How fast must a company grow in its projections to attract interest from venture capital funds?

Typically, no less than fifty percent compound annual growth rates after sales start will be needed to clear the minimums. More often, no less than one-hundred percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) will be required at some point.  Of course, growth rates can vary by year, and these are just the average over a five to eight year investment before a liquidity event to cash out.

Also check out my blog where I have loads of articles on entrepreneurship, scaling and raising capital.

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Bob Norton is a long-time Serial Entrepreneur and CEO with four exits that returned over $1 billion to investors. He has trained, coached and advised over 1,000 CEOs since 2002. And is Founder of The CEO Boot Camp™ and Entrepreneurship University™. Mr. Norton works with companies to triple their chances of success in launching new companies and products. And helps established...

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How Long Does It Take to Raise Venture Capital Typically?

Learning and preparation should start at least a year in advance. Once you are prepared, allow six months. It could be shorter or longer, that will depend on your deal and the market at the time in that industry space. Hot deal areas can get done quickly, most will be several months at least.

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Pitching and corralling investors with interest is not in your control.  I can take three to six months. Often the partners become unavailable (on their yachts and at vacation homes, presumably) for summer and winter holidays.  Nothing you can do because usually a partner meeting and vote is required to finalize any deal. Due diligence can take sixty days. Generating a sense of urgency is always a challenge as they have a hundred deals they can do every month. More capital than quality deals. So you need to stand out with a quality team, big market and significant sustainable competitive advantage (barrier to entry).

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How Do I Get Introductions to Venture Capitalists for a Warm Call Instead of a Cold Call?

My favorite technique is approaching the CEOs they have invested in before, which are often available in public records or on their respective websites. First you need to target very narrowly the right investors for your type of deal by industry, stage and sometimes geography. Then with this focused list you can find their portfolios, and the CEOs of those companies. Although many CEOs will not take your calls the right approach, asking for help, not money, can get you their sympathy and a lunch. Not long ago they were you and the founder, bond can be powerful.

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Lawyers can be approached that do deals with these companies, and top-level accountants. Often public records like Edgar where SEC IPO disclosures can be found will point you to these relationships.

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Bob Norton is a long-time Serial Entrepreneur and CEO with four exits that returned over $1 billion to...

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How Do I Find an Approach Angel Investors?

Networking is the key strategy. You need to get out there and meet other CEOs, investors and key referral sources at physical events. LinkedIn can be a way to find them, but cold approaches are difficult. I get invitations to invest every week from people I do not know, and I am certain most are not high-quality deals within seconds from their email, deck or type of approach.  Bad English, missing key data, no team background and a hundred other red flags mean an instant rejection. Too many to even send five minutes looking at them when the CEO cannot hit the key points to sell the deal in a few sentences. That is the only thing that will get me to read a deck, unless I want to sell them the help they need to raise funds because I like their idea and think the CEO/Founder has potential.

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Warm interdiction are best. This is best if it is a CEO that made an investor money, introducing you to their past investors. Lawyer, accountants and...

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How is it Possible that A Startup Company Can Raise A $100 Million Dollars Or More?

The more money that is poured into a deal, the lower the risk and more market share they are likely to garner. And hot deals where growth and financial projections are getting real can create a feeding frenzy among investors. It is also likely that these larger investment can scare off smaller competitors.  It is often assumed there are a limited number of winners in any given market.

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Furthermore, it could be three or ten, but limited. Therefore, more money means lower risk and higher upside. Sometimes these deal with blow up, proving to have false expectations. WeWork was a good example of this, and so was Theranos. Both we run by entrepreneurs with questionable ethics. And that’s why the most good investors will want to see strong integrity in the CEO and management team. No one wants to invest in a company with a dishonest management team.

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What kind of capital should I raise?

This table shows the typical sources that are best based on your company’s stage of development. Your mileage may vary.

 

Friends & Family

Angel Investors

Venture Capital

Crowdfunding

Usually Called

Friend and Family Money

Seed or Bridge

Series A, B, C etc.

Several types depending on size. SEC regulated. Types are CF, A which have different requirements for reporting, etc.

Employees

0 to 10

1-15

10+ to 500

0 to infinity

Annualized Revenue

$0 to $500K/year

$0 to $2M, more the better. Path to profits with scale clear

Rarely $0 or less than $500K annually, but can be any amount.

$0 to $2M, more than that you may have better sources that can be more helpful.

Product Maturity

Idea to prototype

Close to or have an MVP already.

Working product with likely improvements in the pipeline but operating at many customers.

Idea to $2M annual revenues.

Deal Structure

Convertible or SAFE note with a discount on the...

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New report shows entrepreneurship's partial return to pre-pandemic level

Report Highlights

  •  Nationally, the rate of new entrepreneurs in 2021 was 0.36 percent, meaning that an average of 360 out of every 100,000 adults became new entrepreneurs in a given month. The monthly rate increased substantially from 2019 to 2020 as the economy went through the shutdowns, job losses, and re-openings that characterized the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has only partly returned to pre-pandemic levels.
  •  The opportunity share of new entrepreneurs rebounded substantially to 80.9 percent from its low of 69.8 percent in 2020, but remained much lower than its pre-pandemic level of 86.9 percent in 2019. The decline from 2019 to 2020 during the first year of the pandemic was 17.1 percentage points, which is much larger than the one-year decline of 6.9 percentage points from 2008 to 2009 during the Great Recession.

There is a free video course on this page explaining this Entrepreneurial Journey.

  •  Startup early job creation in 2021...
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What are some common misconceptions people have about raising capital?

1. Thinking it is easy. It will typically take 3–6 months of full-time effort. 80% will fail.

2. That the “Idea” is worth something. It is not worth $0 because anyone can copy an idea and do better at marketing, sales, product development or just dump capital on that idea  

3. Thinking VCs are the best source, they are the worst for 90% of businesses. They finance at most 1 in 200 plans and represent a tiny percentage of business financing. A narrow niche of rapid growth, technology based companies mainly.

4. A company has value on day #1. It does not!  Value and pre-money valuation come from team + plan + market research + product development. Investors generally put money in only AFTER value is created.

The pitch deck is critical. It separated out the 75% of people looking for money that did not do their homework. A good angel or VC can glean a lot about the team from this 5-minute read. An investor...

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