## Posts Tagged ‘venturecapital’

### How to Calculate the Burn Rate of your Venture Capital Funding

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

If you are looking to obtain money from a venture capital firm, you may be asked the question, “so what is your expected burn rate?”

The burn rate is simply a calculation of the amount of cash that a start up business spends each month. Usually, the burn rate is based on the assumption that a new business will spend start up capital at a loss for some time before profitability and positive cash flow occur.

The burn rate is a critical measurement of the potential financial health of a start up, as well as how much start up capital may be required before profitability begins.

Calculating the Burn Rate

A new business owner may simply want to say that the burn rate is an average of typical monthly costs. However, one needs to consider what other sources of cash (not necessarily revenue), are available as well.

Consider a burn rate to be in terms of negative cash flow. For instance, the following simple formula helps provide the monthly cash flow:

All sources of current and expected income or revenue (not current cash on hand) LESS: Monthly operating costs, including interest and taxes (but not including depreciation or amortization

= BURN RATE (NOTE: Cash flow will probably be negative for start ups)

If the start up does have some cash available, such as loans from family and friends or other angel investors, the “Cash Zero Date” is the date in the future when the cash runs out. For instance, if the burn rate is \$50,000 per month, and there is \$150,000 in the bank, the Cash Zero Date would be three months in the future (\$150,000 / \$50,000)

It is important to have the burn rate calculation ready to present to venture capital firms. Some firms will want to know all future burn rate expectations. For instance, when the product is ready to be promoted “live” to the public, you may be in a position to hire more people, causing an increase in the burn rate before actual revenue is expected.

Of course, it is best to learn how to control expenses and keep the burn rate as low as possible. Constantly monitor expenses month-by-month, and continually compare actual expenses to the predicted ones. If a venture capital firm knows that you are in control of your burn rate and have predictions in the future that protect their investment and lower their risk, you’ll have a much better chance of approval.

### Increase Your Funding Success: Avoid 2 Points of Conflict with VCs

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Why do venture capital firms and entrepreneurs have such conflicting views about each other?  It could be experience or reputation.  Venture capital firms have seen all types of entrepreneurs and think they can spot a “type” in an instant.  On the other hand, entrepreneurs may hold negative viewpoints about a venture capital firm because of its reputation.  However, all these expectations cause potential conflict between a VC firm and an entrepreneur.

If you want to avoid this type of negative imaging that may cause a loss of venture capital funding, here are two ways you can change your viewpoint.

# Entrepreneurs Want Money…VCs Want Partners

Many times, conflict arises when an entrepreneur has an egotistical desire to retain control of his or her business.  They seek capital funding for millions of dollars from a venture capital firm, but then expect the VC firm to keep their “hands off” the company.

From the venture capital firm’s viewpoint, they have invested millions of dollars in a startup company.  They want to assure that their investment is nurtured and moves in the right direction for maximum profit potential.  Therefore, their perspective is that they are a partner in the business and not an arms-length lender.

New entrepreneurs would be wise to take the advice of a VC firm.  Input from a VC firm is based on experience and previous knowledge.  An entrepreneur may hold on to a specific idea, but if the VC firm is insistent that it will not work, it’s best to take that advice and move onto other parts of operating your business.

# Softening Greed and Ego

It is true that many venture capital firms have been started by rich investment bankers who saw a “gold mine” in certain industries or particular geographical areas.  Those who reach financial success sometimes forget how persistence, determination, and luck are needed to become a success.  Instead, these rich new VC investors believe their way and experience is the only way to make money.  They do not give new entrepreneurs any leeway in making decisions or exploring creative options.

If a start up business will succeed, it needs not only capital investment, but careful nurturing and guidance.  New entrepreneurs would be wise to heed the guidance of wiser venture capital investors.  And VC investors need to know that even though they do hold the money strings, it is important that ingenuity and innovation are free to take a startup company toward the riches it deserves.

### More Questions to Ask Before You Approach VC Firms

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Entrepreneurs are usually impatient about securing venture capital funding.  They have a great idea and want it to get started NOW. However, it is always best to step back and get yourself ready for the venture capital firm hunt.  Asking these important questions can save you significant time in finding the right VC firm and getting a “yes” answer.

# How Much Money Do I Need?

This is an important question to know before you approach a VC firm.  If you have performed your market research and product development research, then you should have a good idea how big your potential market is and how you need to get your product ready for it.

Movie producers don’t just start making a motion picture at a whim.  They carefully prepare a budget for every step of the way, including pre-production, filming, and post-production.  They know exactly how much a movie will cost to produce.  The same holds true for your start up.  Know how much start up funding you will need to reach your targeted market.

# Have I Written My Executive Summary Dozens of Times?

An executive summary is the most important portion of your business plan.  It is the summarized whole of the plan that VC firms will read first to find out whether they want to read more.  Make sure you send your executive summary past the eyes of many advisors.  Have business contacts read it.  Have your lawyer and accountant read it.  Make changes each time with their suggested input.

# To Whom Should I Send my Executive Summary?

Rather than just submitting your executive summary to every venture capital firm that shows up on your radar, you need to have a coordinated effort.  A VC firm that specializes in your type of product or industry will more likely read your executive summary and contact you for more information.

# Should I Seek VC Funding from another Region?

In most cases, VC firms are strict about their geographical investment borders.  VC firms tend to invest more locally or regionally for many reasons, including having close contact with their investment portfolio companies.

However, you can still succeed in getting VC funding from an out-of-state VC firm.  Check every VC firm carefully for their investing guidelines.  Find ones who are open to great investment opportunities outside their normal geographical range.  If your product and company are a good fit, then an out-of-state VC firm should at least give you consideration.

### Empowering Your Management Team for VC Success

Friday, December 11th, 2009

The ability to successfully obtain venture capital funding depends a great deal on the management team assembled in a startup company. Entrepreneurs may have big dreams and big ideas, but no one attempts a large business venture alone. That is why it is so important to empower your management team if you want to obtain VC funding.

The Value of Management for Venture Capitalists

One of the most important qualities a VC firm looks for in a startup business is the management team. The VC firm wants to know that the team has quality leaders who are experienced in their field of expertise. Their experience will become invaluable in making decisions for the startup company as it meets challenges, especially if management team members have previously gone through the experience of a startup company.

However, what good is expert management team advice if an entrepreneur doesn’t empower them to make decisions? Many times an entrepreneur has assembled a powerful management team for the sake of obtaining VC financing. But ego and the allure of power prevented them from taking valuable advice and resulted in poor decisions for the company.

What can you do to empower your management team and be in a better position for VC funding?

• Trust – Learn to trust the experience of your management team. You will have a better chance at VC funding if you trust your team to pull from their education and experience.

• Encourage – Don’t forget that even experienced managers need encouragement too. Learn to encourage their input, and reward managers for great ideas and winning decisions.

• Provide Resources – A manager who has the resources he or she needs is more likely to help your company get VC financing. Make sure you provide money, technology, and even human resources that will help a manager help your company look great for VC firms.

It takes a village of qualified people from a wide angle of fields to make a startup company work. VC firms know this fact, and your funding depends on a company having the right management team. Be sure you empower your team to get the highest results.

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

What you state in your business plan says a lot about the future success of your business.  Venture capital firms have witnessed plenty of successful new businesses that started with a sound business plan.  VC firms know what should be included in a business plan – and what should not.  They also know the qualities that a business plan should possess if it is worthy of their time and money.

What are the qualities that VC firms like to see?  Here are 10 that should be in your business plan:

# 1. A Brilliant Idea

No plan is complete without a nugget of a great idea.  The idea is what sparks the interest of a VC firm.  The rest will solidify their interest, but it all starts with an exciting idea.

# 2. Brevity

VC firms don’t have time to review every business plan that is put in front of them.  Make sure yours is brief and succinct and contains the main compelling points that are of interest to a VC firm.

# 3. Clarity

Be absolutely clear about what your idea is and how it will achieve success.

Do you know who will buy your product?  What are the demographics? How will you market to them?  Let your potential VC funding firm know that you completely understand your market.

# 5. Show a Large Market

VC firms will invest in startup companies with a potential for big earnings – which means having a big target market.  Show VC firms that your product will fit into a large market.

Why will your target market buy your product rather than the competition?  This needs to be addressed honestly and with crystal clear focus so VC firms know why you set apart.

# 8. Management Team

The quality of your management team will be a top priority for VC firms.  Show that you have a team assembled with the best experience and qualifications.

# 10. Avoid Anonymity or ‘Hiding’

Don’t try to hide information a VC firm.  Your plan will more likely be rejected.