Checklist for Raising Startup Capital
Raising capital for the first time can seem daunting. If no one on your founding team has done it before, you’re bound to make mistakes. The only thing you can do to calm your nerves and feel more confident is get as prepared as possible. Luckily, most VC’s and angels have similar needs when it comes to the information they want to see before making an investment.
Here is a list of items we like to see at the Tandon Group before we consider investing in a company. While some startups will have more concrete information for each item on this checklist, you simply need to do your best to flush out your company’s position on each of these items:
- Company Overview: Your overview should be an overarching description of your entire business. It’s usually best to complete this part of your preparation after you’ve gone over the rest of this checklist. The company overview will be a shortened version of the main points contained here.
- Physical Location: Where is your company located? How many locations do you have? Where do you plan to open new locations? Is your team all “under one roof” or remotely based? Basically, spell out where and how your company is operating.
- Founding Team: Most investors are looking to invest in a team of founders. While this isn’t a definitive rule, it’s usually a best practice to find someone who has complementary skills to your own. If you’re a coder or an engineer, you should find a business savvy co-founder (or vice versa).
- Product Demo: At the very minimum, if you’re not a seasoned entrepreneur with past successes, you need to have something to show an investor. It doesn’t have to be as complicated as your final product but it needs to capture the essence of what you’re trying to do. Ideally, it proves your concept viable.
- Addressable Market: You don’t want to go into an investment meeting saying that your addressable market is the entire world. You need to have a specific target audience, at least for your initial marketing efforts. Who is most likely to use your service? What’s their age, gender, interest, demographics, etc?
- Problem/Solution: This goes hand-in-hand with your addressable market. Now that you know who you’re serving, what specific problem, need, or desire are you going to solve? The number one mistake we see entrepreneurs make is they create a product or service that no one actually needs or wants.
- Business Model: How are you going to make money? You can start a business and not immediately monetize your user base but, eventually, you’re going to need a way to make it sustainable. Your product demo should align with your business model to show how you’re going to generate revenues and profits.
- Competition: There’s a common saying, “business is cut-throat.” Your competitors are trying to steal your customers, take away your market share, and put you out of business. It’s in your company’s best interest to know exactly who all of your competitors are, where they operate, and how they operate.
- Financials/Projections: You should always be able to show where you’ve spent every dollar and where you generated every cent of revenue from the beginning of your company’s existence. It’s simply bad accounting if you don’t have records of all the money you’ve spent and made so far.
- Legal Information: How is your company legally formed? Is it an LLC, corporation, partnership or some other legal business entity? In most cases, you need to have this already setup before you go to any sort of investor because you’re not even going to be able to open a business bank account without having a company formed.
- Past Funding: If you’ve raised money in the past this is going to be one of the first things investors are going to want to know. What was the last funding round valued at? How much equity was exchanged for what amount of money? What kind of shares and what sort of control do the previous investors have? These are all questions you going to need to make sure you have answers to.
- Future Vision: Where do you envision taking this company? While most companies will need to pivot and change course multiple times during their lifetime, you should always have some sort of vision that you’re aiming to attain. A compelling vision aligns your employees, your investors, and your goals- so that everyone is on the same page.
If you follow the checklist above, your chances of raising capital for your startup will greatly increase. If you’re a startup founder looking to raise capital, Tandon Group wants to meet you. We have over 40+ years of startup experience and have invested in startups from many different sectors.
We’ve had numerous successful exits/acquisitions and would love for your company to be the next one. Reach out to us and we’ll get back to you with more information about setting up a meeting.