VC Funding 101

Your business idea is great, but you are still having trouble getting funded by a venture capital investors. When funding businesses, VCs look for certain characteristics, to ensure that they make a return and that they minimize their risk. Here are some of the criteria VC’s look for:

  • Market Size

One of the most important things that VCs consider is market size. If your business only has operational potential in a certain neighborhood, you will have trouble finding a VC: your idea needs to be global, or at least be a part of a massive addressable market. For example, if you own a local sushi shop, you will have trouble finding VC funding, as your idea does not address a global market for fish and rice.

  • Scalability

If your market size is large enough, the next thing to consider is the scalability of your business. Very often, VCs look for businesses that have a large growth potential. This means that once your product is developed, manufacturing should be relatively inexpensive and barriers for distribution should be minimal. If your product is cheap and can sell easily, you have more chances to attract VCs.

  • Time Horizon

You will need to show your investor that you will be able to grow your business substantially in a given number of years. Each investor has a different time criteria, but expects a good return after a given amount of time. This is why it’s crucial to have a good and well-founded understanding of your profit projections.

  • Team

Your team plays a crucial role in determining if you will get funded by a VC. Since your start-up is still in its early stages, chances are that your product and your market fit is less than perfect, and will have to adjust overtime based on customer needs and other different factors. Due to this uncertainty, VCs prefer to bet on the team rather than the start-up, as it is the factor that is the less likely to chance. Make sure your team is skilled, motivated, and willing to evolve with your start-up.

If your business does not meet these criteria, it does not mean it is wrong. You will simply have to look elsewhere for funding, as you will have a hard time with VCs. You can look for other kinds of investors or consider debt financing. Remember that not all VC firms are the same, and they all have different criteria and interests. VC funds are always picky about the start-ups they invest in, and you should be too. Before applying for a fund, do your research: find out what kind of start-ups the VC usually funds, what they are known for and how they can make your business grow. This will improve your chances of getting funded, and will help you find an investor that can truly be helpful for your start-up.

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