Well the answer is the person who is now an employer is having a tint of luck with some sourcing of funds. In both the cases hard work and perspirations are common though. Few uses it well with people management skills and gets success, few miss-utilize it by taking people for granted. So there are two variables a business minded person deals with funds and people. If people management skill we consider, both are having them equal, then the major difference which makes one an employee and other an employer is the requisite funds to run a business or even launch a new business. Both are taking risks. Now if we consider a case one has got tremendous people management skills but not having funds, can he be a business man? I guess, even if he tries, without having the source of solid funding he would fail eventually, where as a person who has not having that caliber to handle people, but having strong financial back-up, he can still hire a manager to manage the people and run the business.
So it’s all about money honey!!....”Funding” is the only variable which makes difference. This I’m saying from my experiences so far. Having very good business mind and ideas, I had seen many of my friends unable to jump start a business, at the same time some failed due to regular cash flow pressure. Whereas, seen also the other side of the coin, who don’t have any business acumen, just became a business man, due to the knowledge of the source of funding. Well…..we all know about Sabeer Bhatia and his hotmail acquisition by Microsoft. But very few are aware even Sabeer got his first seed stage funding from a Venture Capital named DFJ, which ultimately made him big. Here we’re only going to discuss about the private funding, not bank or other instrumental funding.
I started working in this aspect last few weeks back and started interacting with different VC's and Angel Funds in my network, and would like to share the knowledge with my readers.
Before even we think to start searching for a VC we need to be well prepared about few things e.g. you have to have a comprehensive business plan in place, with a complete executive summary, a summary of the proposal, a break down of the enterprise dynamics and the funding captures that will play within each silo of the enterprise, and its length of funding capture, that will allow the business to come to fruition. Very few VC’s fund the management consulting firms though, unless and until they’ve got some unique product or services.
These are minimalist, depending on the offering, you may be also required to even further break down of details ... not the least of which be sure that everything will be the risk analyzed and the competition that may or may-not already exist against your project / product / or offering. All what you are reading is correct when you are dealing with Conventional Banks or Financing and even the requisites could be stricter with due diligences etc. At the end of the road you have to spent a lot of money and invest time behind it. We’ll be only discussing here about the private non-institutional funding here.
There’re few angel funding available who can provide business loans successfully within 35 days and could be as fast as couple of weeks, in the terms of 5/10/15 years, no collateral, no lock out, interest only, non recourse funding. These are direct business loans who’re only interested for long term interests other than that they also evaluate the business risks. They don’t give business loans to all. They make a kind of escrow account arrangements where, you submit a refundable percentage of the total money transactions first, once they’re through and convinced with you project and agreed and signed the agreements. Then they start paying the amount in a staggered manner through that account and also they keep checking the interest receivables. At the end of the deal your advance is also returned. They never go for the equity of the business, but VC’s go for the equity.
Business plans are quite often do not match looking on a realistic approach of declining world economies. One fact of a question that has launched many books -- "once I'm ready to present, where can I find the professional investor?" It had also suggested to go for the professionals who prepare the business plans. If you engage specialists they charge 3-4% of the total funding, sometimes they charge in advance. I found one renowned professor from Stanford, who takes the money in advance and there’s no guaranty of funding. Very funny, I asked him a question, if a person can give you money in advance and engage with no guaranty of funds, then why he requires to find funding? Rather he would prefer to invest that money in his owned business.
Once you've selected your targets, you need to determine that you are in their portfolio area without competing with any of their investments. You will also be able to discover which Partner is on the Board of these investments, as this Partner now is a prime target. Next you find the name of the CEO, and contact information for the CEO or company. Use different networks to reach him or her, to find out what it is like working with their investor, and hopefully learn the story of their funding.
If you are primarily the CTO, then consider either bringing on a CEO or at least a (E)VP of Corporate or Business Development. VC’s gives heavy weighting on the management profiles and the credibility of the members in the board. If your personal goal is to become a CEO, then you need a mentor for the process. This again can be an EVP, or it may be a member of your Board of Advisors working on a contract basis with your company with stock or options as their reward. (Make sure to cut a deal with them after the funds get released they get what you’ve negotiated to pay them).
This is a very tech-centric answer. But, it works for all kinds of startups in most industry segments, since there are VCs that focus on just about any business area. You just need to phrase the idea and the big problem that you are trying to solve with the right terminologies so that it meets the VC's investment area. For example, an agriculture company may be agribusiness, bioengineering or biotechnology, a distribution play, or a "Green" company that may be an opportunity in trading on the carbon-cap market.
While I'm looking for the right company to join, I did many consulting in different areas. Securing right funding for a needy company might be another interesting area on which I would love to work in future. The most important piece of advice I can give you about this process to remember that, you need to have your ducks in a row to get past the initial introduction. Anyone who tells you that they can "find" you capital, without being a direct investor, who has not examined your business plan in detail nor having performed any due diligence on your business assumptions, is likely going to waste your time and money. A good consultant will take you through the process of getting ready for the presentation through management consulting, not just presentation drafting. Yu may also check out The Indus Entrepreneurs at www.tie.org . This organization was founded in the Silicon Valley, but now has branches world wide, including