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The U.S. Congress enacted IRC Section 409A in the midst of corporate scandals that saw highly-paid executives receive deferred compensation payments while other employees lost their retirement savings. Public and private companies must comply for deferred compensation to keep preferential tax treatment status. This article outlines the risks of not complying and what compensation is involved.
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:
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.
Just as with hiring internal managers and staff, using external support requires careful planning and selection. Before you select a consultant or contractor, determine your budget, scope of work, timeline, measures for success, and other resources available to support the people who will do the work. Use this worksheet to help you think through important issues and to guide you in the selection process.
Review this sample Cash Flow Report and Cash Flow Statement for this year old business to understand the primary differences in these two reports and the value in using them in reporting financial information.
Along with this sample Income Statement for a year old business, this tool provides a line-by-line explanation of the most common categories used to report profits.
Use this tool to push beyond your current practices by considering growth opportunities through market penetration, line expansion, market expansion, and new product development.
This tool will help you identify areas in your plan that need additional atttention before it is complete.
The business strategy should be refined on a regular basis, at least annually, to incorporate changes that keep your business on its growth track.
This tool can be used by the entrepreneur throughout the planning process to evaluate the business strategy's compatibility with the overall plan for growth.
This tool will guide entrepreneurs through the process of evaluating competitors' pricing strategies to evaluate which pricing strategies would most likely help achieve growth goals.
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