How to Get VC Funding
Before you begin the process of getting VC funding for your startup, it’s important to understand how the funding process works.
In its most basic sense, when you apply for venture capital funds, you’re exchanging upfront startup capital to grow your business with an ownership/equity stake of your company.
VC firms and investors are hoping your startup takes off and rewards them with asymmetric positive returns further down the road, which is why they’re willing to risk their hard-earned capital on your venture. To make the risk-reward worth it, you’ll often be required to give up a significant portion of your business in the form of equity.
Once your company is ready to pursue VC financing (you should have a founding team in place, an idea for a minimum viable product, and ideally some customers), you can approach VCs and begin asking for investments.
This process often requires you and your team to put together a pitch deck and persuasive presentation that shows how your startup will generate revenue and become profitable in the future.
What Is Venture Capital?
Venture capital is a coveted business financing method that is frequently sought out by entrepreneurs worldwide. Even though the process of obtaining VC funding for your startup may be complex and lengthy, it allows you to see your vision through from start to finish and begin building the startup of your dreams.
In the next section, we’ll discuss several pros and cons to venture capital funding. While acquiring VC funds is tremendously helpful to startups, there are also a few downsides founders should consider.
Venture Capital Pros
- Networking and connections. Venture capitalists often have excellent connections in their respective industries and will be able to help you get in touch with stakeholders and knowledgeable individuals that can help your business grow.
- Extensive business expertise. In addition to the financial backing VCs provide, they can also be a valuable source of business knowledge, providing guidance for your fledgling startup. Learning from these experienced business mentors is another perk that comes with acquiring VC financing.
- Possess useful resources and staff. When it comes to critical business areas such as tax, legal, and finance, your VC partners may be able to help you by giving your startup access to their professional teams. Having access to some of the best legal and tax professionals in your industry can be invaluable.
Venture Capital Cons
- Losing full control of your startup. When you obtain venture capital financing, you’ll be giving up an equity stake in your business and will no longer be fully in control of your company. Instead of making every decision yourself, you’ll be required to consult with your VC partners and accept/act on their advice.
- Acquiring VC funding can be distracting. The venture capital funding process can be distracting and time-consuming for founders, keeping them from working on key revenue-generating activities in their business.
- Funding can be scarce and difficult to obtain. Finding VC investors isn’t an easy process, and persuading these investors to give you a significant amount of financing requires complete confidence in your vision and business goals.
Learn the basics of raising venture capital with this episode of the Startup Savants podcast featuring Jules Miller of Mindset Ventures.
How Do You Secure Venture Capital Financing?
Securing venture capital financing for your startup isn’t an easy process, but it is well worth it in the end, as it allows you to build up and grow your company even if you don’t personally have the funds to do so.
The first step of the process is to understand how venture capital works since you must know the process inside and out before obtaining VC funding. After you understand the VC process, determine if your business needs VC financing, and then proceed to organize your pitch decks and presentations. Once you’re ready to present, you can begin to research VC firms and look for ways you can stand out among the competition.
Getting venture capital funding isn’t easy and often requires a fair amount of effort on the part of startup founders, so make sure you aren’t going into this process without understanding the amount of work that may be required.
Let’s discuss several steps your startup can take to get on the path to securing VC funding and building confidence in your startup that venture capitalists can see.
1. Know How Venture Capital Works
The first step towards obtaining venture capital funding involves knowing how venture capital works and what you’ll be giving up in exchange for startup capital. For most small businesses and startups, this process requires you to give up a percentage equity stake in your company in exchange for the VC funds investors provide. Whenever you begin to turn a profit, you’ll be required to pay a distribution to your investors in the percentage agreed upon when you took on VC funding.
2. Determine if Venture Capital Funding Is Right for Your Startup
Venture capital funding isn’t right for every startup and largely depends on the goals and personality of the founder. If you’d like to maintain full control over everything you do in your business, then getting VC funding may not be the best choice. Similarly, if you are already profitable and don’t need VC funds in order to grow your business, you may consider finding a mentor instead.
3. Organize Required Documents and Prepare Your Pitch
When you’re ready to begin the VC pitching and presentation process, get together with your team and organize all of the documentation in preparation for showing it to your potential investors. Venture capitalists will often want to see a balance sheet and profit/loss statements for your company in order to determine a fair valuation and the amount they’re willing to invest.
4. Research Venture Capital Firms
Research venture capital firms and understand which investors are most likely to invest in your industry and type of startup. Some VC firms specialize in certain types of businesses and only invest in what they know. Others are more flexible and invest in a wide range of startups in their VC portfolio.
One of the best ways you can make your pitch stand out from the crowd is to ensure that you know what each VC is looking for and what they value most in founders. While doing your presentation and pitches, be sure to show your potential investors that your startup has and give them a return on their investment in the future.