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Chasing an entrepreneurial dream can be an all-consuming effort. Particularly in those crucial early days of a startup, founders seem to eat, sleep and breathe their businesses. This naturally occurring tunnel vision has a purpose, of course, allowing entrepreneurs to give their business babies the time and attention they need to mature. But this heads-down mode is not without its drawbacks, one of which is neglecting to stay up on current events--particularly the happenings that can impact the entrepreneurs who are inadvertently paying no attention to them.
Venture capital certainly has its place within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Some of our nation's largest companies (and employers), like Apple, Google and FedEx, have secured this form of funding. But plenty of Kauffman Foundation research tells us that VC funding isn't as mainstream in startups as one would gather based on its common place in startup news. In fact, less than 20 percent of the fastest growing young companies ever take venture capital money.
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.
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.
VCs increasingly are leaving the industry to become entrepreneurs, yet despite their experience with funding startups, many of them are realizing just how challenging it can be to launch a successful business. The insights gained in entrepreneurship, in turn, provide them with a perspective on what it means to be on the andquot;other sideandquot; of the funding table.
For years, Dave Felker created equipment for one of the world's leading golf companies, Calloway Golf. There he designed golf balls and clubs for the game's best golfers. Then, Dave left Calloway. Throwing the USGA rules out the window and using the laws of physics instead, Dave created the Polara golf ball, which would help correct an average golfer's hook or slice.
Matt McCall posts about Sequoia Capital and how this VC firm describes the elements of sustainability they seek within the ventures they fund, such as clarity of purpose, large markets with rich customers, and focus.
One of the questions I get asked the most is some version of "what do you think of crowdfunding?" I usually answer with some noncommittal answer about how it is going to be important, but no really knows how it will impact the trajectory and success of startup companies. After all, the notion of banding together through social media to fund the development of a prototype, documentary film or art project has been going on for many years now.
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.
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