Category Archives: Startup Funding

2019 Major Startup Events

2019 Major Startup Events

The Events Every Startup Should Know About in 2019

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best conferences in the coming year to keep an eye out for. Don’t have these on your calendar yet? We’d recommend you do !

Startup Grind Conference

The Startup Grind Global Conference provides an environment unlike anything else – where our community of startups, partners, investors, thought leaders, and worldwide directors come together for 2+ days of invaluable education, connection, and inspiration.

Where: Palo Alto, CA

When: February 12 – 13, 2019

SXSW Conference

Featuring a variety of tracks that allow attendees to explore what’s next in the worlds of film, culture, music, and technology, SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together.

Where: Austin, TX

When: March 8 – 16, 2019

Ceres Conference

The Ceres Conference 2019 will convene more than 600 influential investors, senior corporate executives, policy makers and capital market leaders to reaffirm the business case for sustainability and share best practices to empower leadership, build solutions, and drive change.

Where: San Francisco, CA

When: April 29 – May 1, 2019

Collision Conference

Collision is the fastest growing tech conference in North America. Now in its fifth year, Collision has grown to over 25,000 attendees and is in for a big change in 2019.

Where: Toronto, Canada

When: May 20 – 23, 2019

Launch Festival

LAUNCH Festival is the largest startup event in the world. For the past 10 years we’ve hosted Festival in San Francisco, featuring fireside chats with Silicon Valley technologists and pioneers, demonstrations of cutting-edge future technology, and exciting startup competitions with founders and teams from all around the world.

Where: Sydney, Australia

When: June 18 – 19, 2019

Industry: The Product Conference

Over 3 days, 1,200 attendees from over 30 countries will learn from renowned product leaders and share the latest methods, tools, and frameworks that they use to build, launch and scale world-class software products.

Where: Cleveland, OH

When: September 23 – 25, 2019

Disrupt SF

If you’re serious about startups, we’re still keeping it as real as ever. At Disrupt, everyone is a startupper – no matter if you’re a founder, investor, hacker or tech leader. So much more than just on-stage interviews, Disrupt is where you’ll find the renowned Startup Battlefield competition, a virtual Hackathon, hundreds of startups in Startup Alley, Workshops and legendary networking at our After Parties… and we’re in San Francisco, right where startup dreams began.

Where: San Francisco, CA

When: October 2 – 4, 2019

**This will be an ongoing post as new dates/conferences become available.

For more information on fundraising, our Founder/CEO, Tyler Jensen has created several eBooks on the topic.  We invite you to browse our website to request free downloads.

Are ICOs the Future of Startup Fundraising? Cryptocurrencies are Giving Founders a New Platform for Fundraising

Are ICOs the Future of Startup Fundraising? Cryptocurrencies are Giving Founders a New Platform for Fundraising

Cryptocurrencies are giving Founders a whole new platform for fundraising.

As a strategic business consultancy that offers Fractional CFO services to entrepreneurs and startups we get a lot of questions about raising capital.  While the general consensus among experts is to first raise traditional angel and seed rounds some founders are exploring the use of cryptocurrencies and/or ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) vs. Series A or B rounds.  The rising popularity of cryptocurrency is allowing Founders and startups to get creative in their fundraising efforts.

What is Blockchain?

In a nutshell: “The basic concept of cryptocurrency is pretty simple… Rather than asking the public for investments of old-fashioned money, the inventor issues a new virtual currency tied to a specific product, each unit of which represents a defined share of future profits. Just like shares in an actual stock market, these coins or tokens can then be freely traded or collected, letting those who truly believe in a project build an actual financial stake in its success.”  (“How to Fund Your Startup with Cryptocurrency” — Catrinel Bartolomeu)

How does it work?

Some founders will attempt to raise capital through an initial coin offering which, in simple terms, is when a company wants to fund itself through cryptocurrency. People can “back” the ICO by contributing other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or, more commonly, Ether (the name for Ethereum’s coins/tokens). It is basically a crowdfunding campaign that, instead of using platforms like Kickstarter, uses blockchain platforms.

Pros and Cons

While Blockchain technology and Social Enterprise are creating new options for Startup Fundraising, it’s important to look at the pros and cons of using ICOs vs. traditional fundraising methods.  Serhiy Kozlov (CEO and Founder of Romexsoft) does a great job highlighting some of the pros/cons of using ICOs to raise capital.  Below is a summary (full article can be found here):

BENEFITS

Traditional Funding Comes with Strings/IOC’s with Far Less.

A clear advantage for the founder. Initiating an ICO with a unique currency that can later convert to Bitcoin or Ether, takes a lot of regulation out of the mix.  Banks and traditional VC funding can may have tight contracts and legal responsibilities.

ICO Funding is Cheaper.

When the middleman fees and interest are cut out of the mix, getting funding is cheaper. There is also more freedom for the founder to set terms.

Flexibility for the Investor.

Investment returns on ICOs can be more accelerated than returns with traditional funding. Investors like this.

Flexibility for Startup Founders.

One great thing about ICO is that funding can come from a variety of currencies, both fiat and crypto. This may attract more investors than traditional funding which usually occurs in a single currency.

POTENTIAL DOWNSIDES

Lack of understanding regarding governmental rules and regulations, regarding investing and receiving investment capital.

There are legal risks involved in an entrepreneur seeking funding via an unregistered token, even when it goes through registered blockchain platforms, like Bitcoin and Ether. In the case of the U.S. SEC, for example, just incorporating outside of the U.S. will not grant ‘immunity.” As well, the SEC has recently established rules regarding equity investments in crowdfunding activities.

Over-Valuation. 

Some of the amounts being raised through ICOs are staggering. Early investors in Bitcoin and Ether are eager to invest more and more in new ventures, and founders are “tempted” by the easy money to raise far more than they actually need or would get via traditional financing.

Lack of Control and Protection. 

This, of course, is an investor’s not a startup’s problem. But it is a weakness that, if not “fixed”, may sour investors over time. Unethical or fraudulent “startups” really have little-to-no fiduciary responsibility to their investors. Smart Contracts, such as those through Ethereum are a start, but the promoter has ways to alter those arrangements.

It’s Too New. 

As mentioned earlier in this article, the concepts of Blockchain, cryptocurrency, and ICOs are still foreign to many investors, and certainly to individuals who have money to invest but see this cryptocurrency “stuff” as somehow fake money. It will take time for the entire concept to become mainstream and for weaknesses to be eliminated.

For more information on fundraising, our Founder/CEO, Tyler Jensen has created several eBooks on the topic.  We invite you to browse our website to request free downloads.

5 Reasons Why You Can’t Afford Not to Hire a CFO for your Business

5 Reasons Why You Can’t Afford Not to Hire a CFO for your Business

In most cases it takes a very large payroll and budget to staff a full-time CFO however; today, more and more small and mid-sized business owners are capitalizing on the extensive education and training that a part-time CFO brings to the table. For this reason, we are seeing an uptick in the number of business owners that are turning to part-time CFOs and Strategic Business Consultants to get high-level financial guidance and consultancy without cutting a big paycheck.

In this month’s post, we are highlighting some of the many benefits you will receive through partnering with a part-time CFO and/or Strategic Business Consultant:

Potential to increase cash flow

A CFO has the expertise and ability to uncover problems and provide practical solutions in a way that is constructive and educational. They will also handle your day to day finance and accounting issues giving you back perhaps your most valuable asset — time.

Clarity and the ability to make better business decisions

A CFO knows how to thoroughly evaluate financial data so you can make smart business decisions. They provide a holistic approach to assessing your business including monetization strategies and business models, target markets and competitive differentiation, management team and personnel plan, sales and marketing communication strategies, and more.

Help when you need to raise capital

A CFO can help you calculate how much capital you may need in order to grow your business AND then strategize with you on how to get it. Additionally, they have an intimate knowledge of the capitalization timeline, who invests at the various stages, and what investors need to see at each stage.

A strategic partnership

A Fractional CFO is more than just a consultant…he or she is your strategic partner. Part-time and contracted CFOs wear many hats and are often times multi-talented; therefore, bringing with them a broad range of experience.

Flexibility

A Fractional CFO is an outsourced consultant so the business owner has the flexibility to increase or decrease the CFO’s hours based on the needs of the company.

Still not convinced? Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself:

  • Can you afford to hire a part-time CFO?
  • Have I been successful in raising capital?
  • Am I growing at the rate I want to be?

If you are unsure on how to answer any of these questions we invite you to contact us for a free consultation. With over 10 years of industry experience, The Startup Garage and our Founder/CEO Tyler Jensen, are proud to be recognized as a boutique consultancy that has helped hundreds of Founders raise capital through proven startup strategy consulting services including preparation of Business Plans/Investor Documents and Fractional CFO/Accounting Services.

Contact us or call (858) 876-4597 for a free consultation.

More information: Business Plan Writer vs. Business Plan Strategic Consultant

 

Top 5 Startup Tips from the 2016 SDVG Venture Summit

Top 5 Startup Tips from the 2016 SDVG Venture Summit

 

Last week, The Startup Garage had the pleasure of attending the fourteenth annual Venture Summit in San Diego, hosted by the San Diego Venture Group (SDVG). The event brought together more than 35 of San Diego’s ‘coolest companies’ as well as venture capitalist firms. The diverse audience included attendees from tech, software, consumer goods, life sciences, health, and other industries.

An array of valuable information was shared over the course of the event. Here are some of our favorite business tips for Startups shared during the Venture Summit:

1. Tell your story in a clear, concise, and passionate manner. Entrepreneurs are often so ingrained in their business that when they pitch their vision to potential investors, their message seems robotic and potentially unclear. It is crucial to investors that you tell your story with both passion and direction. Investors understand that your company is your baby, that you’ve invested an excruciating amount of effort, time, and finances to see it succeed. Be excited to share your baby with investors and really show them how passionate you are.

2. Target your story to your audience. The ability to tell your story effectively does not come easy. It is highly recommended to practice with as many investors that are willing to listen. From that practice, you develop a keen sense of understanding of their perspective and you will be better suited to modify your story to fit your target audience.

3. Keep your story organic and fluid. The ability to flex your pitch on the spot demonstrates mastery and confidence. Practice makes perfect. Practice your story alterations to yourself in the mirror to keep your story fluid and relevant. Being able to tailor your presentation based on your audience will allow you to connect more effectively with investors.

4. San Diego is a booming start-up community, leverage your “neighbor”. With the rising living costs in places like San Francisco, companies and employees alike are searching for other areas where exciting growth opportunity exists, and San Diego is rapidly become a top hub for Startups. We’ve witnessed a growing number of industries and companies calling San Diego home; CourseKey, CureMatch, eSUB, and Freetz to name a few. The blend of technology, sunny weather, and beautiful beaches has attracted entrepreneurs from all over the world, and will continue to do so for the coming years – so start building your network today.

5. Ask for constructive feedback. Oftentimes, entrepreneurs receive a “No” from investors, and are afraid to ask them for feedback. Don’t be afraid of asking them for a few words of advice or why they decided not to invest in your company. A simply phone call can go a long way in helping you develop the perfect pitch and, ultimately, finding the best investor for your company.

In a given year, a venture capitalist firm comes across 1,000 potential deals, 50 of which undergo the due diligence process, and only 1 of the 1,000 is invested in. Having the right tools, team and support system is critical.

5 Excellent Startup Tips on Securing a Bank Loan

Bank Loan Tips From The Startup Garage

5 Excellent Startup Tips on Securing a Bank Loan

It’s no secret that securing bank funding for your startup is difficult these days – but it’s not impossible.

Give yourself better odds with these 5 simple
Startup tips:

Write a clear and convincing business plan.

Business owners must build a strategy from the very beginning around being “lendable,” so a business plan helps lay that proper foundation. Focus especially on the financial estimates and offer well-researched documentation for those estimates.

In addition, be sure to illustrate in your plan how you will generate revenue, how
much you’ll generate and how long it will take to get to positive cash flows. (Side tip: you may
want to have a CPA look over your financials beforehand).

Boost your credit rating.

A solid credit score lends legitimacy to your request and shows you’re less of a financial risk to the bank. They’ll want to see that you have a history of paying bills on time, as well as your history of minimizing outstanding debt. Have a less than desirable credit score?

Seek out smaller, more local banks, since large banks typically are pickier as to the kinds of businesses they want to work with. Smaller ones may be more forgiving of new businesses and may have less stringent credit requirements for opening accounts and lines of credit.

Launch your business in a solid industry.

Certain industries, such as food service and apparel,are considered extremely risky by potential lenders. Thus, if you are determined to get bank funding, consider an industry that doesn’t depend on fluctuating resources (such as oil prices) and has a relatively large profit margin.

Once selecting that industry, be sure to demonstrate your experience in it: offer real, measurable examples of your expertise in your chosen industry or of your experience of running successful businesses. Banks back those with a track record of success, so you’ll have to convince them you have the skill set, drive and experience to make their lending decision a successful one.

Owner’s equity.

If you expect lenders to put their “skin in the game,” they’re going to expect
you to do the same. As a general rule, you should personally invest 20% of the total projected
loan request. Your willingness to risk a sizeable portion of your own capital (and not just capital from their bank loans) shows your commitment to the venture.

Relationships are key.

Ultimately, securing a bank loan is about building a relationship with your bank, and if done correctly, your banker can become your biggest ally. If the banker knows you, your business operations and that you have good employees and a stable customer base, they
will be more likely to go out on a limb for you.

Having a good relationship with your bank can
make running your business a lot easier, so don’t underestimate it!

If you have a question about your raising capital for your Startup or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

5 Reasons to Attend The USD V2 Pitch Competition For Entrepreneurs

5 Reasons to Attend The USD V2 Pitch Competition For Entrepreneurs

On Thursday April 28th University of San Diego School of Business will hold an exciting competition in a “Shark Tank” like setting.

Top student entrepreneurs from USD and Tijuana will compete for a total of $100,000 in cash and invaluable mentorship and support.

The Startup Garage Team Compiled The Top 5 Reasons this is a must attend event:

1. There’s is no cost to attend.
It’s a completely FREE event although space is limited.
*HINT sign up early to reserve your seat.* When was the last time you had the opportunity to spent time with like minded entrepreneurs in a beautiful setting at no cost?
Register here

2. Absorb expert advice and insights from keynote speaker Tim Suski.

Tim co-founded one of the fastest growing boutique fitness franchise in Southern California, (The Rush Cycle Franchise) and also launched a technology platform used by 500+ businesses across the globe.

3. Fuel your entrepreneur inspiration.
The students pitching include a unique blend of entrepreneurs, each with their own innovative story and journey to share.

USD Current Student Entrepreneurs includes:

Lacy
Lacy is a bra washing machine (patent pending) that carefully protects bras and
delicates from the damage they normally endure during traditional washing methods.

FoldedColor
Technology company FoldedColor is an e-commerce solution for custom printed
packaging, offering standard and customizable folding carton options through a web-
to-print interface that includes instant pricing, an intuitive design editor, virtual 3D
proofing and online checkout.

TechMeetsTrader
This free social community for stocks and options investors, TechMeetsTrader
makes it easy to capitalize on investment opportunities and to learn from
experienced traders.

Like Cats and Dogs
Like Cats and Dogs produces a safe pet toy for both cats and dogs.

Bi-National Track Entrepreneurs Include:

AGROSOL
AGROSOL offers a fertilization, fumigation and geographical scanning system
performed by drones.

Baja Saver
Baja Saver generates clean and cheap energy through a product as small as a home
refrigerator that is 100 percent self-sufficient, more effective than wind and solar
systems and a better return on investment.

Ñapanga
Ñapanga produces and distributes a microbrew with a female focus.

FXR
FXR is an app used to request certified professional services for home repair and
maintenance.

4. Learn the art of pitching a Startup first hand.
Feel the presenters emotion and techniques when listening to a pitch, and tune into the panelist (potential “investors”) asking hard hitting questions.

5. Anyone can benefit from attending the V2 Pitch Competition.
Networking is key. “Meeting the right people and making connections to the San Diego start-up community is key to the success of any venture. We are lucky to bring in a unique crowd to the V2 Pitch Competition filled with investors, Entrepreneurs, alumni, and community partners. V2 has become an evening to connect, celebrate, and support our thriving San Diego and CaliBaja start-up ecosystem.” Regina Bernal, Entrepreneurship and Experiential Learning USD

Now that you’ve decided to join us, be sure to say hello to The Startup Garage Team!

We’ll have a table set up from 5-6pm at the Venture Fair prior to the event to answer any burning Startup Questions

Crowdfunding For Equity: Title III and Equity Crowd Funding 101

Business Plans and Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding For Equity: Title III and Equity Crowd Funding 101

What is Equity Crowdfunding?

Equity crowdfunding is on the rise after the signing of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act was signed by President Obama in April 2012.

Simply put, it is a type of crowdfunding that enables broad groups of investors to fund startup companies and small businesses in return for equity.

Three years after the JOBS Act was initially passed, Title IV (Regulation A+) went into effect, allowing larger companies to accept capital from both accredited investors (the wealthiest 2% of Americans) and non-accredited investors (the other 98% of Americans). This expanded when Title III (Regulation CF) was enacted in October 2015, which also allowed early stage companies to accept capital from both accredited and non-accredited investors.

More About Title III (Reg CF)

Title III allows startups and small businesses to raise up to $1M from the general public – an unprecedented way to raise capital. More specifically, investors who have less than $100,000 in both income and net worth may invest at least $2,000 per year, and as much as 5 percent of their income or net worth (whichever is less) per year.

Investors whose income or net worth is greater than $100,000 may invest up to 10 percent of their income or net worth (whichever is less) per year.

Thus, Title III gives companies that are historically underserved by the current capital markets an equal opportunity to equity financing.

On May 16th, Title III will officially go into effect.

Process

Choosing a Funding Portal

Under Title III, companies must use an online intermediary (either a broker-
dealer or crowdfunding portal registered with the SEC and FINRA), to facilitate a
fundraise. Experienced portals with a deep understanding of the regulations
surrounding Reg CF can help ensure that their campaigns are compliant with SEC rules.

Filing a Form C

Companies raising under Title III do not need to get SEC approval to initiate their
raise. They must, however, prepare a Form C and file it with the SEC 21 days prior to launching an offering. This form includes basic information about the company, its employees and the terms of the raise.

Disclosure Requirements – Financial Information

In addition to Form C, necessary financial information will depend on the size of
the intended investment needs:

 Under $100k – Internal financial statement review

 $100k-500k – CPA reviewed financial statements

 500k-1M – 3rd Party audited financial statements

 1st time crowdfunding issuers offering more than $500,000 would be permitted to provide reviewed, rather than audited, financial statements.

 Disclosure Requirements – Ongoing Reporting

Providing progress reports not only build trust with investors and keep them informed, but they’re also a very much required part of the disclosure requirements. Upon the successful closure of your campaign, you will be required to provide ongoing updates to your investors in the form of an annual report, which will include similar information that was included on the Form C.

In summary, what are the benefits and pitfalls of Title III?

Benefits:

 Title III can be an efficient way to quickly startups raise capital from the crowd

 More investors equate to more supporters in your startup

 Reporting requirements give founders and investors an opportunity to

Pitfalls:

 Current statutory disclosure obligations and costs are overly burdensome

 Legal and accounting fees may be higher than traditional capital-raising

 Title III does not include a “testing the waters” provision (like Reg A+ maintain a more open and transparent dialogue methods does) so that issuers can gauge interest before incurring burdensome filing and preparation costs

Remember, Regulation CF will become effective 180 days after the final rules are published in
the Federal Register on May 16, 2016.

If you have a question about your equity crowdfunding for your Startup or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

Entrepreneur Mindset: Lottery Players and Startup Unicorns

Startup Unicorns From The Startup Garage

Entrepreneur Mindset: Lottery Players and Startup Unicorns

4 MindSet Similarities Between Startup Unicorns and Lottery Players

As of March 17, 2016 CB Insights’s real time unicorn tracker, lists that 155 Startup Companies are valued at $1 billion or more with a total cumulative valuation of $550billion. 
A steady increase of 111 new companies since February 2014.

Although, the exclusive startup unicorn club appears to be more obtainable than previous years, the chances of winning big, like the lottery are few and far between.

In fact, the number looks to be just above 1% of all Startup companies, will obtain a billion dollar valuation.

The questions then become, has the media surrounding $billion valuations and the public hype of startup founders personal wealth and company culture, created a false hope for entrepreneurs?

Perhaps over sensationalized stories serve the same purpose as the MegaMillions billboards displaying the jackpot size, driving more players to enter the game, and encouraging people to start companies for the lure of being Megarich?

In Jan of 2016 a record breaking $1.6B Powerball jackpot, brought the North American lottery to new heights, unleashing a new breed of fortune hunters. I witnessed successful startup founders scramble to buy in, who never before considered playing the lottery.

A million dollar winning is no longer is enough, however the lure of a billion dollars cash out is the new Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket for Startup founders and Lottery Players.

The Entrepreneur Mindset and Lottery Players Mindset

Risk-Takers

“Millennials don’t buy lottery tickets, they launch startups.”
A lotto player buys in for the mental reward of a chance of being rich.
A startup founder spends hundreds of dollars every week for the same reward: a very small chance of being rich, in order to be in charge of their own destiny.

Both Entrepreneurs and Lottery Players are natural risk-takers, 43% of entrepreneurs (compared to 34% of non-entrepreneurs) believe that risks must be taken in order to be successful. Risk-taking is almost synonymous with entrepreneurship, in order to start and support your own business, you’ll have to put your career, personal finances and even your mental health at stake.

However, with great risk comes great reward, even with the odds stacked against you.
Did you know, the odds of matching every lottery number are 1 in 175,223,510, according to Powerball.com. Are those good odds? A person has better odds of playing in the NBA (1 in 6,864,000), being a movie star (1 in 1,505,000) or becoming the president of the United States (1 in 10,000,000).

Persistent

By definition, persistence is the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people.
True winners never gives up, “you gotta be in it to, win it,” strikes a cord for both entrepreneurs an lottery players.

Success takes thick skin, in order to crush the odds you can’t let anyone or anything stand in the way of reaching your goals.

Hopeful

Entrepreneurs and lottery winners, must fully committed to finding a way to beating the odds.
Both play the narrative of the “Hero’s Journey” with follows a basic pattern of stepping outside the ordinary world to embrace the call of adventure, while encountering a variety of tests, all for the big reward. Overall, an attitude of hope prevails even in the face of loosing lottery tickets, and unfunded startup businesses.

Big Dreamers

The good thing about startups and lotteries, are they give you back that ability to dream really big.
The lotto boasts:
Someone’s going to win why not you?

Dream Big. Win Big.
Your ticket to dream.
Dream Bigger.
Give your dreams a chance!
Dollar and a dream.
Give Your Dream a Chance

The Startup Garage team applauds the HopefulPersistent Risk-Takers in all of you who are willing to dream big!

If you have a question about your raising capital for your Startup or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

How Does A Convertible Note Works For Startups?

How Does A Convertible Note Works For Startups?

A convertible note is an investment instrument intended to provide a startup company with early stage financing.

It’s a compromise of sorts, blending the downside protection associated with a loan and capturing the upside potential of selling equity shares.

Why are they used?

It can be very difficult for investors and entrepreneurs to agree on the valuation of an early stage company. Valuations are complex, and require a considerable amount of time and data that early stage startups just don’t have. A convertible note for startups allows the valuation conversation to be delayed until later down the road when a valuation can be more easily determined. Typically, this occurs at the next funding round. At which time, the note will convert from a loan to equity.

What’s the “discount rate” and other terms?

Early stage investors that invest in the form of a convertible note expect to be appropriately compensated for the extra risk taken by investing at such an early stage. As such, when a valuation is determined at a subsequent round of investment, the early stage investors typically receive a “discount” on that valuation where their investment gets converted at a cheaper valuation. The discount rate is predetermined and agreed upon at the time of signing the note. 20% is a common discount, but it can range widely from around 10% on the low end to 35% on the high end.

Here’s an example of the convertible note process:

Joe Angel invests $500K in a seed round investment
Startup issues Joe Angel a convertible note for $500K that has an automatic conversion feature at the next round of financing with a conversion discount of 20%
Startup closes a $1M Series A round with a VC at a pre-money valuation of $5M
VC receives 16.67% equity
Joe Angel’s note will convert to equity at a 20% discount on the pre-money valuation for 10% equity

The above return does not account for interest on the loan, which typically ranges from 5-7%. It’s not paid out like a regular loan, but instead accumulates and then the interest is added to the conversion amount at the end of the Series A startup funding round.

Main benefits:

Convertible notes are attractive for both the startup founders and potential investors. The startup needs this type of early funding to prove their concept and build momentum, and it gives savvy investors a way to gain significant discounted equity in a potential rising star.

Other benefits include:

Relatively simple to create, especially when compared to the preparation and legal resources needed for later funding rounds. The negotiations around valuation can be deferred, so the founders can focus on initial strategy and refining their service offering
Early investors should receive discounts because they took a chance on the firm at its earliest stages and they then often remain as loyal long-term investors.

Some caveats:

With the discount, the startup does give the investor a bigger stake in the company compared to the same money received by other investors, but this early-stage investment is often required in order to reach any growth.

On the investor’s side, they need to look very closely at the startup to be sure they are not taking on outsized-risk. The risk involved is higher than what is reflected in the typical 20% discount of the convertible note. This simply boils down to the challenges facing startups to actually move forward from seed to Series A funding rounds. Less companies are able to do it as they don’t build enough momentum to warrant larger-scale VC money.

Another risk for convertible note financing can come if the convertible note is too large. The problem can come when it converts to represent a big portion of the next round, which might discourage other investors from coming on board because they’re limited in the potential equity stake.

If you have a question about pursuing a convertible note strategy for your Startup or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

Top 8 Success Tips For First Time Founders

Top 8 Success Tips For First Time Founders

As a Startup entrepreneur it’s easy for your work to become your life, and 8 years to effortlessly slip by.

I founded what has become The Startup Garage in January of 2008 with passion for helping entrepreneurs start and launch companies of impact.

Our business, team, and services have evolved, transformed, and changed many times over. Yet, throughout the years the fears, issues, and struggles seen amongst first time founders have remained the same.

As a Startup founder, regardless of where you are geographically or financially, there appears to be common threads, and snags all of us face at one point or another along the journey.

In 8 years of service, The Startup Garage, has helped over 200 companies, non-profits, social enterprises, find success. In celebration of our 8 year anniversary, I’d like to share with you.

My Top 8 Success Tips:

Startups take time. Create a plan that avoids too much false or unnecessary urgency.

Having a false sense of urgency can keep us from putting our energy into the right things at the right time. It’s true, success doesn’t just happen, it requires careful, detailed planning and action. Be sure to enlist the help of business plans, checklists and project management platforms, to prioritize and stick with daily, weekly, monthly, and annual goals.

Don’t focus too much on the product/service. Balance your focus.

All to often entrepreneurs become so excited over their product or service, that they get lost in their own enthusiasm. The core of the business might be the problem the product solves. But, it’s imperative to give equal weight to other key comments of the business like, the team, the marketing strategy, business model and customer feedback.

There is plenty of investor money out there for companies who reach the milestones investors care about. Know what investors care about and focus on that.

Remember as an entrepreneur your perspective and mindset, often times differs from that of an investor. We’ve designed a helpful infographic here>> Achieve Investor Milestones
to keep you visually in tune with achieving the milestones investors care about, to communicate with them in a language they understand.

Founders are the biggest problem for most startups. Get out of your own way.

We call this the founder’s dilemma, and it’s a big one. Founders don’t let go easy, surrendering control, delegating tasks, and learning to be a leader rather than a micro-manager can take time. Recognize the dilemma and start delegating tasks even if it feels uncomfortable.

Healthy founders leads to healthy startups.

Founders are the core of a business inspiration, motivation, and success starts with you, then ripples out to the organization at large. Your business is your responsibility, treat it with care by caring for your health and well-being. To be efficient and firing at a high caliber it’s essential to embrace a healthy physical routine, and check in with your mental state. Moderation is key, working non-stop leads to startup burnout, and doesn’t help anyone within your startup.

Know your exit strategy.

Knowing your end game, makes every decision easier. Having clarity on on your exit plan, whether it’s not exiting, Merger & Acquisition, or IPO affects how you run your business day to day.

Planning is critical

The lifecycle of you startup depends upon planning, documenting, and communicating even the most mundane tasks.

Take on the student role and always be learning.

The smartest founders, are the ones that don’t know all the answers. Being a lifetime learner, evokes greater innovation and creativity. Knowledge is power and will help increase awareness of the world around you.

If you have a question about your raising capital for your Startup or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!