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The 10 Things NOT To Do When Pitching a Venture Capitalist

The 10 Things NOT To Do When Pitching a Venture Capitalist | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
  • This article is instead about what I’ve learned pitching venture capitalists for Ellevest

  • While one might be tempted to try to avoid the VC path – and there are an increasing number of ways for entrepreneurs to raise money, such as angel groups and crowdfunding – for now, if you’re raising above a certain amount, you’re going to have to go the venture capital route. And I’m hoping that maybe – just maybe – VCs will work to up their game with women entrepreneurs, and so there will be greater funding opportunities. Some already are.

    So here are some of my lessons learned about asking-for-money don’ts:  Read more: click image or title.

 

FREE Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km

Growthink teaches how to FUND, build, grow, and sell a great business: http://bit.ly/2hn5ROb

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

An article written by and for women it offers great advice on how to #pitch your message to #VC companies.

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How to find investors for your start up?

How to find investors for your start up? | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
How to find investors: why investors don't respond to your messages!

Why is it that when you send an email or a message (on Linkedin for example) to an investor, they never seem to answer. Sometimes funding seekers ask around in their Linkedin groups. It just seems like everyone else seems to be in the same boat. There might be a few very good reasons. Here are some blunt answers. Read more: click image or title.

 

FREE Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km

Growthink teaches how to FUND, build, grow, and sell a great business: http://bit.ly/2hn5ROb

“Rather than the typical client/vendor relationship I'm used to, Growthink has been more like a strategic partner and trusted advisor. Not only did they provide me with a dynamic business plan but they have given me invaluable advice and feedback along the way. They have exceeded my expectations in every way possible during this exciting but uncertain time of starting & ultimately growing my business.”

Jerry D. Erickson

President/CEO

FryBrid Cars

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Requests for funding are sometimes unreal. You really want millions of dollars at 1% or 2% interest rate, without spending any money on a decent #BusinessPlan, no upfront fees, several years before starting to pay it back, etc.? Tell me, give me your bank account number, I'll wire it to you immediately!

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No responses to my funding requests?...

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Ashton Kutcher explains his 3 rules of investing - Business Insider

Ashton Kutcher explains his 3 rules of investing - Business Insider | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Kutcher may be best known for his comedic roles, but he's also a successful investor in companies like Airbnb and Uber.

Ashton Kutcher built a fan base as a goofball character in sitcoms and movies, but he has been seriously focused on his investments over the past several years.It's why his friend Mark Cuban, one of the regular investors on the show "Shark Tank," invited Kutcher to try out for a guest-investor role in the show's seventh season, which began Friday. After getting accustomed to the format, Kutcher dived right in, making a deal, offering entrepreneurs valuable insight, and even sparring with the brashest of the show's investors, Kevin O'Leary.Rather than begin investing on a whim, Kutcher reached out to prominent Silicon Valley angel investor Ron Conway, who became his mentor in the late aughts.Since 2010, Kutcher has been an investor through his venture-capital firm A-Grade Investments, which he founded with the entrepreneurs and investors Guy Oseary and Ronald Burke. He was an angel investor before that. He also connected with Marc Andreessen, one of the Valley's premier investors, and Andreessen wisely persuaded him to invest in Skype in 2009.He has invested in seed and Series-A rounds for companies including Uber, Airbnb, Spotify, and Casper.In an interview for his website A-Plus, Kutcher said he had three rules of investing, which are focused on what he sees in entrepreneurs: Read more": click image or title.




Discover how to raise capital on your terms, by legally soliciting and selling securities to angel investors in the United States.

Check out…    http://bit.ly/1Lr9RrI


Via High Above the Clouds
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

These rules make sense and teach something to #entrepreneurs who want to #pitch their #startups to #investors

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3 reasons startups should consider corporate investors

3 reasons startups should consider corporate investors | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Many entrepreneurs looking to raise funding for their businesses first think of traditional venture capitalists or angel investors. They would be wise, though, to add corporate VCs to the mix they’re considering. My company, SundaySky, has raised three rounds of funding and is fortunate enough to work with two corporate investors along with several traditional VCs. Here’s why:




Learn more about funding, find great funding sources, get a free business plan template, post your funding request for free, and more:

www.Business-Funding-Insider.com


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Working with corporate investing is definitely a great plus, the advantages are abundant, this article highlights the main ones.

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No Team? No Idea? No Problem! This VC Will Fund Your Startup Anyway - Wall Street Journal (blog)

No Team? No Idea? No Problem! This VC Will Fund Your Startup Anyway - Wall Street Journal (blog) | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
As money pours into equity and venture capital firms, “pre-acceleration” programs are flourishing for those interested in entrepreneurship but who don’t know where to start.

Alejandro Vicente Grabovetsky wants to build a software program that checks the veracity of online news items. The 30-year-old with a PhD in neuroscience from Cambridge University plans to set his “media-truth-detector” loose on what he calls Russian propaganda, mostly against his native Ukraine. He has three problems though: he’s not exactly sure how it’s going to work, he doesn’t have any money to develop it, and he’s got no team to work with.

Also, he’s not sure the technology “is there yet.”

Enter Entrepreneur First, a venture capital firm that says it invests in people “pre-idea, pre-team,” which this week let Grabovetsky pitch his idea to see if he can get it off the ground.

Many wannabe entrepreneurs in EF’s program are pre-selected while still at university, where EF has close contacts with professors to spot the students with the best academic records, science projects, internships or publications. Two academics even hold equity in the company. “We spent a lot of time on campuses,” said Zoe Jervier, a member of EF’s recruiting team, said.

As money pours into equity and venture capital firms, “pre-acceleration” programs are flourishing for those interested in entrepreneurship but who don’t know where to start. It’s a risky, long-term bet on untested entrepreneurs with no real product or business plan.

“We are probably the most risk-seeking investors in the world,” said Matt Clifford, EF’s co-founder. Click image or title to continue reading.




Need funding?

Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km



Via Laurent Timmermans
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Risky strategy, but probably rewarding because of the small investment and the choice of most promising candidates.

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6 Reasons Investors Are Drooling Over Subscription-Based Startups

6 Reasons Investors Are Drooling Over Subscription-Based Startups | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
The future is looking subscription-based--and investors are taking note.

I moved to New York City in the dead of winter this year, after living in sunny Los Angeles my whole life. It was a season of firsts: first time I'd ever not had a car and first time I'd ever owned a coat. The grocery store is only a few blocks away from my home, but in the snow that I totally wasn't used to, picking up stuff for dinner was a chore. First world problems alert!

Surfing the Web, I found a lovely little startup that creates gourmet recipes, packs a box with the ingredients to cook them, and delivers a box right to your door. So my issues of being cold and a terrible cook were alleviated for about $60 per week.

It's been a running joke that no matter what your problem is, "there's an app for that!" The way things are going, that old saying might be modified to "there's a subscription-based business for that!" And investors are taking note.

"The subscription business model is in the midst of exponential growth and is completely transforming the purchasing habits and priorities of the consumer," says Donny Gamble Jr., financial expert and founder of PersonalIncome.org. "In the past, skeptics dismissed the subscription model as being 'all hype,' but recent trends have proven the opposite is true."

As consumer behavior increasingly favors access, simplicity, and convenience, a model in which customers commit to recurring purchases of a customized set of goods has been met with astonishing success. As it turns out, this model actually encourages consumers to buy more consistently. Reduced costs, global consumer access, and rapid growth potential make subscription-based businesses an optimal investment in the domain of e-commerce.

Gamble predicts that the future of investments will become increasingly subscription-based. Here's why:... Read more: click on image or title.





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Hey Dave,
Your BP template help me achieve the goals I've been trying for 5 years. The template led me to produce an effective tool to attract the investors I need.
Thanks
Robert

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Find the need, create the problem, sign up clients. As simple as that.

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The ultimate guide to pricing your company for a fundraise (Or, how much is too much?) | VentureBeat | Entrepreneur | by Armando Biondi, AdEspresso

The ultimate guide to pricing your company for a fundraise (Or, how much is too much?) | VentureBeat | Entrepreneur | by Armando Biondi, AdEspresso | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Your company’s valuation is probably the single most important number in your whole fundraising story.

Your company’s valuation is probably the single most important number in your whole fundraising story.
Sure, you need to have some early traction, you need to have a product out there and a convincing enough team; but those are prerequisites. Don’t even go into a fundraising conversation if you don’t have them, and much has been written about what people look for nowadays.
But valuation? That’s where you make or break the conversation. If yours is too high, potential investors will prioritize other opportunities over yours; if it’s too low, they will ask themselves what’s wrong.
If the valuation you’re asking for is completely off the chart, that’s a huge red flag and it signals that you have little or no idea what you’re talking about (and leaves investors wondering what other things you don’t have an idea about). Plus, if you look for answers online, the average one you’ll get is: “it depends.” Yeah, thanks.
So let me break down what valuation you should target based on the stage you’re in, which is, incidentally, also what the average investor expects to hear based on the valuation of the company you give them:
Up to $1 million valuation: This is probably what you should be aiming for if it’s the first external money and/or your first company and/or you’re taking money from friends and family, and/or you barely have a prototype (or a landing page and/or a few thousands in users/revenue). This is also what you’ll get if you’re selected for an accelerator program (or a little less in some cases, a little more in others). Also consider that U.S. people will be ok buying at around $1M while the rest of the world will be a bit more comfortable buying at around $500K.
$1-3 million valuation: This is a price you should use to incentivize and reward the early movers so you can build momentum on the fundraising. This might mean the first $100,000-250,000 of angel investors not directly related to your friends and family network, or the network of angels surrounding the accelerator (if you joined one). To justify this valuation, you don’t really need anything more than the requirements of the previous stage, just the fact that somebody else — besides you, your cofounders, and your dog — believes in what you’re doing enough to throw some money at you. It’s called “social proof.”
$3–6 million valuation: At this price you are expected to not only have a product out there but also to have 5-20 percent month-over-month growth rate for at least 3-6 months. Use this rule of thumb: Add $1million to the valuation for every 5 percent of traction month-over-month you’re gaining. If you have a previous success under your belt, you’ll be able to raise at this valuation with less validation, but do remember that this is pretty much the range at which every startup in the world tries to raise the first $500,000-750,000.
$6–9 million valuation: If you’re a Y Combinator company nowadays, you can pretty much raise at this price with the same validation and metrics as in the previous category, or less. But if you’re not, this is where you can go with around 6 to 12 months of operational data plus 10 to 25 percent of month-over-month growth. At this point, traction is not enough though; absolute numbers become important. Investors will expect you to have $30,000-50,000 per month in revenue or more, and will usually be fine in buying at a valuation 100X your monthly revenue or 8X-9X your yearly revenue. Your target raise should be $1–2 million.
$9-12 million valuation: Now things start to become interesting. For this price, you’re not expected to be the scrappy startup anymore; you’re expected to be an actual company. You’ll need an established product out there, 12-18 months of operational data, and some interesting absolute numbers paired with a consistent month-over-month growth rate (the bigger the growth is, the smaller the absolute numbers need to be). But, more importantly, people will want to take a look at the cost structure, how you managed it, and how close you are to profitability. Your target raise should be $2–3 million.
$12–15 million valuation: To raise money at this point, the main question for which you need a very good answer is: “How do you intend to grow to 10 to 20 times the valuation investors are paying for right now?” So, besides the already-mentioned elements, what becomes really important is the go-to-market strategy you’re already executing to gain market share, and to go from initial traction to initial scale. “What are the customer lifetime value (LTV) and customer acquisition cost (CAC) calculations?” is another typical question. Know the answer. Your target raise should be $3–5 million.
The overall issue is that the average founder is as lousy at pricing his own company as he is at pricing his own product. The two kinds of valuations aren’t that different. They’re both sales — one is a specific product and the other is a whole company. In the same way the price of a product is a proxy for its perceived value (you expect something more expensive to be more valuable, after all), the price of your company is a proxy for the expected underlying value (ergo the metrics it’s generating). Be very aware of that and deviate from the framework at your own risk.
Of course, caveats apply:
A) You can optimize for speed or valuation; it’s very hard, if not impossible, to do both.
B) The spread between investors from the U.S. and from the rest of the world is real, so take into consideration where your target investor is from.
C) Different investors will want different things; the earlier ones will be more valuation-sensitive, while the later ones will be more ownership-sensitive.
D) Valuation really is a promise; to go the next stage, you have to materialize the current one. Unless you’re an outlier. If that’s the case, just feel free to ignore every single word I’ve said so far.
By Armando Biondi. He is cofounder and COO of AdEspresso, a Saas Solution for Facebook Ads Optimization. He previously cofounded five other tech and non-tech companies. He’s also an angel investor in Mattermark and 14 more companies. He’s also part of the 500 Startups network, and is an occasional mentor.


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Valuations are essential in funding negotiations.

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Top five reasons why investors don't invest

Top five reasons why investors don't invest | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Fergal O’Mullane, director at retail tech accelerator Eccomplished, looks at the key issues that prevent investors from backing companies.

Professional investors see a constant stream of start-ups telling them that they have developed a unique product that is going to disrupt their chosen market and deliver huge returns. 

To combat this, they will generally have developed a set of investment criteria that nine times out of ten will govern whether they decide to invest or not. To put it into context, a typical VC might review 2,000 or 3,000 plus 'opportunities' per annum and only invest in 10 or 15, while active angel investors might see 200-300 and invest in 4-5. 

The odds are stacked and investors are constantly on the look out for 'red flags', or reasons not to invest. Here are the five we come across the most often – bear them in mind when planning your fundraising activity. They should help improve your odds of success: 

1. Lack of industry knowledge

Investors tend to get involved with businesses they understand and sectors they have experience in, as it is easier for them to assess the opportunity and ultimately add value to the business. Whether you are looking for angel or VC funding, it makes sense to prioritise investors who understand your business and the market that you’re in.

2. Complicated share structure and cap tables 

Many start-ups rely on 'friends and family' funding in the very early stages of growth. This can be an effective source of early financing, but if it's not managed correctly it can create problems when looking for professional investment later. Avoid agreeing to any non-dilution terms on future rounds and try and keep your cap table short and as tidy as possible.

3. Lack of confidence in the team

For investors it's all about reducing risk. Investing in someone with a track record of success or strong skills and experience in a chosen field is attractive. If you lack these, make sure you build a team around you with the relevant experience, have a clear understanding of the gaps in your organisational structure and substitute lack of experience with a boat-load of drive and enthusiasm.

4. Financial stumbling blocks

Once an investor has decided they like you and the value proposition, they will pour over the financials as they offer a mine of information on the business. There are a multitude of potential red flags for investors at this stage and three of the major offenders are:

  • Unrealistic forecasting – Make sure you can support your forecasting with defensible addressable market data and a solid growth plan
  • Exotic loans – Loans with preferential terms over that of the professional investors will always be a challenge, especially if it's a large amount
  • Salaries – Investors don't like to see founders taking big salaries while the company is burning cash
5. Over valuation

Trying to determine what something is worth is never easy and ultimately comes down to supply and demand. If you have an exceptional business and you have investors queuing around the block to invest then you are in the driving seat when it comes to valuation. If your options are limited you need to be sensible and look at the pros and cons of holding out for a higher valuation, versus getting the funds you need to realise your vision.

It is important to remember that whilst there are many investors out there hungry for the next big investment opportunity, none are obliged to invest in your business. Regardless of how excited you are about your proposition, without proper forward planning and the right boxes ticked, finding investment will be a laborious task. On the flip side, get it right now and you could very quickly find yourself a lot closer to achieving your personal and business goals.


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Via marcduke
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Looking through investors' eyes. Find out why they say 'no'!

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Stop Confusing Small Businesses and Startups

Stop Confusing Small Businesses and Startups | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Small businesses and startups often get lumped together but they're different ventures with vastly different goals, and that means they need different things to thrive.

The words “startup” and “small business” seem interchangeable enough – startups often start out small, after all – except they’re not.

And the differences have major implications for the best approach to helping San Diego startups thrive.

Many small business owners start a company with the help of a bank loan or their own money and are immediately focused on sustainability. They hire a handful of employees and want to quickly be viable enough to pay their bills.

Startups tend to follow a different path. They start small but they’re bent on explosive growth. An entrepreneur has an idea she hopes will make a massive impact, seeks out multiple investors and potentially, millions of dollars in profits. The payoff may be years away. For most, it never comes.

“When the startup is in that small phase they’re still not structured or acting like or financed like a small business,” said Brant Cooper, an Encinitas-based startup connoisseur who co-wrote the New York Times bestseller “The Lean Entrepreneur.”

Their eye is on an eventual stock market launch instead of simply staying local like most small businesses.

Still, misunderstandings abound. Even publications that are presumably experts on business can amplify the confusion.

Take a March Forbes ranking. San Diego ranked No. 1 on the magazine’s list of best places to launch a startup. The metrics behind that ranking – and the article itself – only referred to small businesses, though. San Diego boosters who touted the first-place finish described the city as the best place to open a startup or a small business. Or both.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer used the terms interchangeably in a press release:

“It’s no secret to San Diego’s entrepreneurs and startup community that San Diego is a great place to start a business. This is just a reminder that we need to continue to foster a fertile environment for small businesses to grow.”

But a fertile environment for small businesses isn’t necessarily a fertile environment for startups.

Startups have a host of concerns that don’t match most small businesses’ needs. They start with an innovative idea and may want office space or guidance from others as they develop it. They need outside capital, a concept that many startup founders have said is a particular challenge here.

Most local government programs aren’t geared toward helping them get these things.

Cities including San Diego have long catered their loan programs, seminars and other offerings toward small businesses.  There are also industry groups that can offer advice to small businesses.

Then there’s the issue of speed. Businesses often bemoan waiting games when it comes to government but startups are intent on growing at a much swifter clip than most companies.

So many small business programs that might be helpful to startups just don’t move fast enough, startup evangelist and consultant Gabriela Dow said.

Startups burn through cash quickly and may need funding or additional office space in an instant. Government entities generally can’t offer that.

“A lot of the programs take too long and the startups just can’t wait that long,” Dow said.

They can work sometimes.

Carlsbad has touted early success with its Bio, Tech and Beyond incubator, a city-owned building outfitted with lab equipment and machinery that’s hosting local startups.

And in 2008, Barrio Logan startup New Leaf Biofuel received a $590,000 loan from the San Diego Regional Revolving Loan Fund, which is supported by funds from the federal government as well as San Diego and Chula Vista.

Deputy Chief Operating Officer David Graham, who oversees San Diego’s economic development department, argued the city has more to offer startups than entrepreneurs realize.

“In many cases, these folks never engaged with the city and never realized there would be something we could help with,” he said.

Much of the city’s startup work thus far has focused on collaboration with other groups. For example, it’s offered grant funding to a few, including EvoNexus, an incubator that offers free rent space for young startups.

Graham said Faulconer wants to step up those efforts. His administration signed onto a White House-promoted Mayors Makers Challenge and is organizing a committee to promote manufacturing entrepreneurship. They’re also directly asking the tech startup crowd how they can help.

The No. 1 takeaway from those conversations? Incentives are nice but promotion is more important, at least for now.

A mayor’s office spokesman said Faulconer will soon announce initiatives to spotlight San Diego innovators and help them grow.

Yashar Ahmadpour, CEO of scheduling app startup CrowdClock, is one of the entrepreneurs offering input to the mayor’s office. He’s also one of a handful of CEOs behind localstartups.co, a group that aims to foster greater connectivity and awareness about the local startup scene.

He’s convinced city politicians’ bullhorns could be key.

Greater public awareness of San Diego’s startup scene could not only attract new companies but also discourage talent coming out of UC San Diego and other local universities from bolting to the Bay Area, he said.  It could also mean greater investment in San Diego startups.

Ruprecht von Buttlar, who leads the nonprofit Connect’s Springboard program for science and technology companies, said the latter need is most dire.

“We need to find a way to showcase our technology in a way that makes Bay Area investors look to San Diego for possible investments,” von Buttlar said.

The mayor might help, von Buttlar suggested, by hosting a large-scale innovation trade show to draw attention from out-of-town funders.

He thinks the city should fund a staffer who acts as a go-to for startups, similar to the city’s small business ambassador. That person could help the city strategize and identify which startups merit city investment as well as answer questions about city resources or incentives.

Of course, opinions vary on how much government should wade in. Some startup founders say they’d prefer the city and state government to stay out of their business altogether.

Others like Ahmadpour want city leaders to better understand their unique needs so they can adapt programs, incentives and promotional campaigns to specifically boost local startups. They’ve also rallied behind a proposal to convert the old Central Library into a startup incubator.

And they point to moves in New York and elsewhere to roll out the red carpet for startups.

New York state, for example, kicked off a program that allows startups and more traditional companies to avoid taxes for up to a decade if they settle in certain zones. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee debuted a high-profile entrepreneurship-in-residence program that aims to have city workers and startups team to improve city services.

Up to this point, Ahmadpour said, the city hasn’t necessarily hampered San Diego startups but it also hasn’t tailored its economic development approach to help them.

“They’re not in our way but they also haven’t been making things easier,” Ahmadpour said.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

It's good to see an article that spells out the exact difference between startups and small businesess. Even though all the hype these days goes to startups, most new businesses starting up are simply 'small businesses'.

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GoPro founder Nick Woodman: The fabulous life and career of a surfer-turned-billionaire

GoPro founder Nick Woodman: The fabulous life and career of a surfer-turned-billionaire | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Nicholas Woodman, 38, is a self-made billionaire.

He created Woodman Labs, the maker of GoPro cameras, in 2002. Now the company has more than 500 employees and it generated US$986 million in 2013.

It started trading on public markets on Thursday. It’s currently valued at US$2.6 billion.

Woodman married his college sweetheart and has two children. He’s also an adrenaline junkie.

Here’s the fabulous life and career of Woodman, the surfer-dude-turned-billionaire.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.




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Via Justin Jones
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Fabulous story. Want to be there too? Act, draw up your business plan and start your own company.

Growing too fast? Get some funding.

www.Business-Funding-Insider.com has a lot of ideas.

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4 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Venture Capital

4 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Venture Capital | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Venture capital plays a pivotal role in the startup economy, providing vital funds to high-potential early-stage companies. Not surprisingly, it’s also a constant topic of conversation within the startup community — who’s receiving it, how much they’re getting, and how long it took them to capture the interest of VCs.

During my 19 years of experience as an entrepreneur, I have founded 3 venture-backed companies, and I know firsthand that navigating venture funding can be incredibly confusing. As the founder of Fundable, I talk to startups daily about their approach to investors. I’ve put together answers to some of the most frequently asked questions and topics of discussion amongst our community of founders. If you’re thinking about raising capital, here are a few things to keep in mind before you dive headfirst into the venture funding pool.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.



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Via Ivan Berlocher
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Before thinking about Venture Capital, try to understand what it can do for you. This article explains a few important points.

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Early Stage Valuation - Mark S. Newton

Early Stage Valuation - Mark S. Newton | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Early stage valuation is a critical step for startups. 

Early stage investors care about the market and the team.

There’s really not a lot else to go on (e.g., traction, metrics, business model, LTV, user acquisition costs, etc.) at an early stage. You can talk until you are blue in the face about how defensible the technology that you and another guy hacked together over a weekend is, but no one cares. If you can build it in a weekend, so can someone else. Save your breath and the investor’s time.

To read the full article, click on the image or title.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

There you have it! It's not the big idea, it's 'Execution'.

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Shopping for Startup Capital Outside of Silicon Valley

Shopping for Startup Capital Outside of Silicon Valley | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

While it's still true that the bulk of venture capital dollars go to startups in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, over the past decade a number of other metropolitan areas have begun to make a dent in the tally of investments.  

The San Francisco-Oakland area and San Jose-Sunnyvale area landed the atop a list of the top 20 locations for venture capital investment, with both California regions responsible for generating 40 percent of all the venture capital deals in 2012, according to Atlantic editor Richard Florida.

Rounding out the top 10 were Boston, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Austin, Chicago and Washington, D.C., accounting for 38 percent of all the venture capital dollars invested, just 2 percent behind San Francisco and the Silicon Valley's share.

Yet, in addition to traditional venture capital funding, entrepreneurs can also turn to seed investors to help them fund their companies. Health care, mobile and internet startups claimed nearly 80 percent of angel group dollars in 2013 according to the Halo Report 2013. Of particular interest is the fact that 15 of the top 20 most active seed funds are not based in the Bay Area but are in states in the Northeast (New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut) as well as Western cities like Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Seattle.

Here are six tips for entrepreneurs on the hunt to raise funds for their startups:

To read the full article, click on the image or title.



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Very real information for funding seekers. Take a look.

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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Seeking Startup Capital

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Seeking Startup Capital | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Give your business idea its best chance to grow without risking your personal finances.

You could have an incredible idea for a new product, technology or business, but without capital, it will never be more than just an idea. Unless you have access to a pile of money that you have been saving for a rainy day, you have two options: You can attempt to bootstrap your growth or you can raise capital.

I’m a huge fan of bootstrapping, and it can be a viable option if you are extremely cautious when it comes to expenses, if you have a little seed money and if your business concept will generate cash flow early. 

If bootstrapping isn’t a good fit, then you need startup capital, which can be secured from several sources. While every funding option has pros and cons, there are certain mistakes you need to make sure you avoid when seeking startup capital, like the five outlined below. Read more: click image or title.

 

FREE Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km

Growthink teaches how to FUND, build, grow, and sell a great business: http://bit.ly/2hn5ROb

“Hey Dave!
I bought one of your business planning templates and have been receiving your emails and videos for a few months now…
I just wanted to say thanks for cranking out such amazing work!
You're doing an incredible job, and I know entrepreneurs everywhere are benefiting from it!
Please, keep it up!
Wishing you all the best!”
Colin Pape
President
ShopCity.com, Inc

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Avoid mistakes, be prepared, be warned.

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You Too Can Now Invest in Startups! What Could Go Wrong?

You Too Can Now Invest in Startups! What Could Go Wrong? | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
The SEC has finally approved rules to allow anyone to buy equity in a company–so-called equity crowdfunding. Here’s what you need to know.

You, your mom, or that random guy down your block will all soon be able to join the ranks of startup investors.

The Securities and Exchange Commission voted this past week to approve so-called equity crowdfunding rules for investors, an effort spawned by the passage of the JOBS Act way back in 2012. What that means is that startups or small businesses looking for investors can go through brokers or online platforms to find them—and those investors can now be, well, anyone.

This is a pretty big deal. It marks a shift in the kinds of capital that startups and small businesses can raise. Startups today often turn to venture capitalists, angel investors, bankers, and other accredited investors, but access can require the right connections, which are often hard to come by outside major financial hubs like New York, San Francisco, and Boston.

'Even if you're truly invested in investing in a startup, the odds are against you.'

Now, entrepreneurs can turn to the crowd. And if you’ve part of the crowd that’s always wanted to invest in a startup, you may soon be able to in ways that you couldn’t before. But there are some things you need to know. Since the passage of the JOBS Act, experts have worried about putting safeguards in place to protect unsophisticated investors, as well as protections for startups to minimize fraud. The SEC is hoping that its new rules will address those concerns. Here’s what you need to know. Read more: click image or title.




Learn more about funding, find great funding sources, get a free business plan template, post your funding request for free, and more:

www.Business-Funding-Insider.com



Marc Kneepkens's insight:

A new way for small companies to raise #capital. Not only for #startups but also for any small or medium size company. #Crowdfunding is legal now, but with certain restrictions. Good information in this article, bot for #investors and #entrepreneurs.

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3 Ways to Find the Right Investor for Your Business

3 Ways to Find the Right Investor for Your Business | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Seed funding, angel investors or venture capital? Which one is right for you?

There's a point along every entrepreneur’s path to success where the option is either to acquire capital or watch your company crumble. But there are subtleties to capital that all entrepreneurs should know.

It’s important, for instance, to know that the right kind of funding can have a huge impact on the direction of your company. In a recent survey of small business owners, fully half of the businesses surveyed, with 11 to 50 employees each, listed “cash flow” as their top concern. Twenty-one percent reported a closely related issue, “raising capital/funding,” as their top concern 

These concerns reflect what small business owners everywhere face. Capital is easier to access than it has been in the past, but it is still imperative that owners choose the funding source that will best match their specific needs.

Even billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson has pointed out that an investor’s deep pockets are "not the essential quality that will sustain the relationship and the business in the long term.” So, if you are unfortunate enough to choose the wrong financial partner, your move -- according to Branson and common sense -- will “dim the spirit and enthusiasm of a new enterprise, muffling the spark that prompted you to launch this project." 

That spark, Branson said, is the one that "is most likely to make your venture different from your competitors.'" Here, then, are some tips for recovering that spark and finding the right investor(s). Read more: click image or title.



Discover how to raise capital on your terms, by legally soliciting and selling securities to angel investors in the United States.
Check out…Financial Architect®

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Learn about the straightest and cleanest way to #funding your #startup, do it right from the start and in #compliance with the #SEC. Learn from a #venturecapital company how to...

http://www.business-funding-insider.com/RaisingCapital.html


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Raising Capital with Financial Architect®

Raising Capital with Financial Architect® | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Raising Capital with Financial Architect® turns the tables for Startups and Early Stage companies.

Ask around, what IS the main problem for startups and early stage companies? You’ll find the same answer 99% of the time: IT'S MONEY!

Every startup faces that same major hurdle: Raising capital. Except of course if you’re one of the happy few that DOES get funded, but then again, what are the terms, is it still your company and are you still in control?

WHAT IF... what if you would create, market and sell your own securities? What if you would write your own term sheet? What if you would be able to keep your equity and not dilute your shares? What if you would keep all of your voting rights? What if you would be able to raise ‘substantial amounts of capital’... all by yourself?

But how in the world can you do that? Isn’t that the privilege of Wall Street’s venture capital companies and investment banks?

The answer is very simple. Yes, you can do that. The only problem is knowing how. Read more: click on image or title.




Learn more about funding, find great funding sources, get a free business plan template, post your funding request for free, and more:

www.Business-Funding-Insider.com

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The Do-it-Yourself product created by the Wall Street experts who have done it themselves for decades. Write your own #securities - market them to quality #investors, and be in total #compliance from day one. Never run out of #capital, on the contrary, learn how to raise 'substantial' amounts of #funds. Have the #money available to hire experts and executives and create that quality team.

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The Do-it-Yourself product created by the Wall Street experts who have done it themselves for decades. Write your own #securities - market them to quality #investors, and be in total #compliance from day one. Never run out of #capital, on the contrary, learn how to raise 'substantial' amounts of #funds. Have the #money available to hire experts and executives and create that quality team.

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Lessons From A Study of Perfect Pitch Decks: VCs Spend An Average of 3 Minutes, 44 Seconds On Them

Lessons From A Study of Perfect Pitch Decks: VCs Spend An Average of 3 Minutes, 44 Seconds On Them | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

DocSend, a startup that provides people with a secure and private way of sharing files like offer letters or legal agreements, studied more than 200 pitchdecks to figure out the right way to graduate from bootstrapped to seed-funded, or from angels to a Series A.

They partnered with Harvard Business School professor Tom Eisenmann to look at companies that had raised $360 million in total.

What did they find? You can see the whole study here.

Anyway, they discovered that companies needed an average of 40 investor meetings and took a little over 12 weeks to close a round. Investors don’t look at pitch decks for very long — just an average of 3 minutes and 44 seconds. Read more: click title or image.




Need funding?

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Find out how long it takes to get funded, and what matters most. Great sets of infographs and data.

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Richard Branson on How to Raise Money When You're Just Starting Out

Richard Branson on How to Raise Money When You're Just Starting Out | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
There are other options besides big time investors.


Editor's Note: Entrepreneur Richard Branson regularly shares his business experience and advice with readers. Ask him a question and your query might be the inspiration for a future column.

Q.: G’day Richard. I am a young engineering student with little to no practical experience as an entrepreneur. I think I’ve got a great idea, a ready and capable team, but have little money to pursue commercializing my novel product. I fear that potential investors will not take me seriously because of my age (21) and inexperience. How can I convince seasoned investors to believe in my team and invest in my idea? -- Jordan Gruber, Australia

My friends and I came up with the name “Virgin” one day when we were 15 years old, sitting around in a basement. I was keen on the name “Slipped Disc” for our new music venture, but then one of my friends pointed out that when it came to business, “we’re all virgins; why don’t we call it that?” In our case, inexperience proved to be a huge asset -- if we’d gone with the safer option, I’m not sure that many people would be working out at Slipped Disc Health Clubs or banking at Slipped Disc Money!

Innovation and entrepreneurship thrive on the energy of people who are dipping their toes into the water for the first time. Budding entrepreneurs with fresh outlooks have the freedom to think quite differently, which is tremendously exciting to potential collaborators. However, as you’re finding out, Jordan, translating a new concept into a product can be very daunting.


While you might not yet have the right connections or an “in” with major investors, other people out there do -- experienced businesspeople, in your sector or in others, who were once in your shoes and went on to be successful. These people are potential mentors who can help you on your way.

Mentoring is a subject that is very close to our hearts at Virgin; I myself have benefited from many mentors throughout my life. However, don’t consider mentoring as a quick way to gain useful contacts. A good mentoring relationship is based on more than that -- it’s a way to learn valuable lessons from the mistakes someone else has made.

Additionally, I noticed in your message an emphasis on convincing “seasoned investors” to back your idea. While securing huge sums of money from major business figures might seem like the ideal way to propel a business forward, the reality is that very few ventures win this kind of funding. A better alternative might be an online crowdfunding platform. Websites such as Indiegogo not only have the potential to fund the creation of a prototype to get your business up and running, but they also can result in significant publicity.

Another option is taking out a small business loan. In the U.K. we launched Virgin StartUp, a program that provides loans of up to 25,000 pounds to companies trying to get their ideas off the ground. It is well worth your time to look into similar initiatives in your area, and decide whether a loan is the right step for you. As an added benefit, both crowdfunding and small business loans will mean that you can retain full ownership of your business -- you won’t have to give any equity away to investors.

Here are three steps that can help you discover which approach is best for you:

1. EVALUATE AND RESEARCH.

Always be honest with yourself about your abilities, the work you’ll have to put in to get your company up and running, and the amount of money you’re hoping to raise. Research all the options that are available, and evaluate how they would affect your end goal.

Ask yourself: Is your crowdfunding target realistic? How much of a stake in your business are you willing to give to potential investors?

And if you want to find a mentor who can help give you direction and guidance, make sure you find a suitable one. Find out what they do, whether they’ve mentored others before and which sectors they are interested in.

2. GET ON PEOPLE’S RADAR.

Attend industry events such as seminars and conferences. Talk to as many people as possible, and do not immediately launch into a pitch of your product. Be sure to listen and learn from what people have to say.

Networking doesn’t stop at face-to-face contact, either; interact on social media, join LinkedIn groups and keep the relationships going online. When you do approach potential mentors or investors, or if you launch a crowdfunding campaign, you’ll have a degree of visibility.

In fact, the more proactive you are in building your profile, the more likely it is that potential investors will feel confident enough to put their faith in you -- and their money in your company. Remember that the more relationships you build, the better the chances that your network will put you in touch with the people who can help your business.

3. KEEP AN OPEN MIND.

Remember to be flexible. While winning investment might look like the best option now, don’t discount any other opportunities that come your way. For example, crowdfunding might not have the prestige of an investment from a big-time entrepreneur, but it will connect you directly with future customers, and you will have more control over the process.

Keeping an open mind is especially important when it comes to mentoring. Don’t see mentorship as a quick fix for problems, and do not brush off advice. Consider your connection with a mentor as a long-lasting business relationship that can teach you lessons and reduce the potential for failure. But also remember that, as with anything else, you’ll get out of mentoring what you put in.

Making sure that your potential business is a success is not contingent upon gaining a large investment. Many successful companies -- including Virgin -- started with modest funds. Right now, investors might seem like they are the gatekeepers between you and your dream, but the one person who can make your business succeed is not an investor, or even a mentor. It is you.

Good luck!


Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km



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Slipped Disc? Always think very carefully about your company name.

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25 Reasons I Will Not Invest in Your Startup

25 Reasons I Will Not Invest in Your Startup | Pitch it! | Scoop.it



What’s the point in losing money on purpose? Here are some telltale clues that your business is not a sound proposition.

Every investor wants to bet on a winning horse. I mean what’s the point in losing money on purpose? But that’s the risk taken on a gamble. And the same can be said about investing in startups.

Over the past month I’ve been putting together pitch decks for my next startup, a free web-hosting company. This got me thinking about the hundreds of startup founders who have approached me and some of the things they did that really ticked me off. (I've invested in 16 different startups over the past four to five years.)

No matter what stage your startup is in, you’re probably going to need some investment dollars. So to save everyone a lot of time, here are 25 reasons I personally would not invest in a startup. Review and address these points for smoother sailing when trying to secure funding from an investor like me and others:


1. Proof of your potential success is missing.

There's no evidence that there's interest in your startup or that it has some traction. Have you sold anything yet? Have you run a successful Kickstarter campaign? Have you launched a startup before? Passing those tests would prove to me that you have what it takes to get this startup off the ground.

Show me that your business is something worth my putting my hard-earned cash into and that this investment will work hard for me as your company starts to have success. 


2. I don’t trust you.

I stalk every company that I personally invest in. I typically invest in people. You could walk into my office and pitch me one heck of a product. Yet I’m not sold on you as a person, so forget about my investing in your company. 

If I can’t trust your character, judgment or leadership skills, then let’s not waste each other’s time.    


3. You have an inexperienced team.

Members of your team seem to lack the experience needed to operate a startup. 

Let’s say that I like you and your idea but not your team. Don’t expect an investment from me. I need to be sure that members of your team have the qualifications and discipline to complete tasks, meet deadlines and follow through on objectives. 


4. Members of your team don’t work well together.

The co-founders or team members of your startup are constantly bickering. So I’m going to become uneasy about your startup. I don’t want to risk an investment in a setup if the colleagues can’t get along. Does everyone get along on your team? 


5. You're keeping things from me.

You're keeping every piece of information from me. I’m not asking you to reveal every little secret regarding your startup. But if I’m investing in your company, I have to at least know the basics of what makes your startup tick.

Investors want to know everything about your startup. Don’t worry: I won't steal your idea. I'm too busy.


6. You don’t have a business model or plan.

You have failed to tell me how and where you expect to take your startup in the next couple of years, though you indicated that there’s interest in your product, That’s why creating a business plan is such an important piece of the puzzle.

If I’m not impressed with your business plan, then I won't invest in your startup.


Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km



7. Evidence that the startup will earn money is scant.

There are no preorders or not many signups for your product or service. So I won't be interested in your company. If you can’t prove that people are willing to pay for your service, then why should I, as an investor, give you money? 


8. I don't believe you can build your product.

A great idea is one thing. Making it a reality is another. You haven't convinced me that your product can actually function. I personally need to see some sort of working prototype. I'd like to also see a few customers using your product.


9. Your company is not the first to enter the market or unique.

I typically don’t invest in startups that are not trying to create something new or that have not come up with a different business model. You must have something different or unique beyond what the competition has. Perhaps create a new idea from an old business model.  

 

10. The founder or CEO is uncoachable.

You're not willing to listen to advice or suggestions and become defensive when I criticize an element of your business. Thus I can’t work with you.

One time when several founders came to pitch me, I made one suggestion and they became offended. Some even went so far as to blog that I didn’t know anything. Their company is out of business now. 


11. Your startup costs too much.

You may think your new company is worth $10 million. But I believe that it’s worth only one-tenth of that.

Figuring out the value of your startup can be a challenge. The value should be based on past accomplishments and the company's potential. If I feel that a startup is being assessed at a value that's too expensive, I’m going to look for another investment opportunity.


12. You handle rejection poorly.

You have come across like those entrepreneurs who gripe and moan about how unfair life is. Sure you'll be rejected by investors. And that’s part of the process. But handle that rejection properly.

Identify what went wrong and make the proper adjustments. What happens after the pitch and rejection says a lot about an entrepreneur. Investors are watching, even after they’ve said no.


13. You cold-called me.

You sent your plan to every angel investor or venture capitalist for whom you could find contact information. Your request is just going to be tossed into the trash. Instead approach investors through referrals or recommendations from people they trust and who can vouch for you.

I only invest in startups when the founders are referred to me or they go above and beyond the call of duty to get my attention. 


14. I’m not the right investor.  

Your company is not operating in my area of expertise. Just like a doctor might have a specialty, so do investors. Do some research ahead of time and locate the investors who are involved in your field.  


15. You don’t focus.

You're trying to launch every single product idea that you have. Instead stay on track and focus on creating the best product that you can release. 

You’re not going to please every customer. But you do have to please the right customers or the situation will come back to burn you -- perhaps in an online mention.


16. You’re way too early for my money.

You wanted to develop an idea that could revolutionize your business niche. But your concept is too far out. I’m going to stay away until there’s been more research, your protect has traction with customers or other investors show interest. Investors typically want to stick with proven technology and industries. 


17. Your company's technology is already forgotten.

Honestly, in the past six months I've received pitches concerning VHS tapes. Business trends, especially in the technology, move extremely fast. Why should I risk my money supporting a startup that makes VHS tapes more efficient, even if in 2012 roughly 13 million blank cassettes and VHS tapes were sold in America? 


18. You’re too slow to launch a product.

Your company is moving too slowly. Whether it’s because you lack confidence or are a perfectionist, the longer it takes to launch your product, the longer it takes for me to see a return. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with releasing a version 1.0 and making the appropriate adjustments at time goes on.


19. You lack a marketing strategy.

Your startup is poised to begin selling a product but lacks a plan for how to boost sales and gain a competitive advantage. I, along with thousands of other investors, can tear your startup apart in seconds. Have you set marketing goals? How will you promote your product? These are crucial marketing questions that need to be addressed before you come knocking on my door. 


20. What problem were you trying to solve again?

When you founded your startup, you did it with the intention of solving a problem. But you, the entrepreneur, have shifted your focus from contemplating an idea to running an actual business, you have lost sight of the original problem. I need to confirm that you’re still addressing a problem that exists and your solution is feasible,


21. You don't understand the industry.

As an entrepreneur, you don't seem to be familiar with the business sector involved so I'm not interested in investing in your startup. If you had experience in a related area, that would at least inform me that you have some knowledge relevant to potential customers or an inkling about how to enhance the industry.


Break down the actual numbers that concern your particular niche of the industry and know them solid. If you don’t have those figures, I’ll assume the worst or even more awful, I’ll come up with my own calculations.


22. You don't understand the word "lean."

You're spending money on things like branded hats, key chains or coffee mugs. Why would I want to invest your startup? An investment is supposed to go a long way toward getting a product ready for launch. That means not spending a ton of money on swag. A couple of T-shirts for promotional purposes is fine, but don’t go on a spending spree.


Also, don’t be paying yourself a big fat salary just because you’re the boss. A study by Compass indicated that 66 percent of Silicon Valley startup founders using its benchmarking tool gave themselves salaries lower than $75,000. The average around the world is $32,000 to $72,000, according to Compass. How much are you paying yourself? 


23. You're not concerned about tomorrow.

Your startup seems to be based only on a current trend. You can’t expect a startup to have longevity this way. I know that we can’t predict the future, but I want to invest in startups whose owners are thinking about the future, not just contemporary trends. 


24. There aren't any other investors.

I'm not finding evidence that others have invested in your business, even a couple of thousand dollars. Unless I’m a fervent believer in your startup, I need to see interest from other investors. The presence of other investments gives me an indication that someone else sees potential in your startup and that other people are support your vision. Having a couple of investors is good as they will help promote your business.


25. You’re oblivious.

Many of above issues apply to you and you haven't realized it. That's a serious problem. I can’t stand dealing with people who can't see flaws and are clueless about trying to overcome them. Remember, no one is perfect. Accept your weaknesses and work on correcting them. 


Let these reasons that I won’t invest in certain startups serve as tips for every startup founder to remember when pitching an investor. 


What other tips would you give entrepreneurs who are pitching startups?  




Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km







Via THE OFFICIAL ANDREASCY
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

What a great list. Pin this on your refrigerator, use it before pitching your startup. Once you think you're ready, check it.

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THE OFFICIAL ANDREASCY's curator insight, September 16, 2014 5:32 AM

Review and address these points for smoother sailing when trying to secure funding from an investor.

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Richard Branson on Finding Funding

Richard Branson on Finding Funding | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Editor's Note: Entrepreneur Richard Branson regularly shares his business experience and advice with readers. Ask him a question and your query might be the inspiration for a future column.

Q: I am a social entrepreneur, striving to develop a business in Africa that makes a difference, but my struggle is the same as that of millions of others: finding funding. I come from Denmark, and potential investors always tell me, “The idea is great, but please prove that your business model works first, and then come back.” Should I look abroad for funding instead? -- Christian Høegh-Guldberg Hoff, Nairobi, Kenya

More and more often I hear from people like you, who are in our field for the right reasons. It’s very encouraging to see enterprising social entrepreneurs prove that they want to help people and the planet by doing good business.

It can sometimes be more difficult for social entrepreneurs to secure funding than for those proposing to run purely commercial, profit-driven enterprises. Getting your message across to potential investors can be particularly challenging, since they may assume that because you intend to solve a problem or help people, you must be adopting the nonprofit model.

Your local community is often the best place to start when looking for funding opportunities, but if you can’t find anyone suitable to work with, the logical next step is to broaden your search to the national or even international level. And if you do have the option of bringing in foreign investors, this may be to your advantage in the long run. Your business could gain some important contacts, while their outsider perspectives on your business may offer some interesting insights. When you’re ready to expand the business internationally, the process will be a lot easier if you have contacts already in place.

There are many organizations aside from venture capital funds or banks that socially responsible startups can try in their search for funding. Virgin has been involved in the Dutch Postcode Lottery for years, and last year I chaired its sustainable competition jury, which provides a lot of funding to green businesses. Included in the prize are opportunities to work with a mentor, which are just as important as cash. On a similar theme, I was also on the jury for the $4 million Zayed Future Energy Prize, based in the United Arab Emirates, which encourages entrepreneurs to find innovative solutions “that will meet the challenges of climate change, energy security and the environment.”

Another option might be the Carbon War Room, which Virgin Unite incubated and which helps to accelerate businesses that aim to reduce carbon emissions and advance the low-carbon economy. While the Carbon War Room cannot directly fund businesses, working with them enables entrepreneurs like you to bring their ideas to thought leaders, industry experts and many more potential investors.

Whatever your business idea, if you look long and hard enough, more often than not you’ll be able to find someone with a shared vision who will want to help you on your way. Online communities and forums about issues in your sector can help you to contact those who will be interested in what you’re doing. Such people are all potential investors.

Another great way to generate excitement about your idea and raise funds is through crowdfunding, an option many startups are choosing. Thanks to websites like Kickstarter and EquityNet, it’s now easier than ever before to drum up interest around your new idea or innovation and find small loans and pledges that supply the money you need to take things forward.

There are other benefits to taking the crowdfunding route. Pitching an idea to a room full of investors can be tricky; while preparing a pitch for an online forum is not easy, it does require a different set of skills -- perhaps this is an area where you and your business idea shine. Gaining momentum is also very important: The crowdfunding process may create a buzz about your business as the money begins to roll in. If things go well, you could soon find people from all over the world hoping to buy your product or service --so make sure you’re ready to provide it.

Entrepreneurship isn’t just about selling things -- it’s also about finding ways to make a difference in people’s lives. Setting up a company explicitly to bring about positive change may be challenging, but keep in mind that enterprises that survive and thrive in the long run are ones that have won the trust and respect of their communities. If you build your mission into your business model, it’s likely you’ll lay the foundation for success. Good luck!.



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What businesses should consider with equity crowdfunding

What businesses should consider with equity crowdfunding | Pitch it! | Scoop.it


Crowdfunding websites raised more than $5 billion in 2013. That said, there are some complications with crowdfunding that businesses should consider.

When it comes to getting funding for your latest business venture, crowdfunding may seem like a no-brainer. Crowdfunding websites raised more than $5 billion in 2013, and to get a piece of that wealth, all you have to do is set up an online profile and watch the dollars roll, right? Not so fast. While crowdfunding can be a viable way for entrepreneurs to raise capital, it’s more complicated than many people realize, and it might not be right for every business.

Equity crowdfunding could help some entrepreneurs, but it comes with rules and costs, and it won’t be appropriate for every business. A few things to keep in mind:
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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, July 13, 2014 7:46 AM

Equity crowdfunding is a whole different deal than 'rewards' or charity crowdfunding. The rules are tight and expensive. Take a look at this article, it summarizes the situation.

Kishor Kafle's curator insight, July 29, 2014 11:30 AM

dear sir

 I am the Broker legal representative of Fernando Valle Pons the Principal of the HOLDING project... please read below
 My name is Fernando Valle Pons, (Nando Pons) Spanish nationality with actual residence in Eastbourne, England. (Just moved from Guangzhou, China where I spent my last 10 years). During my entire professional life I have enjoyed the freedom to work "my way" and develop the business model needed for great success at any given time and the results have been outstanding overpass sing not only sales budget but expectations. Today after having lots of successes under my belt, I have a MEGA project and as always I have designed the business model in order that is easy for everybody to join and have a JOB and a BUSINESS and never look back. The project needs 100 million Euros funding. (Euros due that the $US Dollars has devaluation and I cannot be short of budget) The businesses will have a lot of income and will fold every month during first 3 years (producing over $6 billion US Dollars profits ) (For such reason, I may consider to take 50 million Euros funding... the difference, we will build our own Intelligent premises with few months delay upon generating income from shares sells) therefore I can take as a LOAN or as a JOINT VENTURE or as PARTNERSHIP with Investor/s. The project is: 1. An Offshore main Company as a HOLDING and owner of all other companies. 2. An Offshore BANK as a payments and collections solutions to our own ACR (Affiliates Clients Referrals) + High Yield investment programs (PPP's etc.) 3. An Import / Export TRADE company in China mainland as the supplier of daily consumable products working for small profit just to maintain infrastructure in China and with a strategy to repatriate all investment (intelligent premises, inventories etc.) out of China  mainland. 4. A total of 30 E-commerce online B2C companies that are sold to the ACR as their own investment (they agree according to the research and the Affiliate program and willing to invest) I become my own competitor before anyone tries to copy and paste my own business model (did the same in 1995/6 with great success 5. In a later stage a Private Club 6. An a Gaming Company. The only Gaming Company that does not use debit / credit cards therefore has NO CHARGES BACK (Only talented people can design such Gaming business with ZERO RISK).  The people who will run such MEGA project: CHESS88 team, ITWEB team, PID team, ADMIN two teams. As you can see, I have surrounded myself with people that pose talent attitudes like me. 1.             This HOLDING businesses is feasible due my (Nando) talents, skills, experience, contacts in the Chinese Government and because I have done a massive Market Research, conducted interviews, surveys, studied the unemploymentph     phenomena, l learned how to profit from the social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn etc. In the next 5 years I, Nando, want to accomplish:

ü         30 million people network in my businesses in the next 5 years

ü         $8 billion US Dollars profits in 3 years

ü         Ensure earnings of $2 Billion US Dollars per year every year and growing

A   And spend my wealth by building a FOUNDATION (NGO) and dedicate to Children's programs to provide Food, Shelter, Health, Scholarship, etc.

Any interested INVESTOR/S. please send me your funding proposal and PLEASE if your proposal includes any up front FEE or sort of EXPENSES before providing the funding, SAVE YOUR TIME. (Any Bond insurance or any other sort of legal expense once I have the funding).
Meanwhile I will send you a set of files as Summary and Business Strategic Plan therefore you get to know who the teams are, the ACR's and how the businesses provide MILLIONS OF JOBS AND WEALTH TO ALL ASSOCIATES. You will also find copy of my (Nando) Resume CV and a draft of PARTNER AGREEMENT with my best offering as PARTNER AHHHH! for the ones that ask how much SKIN I have in the project, the answer is very simple $5 million me and my CHESS88 team have spent in Market Research, Surveys, Contacts, (including politicians from local Government) and test all Teams that will join. Kind Regards Nando Pons, CEO & Consultantchess88@chess88.comSkype: tradebiz Guangzhou, Chinawww.chess88.com
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7 Tips To Make a Kickass Elevator Pitch !

7 Tips To Make a Kickass Elevator Pitch ! | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Everything Is Damn Simple, Until You Make It Complicated.
Sometimes it is a completely different feeling when you are sitting across the table as a mentor, judge or with a group of investors to judge some elevator pitches of hopeful startups.

It is however an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT ball game when you have to pitch it yourself (as a startup), seriously and if a startup has to ever get this right he or she has to think smart, learn from the people who have done it and keep it simple and easy.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

As one of the experts pointed out in the discussion "The pitch is not about cramming your whole business model into two lines. It's about giving just a peek to make the listener curious to ask more about it."

Excellent read, get ready for your pitch!

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A Foolproof Guide to Raising Capital for Startups

A Foolproof Guide to Raising Capital for Startups | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Pass these nine tests and investors will beat a path to your door. Along the way you'll figure out if your firm has a great CEO.

This past week I started teaching a course about strategy and the CEO to 40 MBA students at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. One of our topics was the CEO's role in creating shareholder value.

We tackled the question for startups as well as public companies. We discussed the nine tests that entrepreneurs must pass in order to get a big check from a venture capitalist. (I came up with these criteria after interviewing startup investors for my book Hungry Start-Up Strategy.)

These tests are used by investors to decide two broad questions: Is the venture targeting a market that's now small but expected to get big fast? Is the entrepreneur a great CEO?

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Test #1: Does your startup deliver so much benefit to customers that many of them would be willing to pay you more than it costs to produce and deliver the product?

and more great stuff in this article.


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Don't Make These 10 Startup Mistakes

Don't Make These 10 Startup Mistakes | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Due to entrepreneurs' lack of experience, many startups end up in failure. Here's how to avoid disaster.

Starting a business is difficult. Launching a startup is even more challenging. Aside from facing the challenge of attempting to build a company from the ground up, many entrepreneurs have little prior experience in the business world. Even when they have an incredibly awesome idea, complex problems arise, such as managing the young enterprise, handling finances and hiring employees on a budget.

Due to a lack of experience, many startups endure the misfortune of failure -- if they launch at all. Be sure to not add to their tales of disaster. Here are 10 startup mistakes to avoid at all cost:

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Via Luis Costa
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Common sense, but definitely worth reading.

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