ride of 1000-point swings every day. In talking with investors, I find the following: Early-stage investors continue to move forward with their investment plans.  Later-stage […]

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Coronavirus Accelerates Changes Already Underway

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. While the Coronavirus brings a lockdown in the movement of people, it doesn’t point to an altered future, but rather an accelerated one. The Coronavirus will accelerate changes in the economy that are underway. We […]

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Impact of Coronavirus Crash on Startup Fundraising

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. The Coronavirus has taken an historic 10-year bull market and turned it into a bear market. With comparisons to 9/11, the 2008 financial meltdown, and the Great Depression, startups and investors are adjusting to a […]

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What You Need to Bring to the Table: Sales, Team, Product and Fundraise

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In raising funding, investors want to know what progress the company is making.  After the initial presentation, the investor wants to hear about progress in four areas: Sales, team, product, and the fundraise. For Sales […]

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Sales: Show Customer Engagement at Every Step of the Way

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Most startups focus on the product first and treat the customer as an after-thought.  The investor knows that in the long run customer revenue will make or break your business — not the product.  In […]

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How to Build a Relationship With an Investor – Start With a Prospect List

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. To pitch your deal you must first start with a prospect list of investors. Include your contacts who are angels, family offices, and VCs. Canvas your network for those who know angels, family offices, and […]

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Team: A Core Team of Someone Building It and Someone Selling It

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. The investor will look closely at the team in your startup. In particular, they will look for skills and completeness.  Your team must have the skills you need to accomplish the work and you’re not […]

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Say Your Business in 5 Words or Less

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. The sign of a quality pitch is the simplicity in the message. One test is, can you say your business in five words or less? You should know your business well enough that you can […]

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Who Can Help With the Fundraise?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In raising funding, you always start with your core network and increasingly expand the circle outward. The list includes the following: Family Friends Coworkers Your service providers such as attorneys, accountants, etc. Past coworkers As […]

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How to Prepare for a Raise

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Before you launch your fundraise campaign, prepare your business, investor documents, and your investor network. For the business, check with your team, board, and investors to gain alignment.  Your fundraise launch should not come as […]

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Do You Have a Venture Deal?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. For raising venture funding, first consider if you have a deal that’s in the game for venture funding by asking these questions: Is it a high-growth company? Is it scalable? Do you have an experienced […]

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What’s the Game Plan for My Business?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In considering a fundraise, think about your ultimate goal with the business. Are you building a business that will be your lifestyle business for the next 20 years, or are you building a business that […]

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Do You Need Funding for Your Startup?

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. How do you know if you need funding for your startup? First, consider the type of business you are going to build and what it will take to get it up and running. Are you […]

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Break the Raise Down Into Milestones

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. In raising funding it’s best to break the raise into milestones rather than raising the entire amount of funding in one go. Milestones are typically broken out as follows: Raise $250K from family and friends […]

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Fundraise Geography

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. I receive many a startup that tells me they’ve talked to everyone in their area to raise funding but they haven’t found all the funding they need.  What can they do? When I started angel […]

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How to Close a Funding Round

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. After you’ve built your fundraise campaign and your list of interested investors, it comes time to close the funding round.   Here are some pointers for closing:  Sort and prioritize your list of target investors. […]

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Focus on Your Core Audience

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. To launch your startup identify a large market then target a small segment of that market to attack first. Choose your first segment based  on easy to access and a close fit to your initial […]

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Exemptions

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso — your daily shot of startup funding and investing. Securities law allows for startups to take investments from family and friends.  Here are the relevant exemptions. Rule 504 is The Seed Fund Exemption This allows you to raise up to $ 1 million within […]

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How Much Equity to Give Up

How much equity should you give up to the investors? Friends & Family Round: Less than 10% most often in the 5-6% Angel Round: It’s 20-25% VC Series A Round: 25% to 30% It’s important to keep the founders motivated so if too much equity goes to investors, there’s little incentive for the founders to […]

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Are you Ready for a Series A Fundraise?

Are you considering launching a Series A fundraise? For startups not requiring FDA, you will need the following: – A product with revenue, preferably above $500K/year – A growth plan to reach $10M annual revenue – A strong team with growth company experience – A credible funding plan to maintain growth with reasonable burn rates […]

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Why am I Being Rejected for Funding Because I am a Startup?

Luis asks: Why am I being rejected for funding because I am a startup? Investors always ask that I have at least one year in business or more and that my company has revenue. Usually, when you start a business you start from scratch. That is when you need the support to launch and develop […]

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Gratitude

In fundraising as in all business, one should always show a grateful attitude. This applies to both startups and investors. Begin your call or meeting with a thank you. Such as: -Thank you for taking time -Thank you for meeting with me It sets the proper tone for the discussion. Gratitude shows a thankfulness to […]

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Common Startup Mistakes

Startups make many of the mistakes.  Here are two common ones to avoid: Thinking you must have the perfect product before you talk with anyone – including customers.   Many startups go into development mode until they have their first product, and then launch it to the world. Often with a thud. Instead, involve customers at every step […]

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Founder Vesting

I’ve talked with numerous startups who has a founder that no longer works with the company and has taken their equity with them. One solution to this problem is called Founder Vesting. Many startups choose to structure the founder shares as restricted stock. This reserves some shares which must be “earned back” by the founder […]

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Pari Passu

The terms sheet sets out terms such as Pari passu, Last Money in Rules, Exclusivity and confidentiality, and Conditions of Financing Pari passu is a Latin phrase meaning equal footing and without preference. This clause basically states that if the startup issues any new classes of stock then it shall have equal rights with prior […]

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Drag-along Rights & Protective Provisions

The terms sheet sets out Drag along rights and Protective Provisions Drag along rights give the investor the right to force the shareholders (founders and others) to sell the startup. Drag along rights are common in VC deals. The primary reason for a drag along rights clause is that the lead investors want out and […]

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Information Rights

The terms sheet sets out the Information Rights for the investors. The Information Rights section defines what information and reports are required and the reporting schedule, and sometimes which investors are entitled to receive the information. The standard set of financial reports that investors require include profit and loss (P& L) statements, balance sheets, and […]

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Governance and Control Terms

The terms sheet contains several investor rights relating to Governance and Control.  Here are three of them:  Right of First Refusal   The Right of First Refusal clause says that if a founder sells his or her shares, then the preferred share investor gets the right to buy those founder shares first. Doing so results in […]

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Warrants

You may come across the term warrants in a terms sheet. Warrants are a type of security that gives investors the option to buy more stock over a designated time frame, at a specific price. Three parameters define the details of a typical warrant clause: the term, the coverage, and the price. The term sets […]

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Pay to Play

Pay to play is often used in terms sheets. A pay to play clause is intended to create an incentive for existing preferred share investors to invest on a pro rata basis in future financing rounds. The clause spells out that, if the existing investors choose not to participate in future rounds, they will lose […]

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Anti-Dilution

Terms sheets use anti-dilution clauses to protect the investors. Anti-dilution comes into play during down rounds in which the founders raise funding at a lower valuation than a previous round. There are three scenarios: No Anti-Dilution Protection – Investors and founders share in dilution from any follow on rounds funding. Full Ratchet Anti-Dilution – With […]

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Liquidation Preference

Liquidation preference is a right commonly found in terms sheet. It provides the investor the right to receive their investment back and then the remaining profits are distributed pro rata to other stakeholders. It’s often expressed in multiples such as 1X, 2X, or 3X. This means the investors with those rights will receive 1X their […]

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Key Terms in the Terms Sheet

Here are some Financial Parameters to look for in a terms sheet: Type of Security: Convertible Preferred Stock, Series A Convertible Preferred Stock, or Series Seed Preferred Stock. Investment Amount: How much is being raised. Pre-Money Valuation: What the business is worth before the investment. The pre-money valuation can also appear in the “Price Per […]

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