Raise capital

Venture Capital

From the Small Business Administration

Venture capital is a type of equity financing that addresses the funding needs of entrepreneurial companies that for reasons of size, assets and stage of development, cannot seek capital from more traditional sources like public markets and banks. Venture capital investments are generally made as cash in exchange for shares and an active role in the invested company.

Venture capital differs from traditional financing sources in that venture capital typically:

Successful long-term growth for most businesses is dependent upon the availability of equity capital. Lenders generally require some equity cushion or security (collateral) before they will lend to a small business. A lack of equity limits the debt financing available to businesses. Additionally, debt financing requires the ability to service the debt through current interest payments. These funds are then not available to grow the business.

Venture capital provides businesses a financial cushion. However, equity providers have the last call against the company’s assets. In view of this lower priority and the usual lack of a current pay requirement, equity providers require a higher rate of return/return on investment (ROI) than lenders receive.

UNDERSTANDING VENTURE CAPITAL

Venture capital for new and emerging businesses typically comes from high net worth individuals (“angel investors”) and venture capital firms. These investors usually provide capital unsecured by assets to young, private companies with the potential for rapid growth. This type of investing inherently carries a high degree of risk. But venture capital is long-term or “patient capital” that allows companies the time to mature into profitable organizations.

Venture capital is also an active rather than passive form of financing. These investors seek to add value, in addition to capital, to the companies in which they invest in an effort to help them grow and achieve a greater return on the investment. This requires active involvement; almost all venture capitalists will, at a minimum, want a seat on the board of directors.

Although investors are committed to a company for the long haul, that does not mean indefinitely. The primary objective of equity investors is to achieve a superior rate of return through the eventual and timely disposal of investments. A good investor will be considering potential exit strategies from the time the investment is first presented and investigated.

ANGEL INVESTORS

Business “angels” are high net worth individual investors who seek high returns through private investments in startup companies. Private investors generally are a diverse and dispersed population who made their wealth through a variety of sources. But the typical business angels are often former entrepreneurs or executives who cashed out and retired early from ventures that they started and grew into successful businesses.

These self-made investors share many common characteristics:

UNDERSTANDING EQUITY CAPITAL

Equity capital or financing is money raised by a business in exchange for a share of ownership in the company. Ownership is represented by owning shares of stock outright or having the right to convert other financial instruments into stock of that private company. Two key sources of equity capital for new and emerging businesses are angel investors and venture capital firms.

THE VENTURE CAPITAL PROCESS

A startup or high growth technology companies looking for venture capital typically can expect the following process: