Cash is oxygen for startups.
Can you breathe?
Too many tech startups fall behind due to a lack of financial resources.
Competitors move faster.
Do you have enough oxygen to survive the next 12-18 months?
If there isn’t time now, when will there be?
Over 100 years ago, adventure capitalist and explorer Ernest Shackleton placed an ad for team members in a London newspaper.
Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.
Does that remind you of anyone?
You're a visionary. You're ambitious. You're passionate. You've invested time, reputation and relationships to turn your big idea into a reality.
You've already built a prototype, and tested it with customers. You have the nucleus of a talented team working full-time, and you've convinced others to invest their precious time, energy and resources.
Perhaps you've already have taken third-party investment from friends, family or even fools, or maybe you sold stock to professional angel investors or micro venture capital firms.
You want to preserve equity for those who can add the most value long-term.
You're exploring ways of scaling up and you know you won't be able to make the next part of your journey solo.
You need to raise money from third parties.
You need a team.
You need access to knowledge, expertise and networks.
And with your global ambitions, you need your network to extend across national borders.
Most of all, you need cash now – a much larger injection of capital than your venture has ever raised.
You want to make a dent in the world and you think you have a fighting chance.
But here's the truth:
Your current condition is not as great as you're telling people.
You maintain a brave face with your existing investors, your team, and your family. But you are not sleeping well.
You're anxious about competitors with stronger balance sheets and bigger teams.
You're anxious that Amazon or Google or Facebook, might introduce your concept as a free feature.
You're anxious because it's hard to attract new talent, or hold on to your existing team. Good talent is expensive, and it's scarce.
You're anxious about how to enter foreign markets and how to access different pools of capital. You've read about how easy it is violate securities laws, and you have zero interest in going to jail.
You're wondering whether you organized the right kind of entity and in the right jurisdiction. You're worried that you might have sold stock to your friends and family at price that now seems to high or too low.
You wonder whether it might be easier to find the talent and capital you need in another city, or another country.
It seems your world is turning faster and faster. If you fail to hit the next milestone, your venture may go sideways, or even upside down.
You don't want to fail after investing all this time and energy,
Do you have a plan B? What about the rest of your team?
You're wearing too many hats. You're stretched too thin.
The people you love are unhappy. Your health is suffering. Substance abuse is common.
You want your life back.
Imagine you had enough liquidity and capital resources to realise your plans plans with an A-class team and a healthier work/life balance.
Imagine your venture was the tech venture employer of choice, with a positive culture and resources to potentialize the best people – to innovate and to make the world a better place.
You've already digested a lot of info about tech ventures, strategy and marketing. You value peer and expert learning.
But who's real? Who's on your side of the table? Who's looking out for your best interests?
You're innovative and willing to take calculated risks. But you're short on time.
What kind of investment is right for you?
Will venture capital financing be the solution, or will that cause you to lose creative or financial control?
Do you need one or more smart angel investors who roll-up their sleeves, or do you prefer passive angels who don't ask too many questions?
Could traditional crowdfunding be your solution? What about trying to seek investment from a Family Office or a corporate strategic?
What about doing a reverse merger into a publicly traded shell? What are the potential risks and rewards through that type of scheme?
Bottom line – you're ready to step up to the next level.
But in a complex and dynamic world, you're not sure what should be your next step.
You're not alone in your journey.
There are other people in the same position: other global tech venture founders and CEOs looking for the same advantages and with the same ambitions. People who want to build, innovate and scale to the next level, just like you.
There's a group of diverse peer entrepreneurs who can engage in peer-to-peer learning and sharing, and collectively process information towards generating better strategies and decisions.
You can connect with these people – facilitated by a skilled coach/facilitator – and you can learn more, faster, and accelerate your venture finance knowledge, skills and capabilities.
Direct access to the right skills and expertise creates the right foundation to scale up.
Your time is precious. This is the best way to fuel the next phase of your growth cycle.
Imagine a facilitated forum, a neural network, of peers that can examine the fundamentals of venture finance options.
On this journey, you'll share and support each other as you discover the steps to finance and scale up a global tech venture.
The key steps are:
Venture finance matters
Venture finance is your oxygen – if you don't have enough, you die.
It's essential to understand the foundational knowledge of the full range of available venture finance options. You might choose:
* Friends family and fools (FFF)
* Smart angels or dumb angels
* Convertible debt with discounts
* Warrants and/or valuation caps
* SAFE notes
* SAFT agreements
* Convertible preferred stock
* Reverse mergers into publicly traded shells
* Family office financing
* Corporate strategic investment
Becoming investor ready
Taking money from others requires compliance with applicable corporate and securities laws. Your organizational structure and agreements (employees, contractors, existing investors, FFFs) must be ship-shape and clean.
Do you have your corporate records in order? Has your intellectual property been properly assigned? Do you have all the appropriate agreements in place with your employees, contractors and customers?
Have all your shares been sold in compliance with law, fully paid and non-assessable? If an investor requires a legal opinion confirming this, could you provide one without undue delay or expense?
With a deeper understanding of financing options and ecosystems, you will be comfortable that there are no obstacles in your choice of entity, jurisdiction(s), intellectual property matters, stakeholder agreements and other key foundational and due diligence materials.
Creating your finance offer
Just as your offer to sell a product or service to a customer must be compelling to close sales, your offer to sell securities to investors must also be persuasive. The form of investment, including terms, conditions, and valuation will affect the appetite for it.
When you do have an opportunity to receive funds from an investor, you need to be in a position to close.
To avoid cold feet, it's important that you send the offering materials promptly. You may need to negotiate terms and conditions, but it's better to have an offer you can submit – and it needs to be aligned with other offers made recently.
The venture finance matters experience will require reading the right books and blogs, viewing online tutorials and Term Sheet Battles(™), and downloading industry standard templates to use with the advice of your own lawyer.
Studying real-world examples from notable startup founders and funders is critical – the failures, the also-rans and home-run stories.
Access to seasoned securities lawyers is important. They can understand current deal terms and best practices in select ecosystems and jurisdictions.
In order to create a compelling offer, you need to understand the good, the bad and the ugly in venture finance.
Commitment to marketing your offer
Even if you've done the hard work to gain the foundational knowledge, cleaned up your corporate house and created a compelling offer, you still need to make a larger commitment – your time.
If you need to raise a strategic round of capital to scale your business globally, you will also need to be committed to invest up to 50% or more of your time to drive and execute the project over three to six months, or even longer in some cases.
Unless you already live in one of the venture finance capitals, you will need to travel quite a bit, including one or several roadshows.
Of course if you take your focus off day-to-day operations, you need to trust that others on your team will be able to continue to drive the business at full capacity without your full-time attention.
Maybe you have a team that can do this well. If so, your chances of raising the financing will be greater. If you don't have that team, it underscores why you may need more capital to upgrade their strength.
Hi, I'm Brad Furber. I've spent my entire professional career as a seed investor, entrepreneur and lawyer. I've been working closely with visionary entrepreneurs, founders and funders to launch, finance and scale tech startups.
I'm an American expat currently living in Switzerland. I'm originally from Seattle, Washington and I've been living and working overseas since 2010 in Europe and Asia Pacific.
During my career, I've been engaged to advise on 150+ angel and venture capital financings (with aggregate proceeds over US$1 billion), 50+ mergers and acquisitions, and 10+ public offerings.
I understand that different ecosystems have different cultures, laws, regulations and ways of negotiating. I have seen first hand, in many places and through many economic cycles, what has worked and what hasn't.
I'm here to help select startup founders and CEOs get access to the knowledge, expertise and connections required to succeed in venture finance matters.
If you're curious how ready you and your venture are to raise money from third parties, you need to take the Venture Finance 101 free video masterclass.
I invite you to take the quiz below to customize your experience. Then you'll get access to the masterclass
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Expert advice on securing your tech startup financing
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