Finance · 10 July 2018

Top 10 tips for attracting an investor and securing funding for your startup

An investor wants to know if you are a good match for them, and it’s not just about the funds
Karen Holden, Business Advice contributor and founder of A City Law Firm, helps startup founders secure funding for their business with ten expert tips for attracting an investor and retaining their attention.

If you are looking for funding for your business, there are an array of options. However, if you’re looking to secure an investor you will need certain things in place to gain and retain their attention.

Having worked with thousands of businesses, Ive been through the journey several times and below are the things I witness being considered time and time again.

  1. A’sound business plan, financial forecast and pitch deck

This is your first opportunity to grab their interest.

Business plan

A business plan is essential since it describesthe objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial projections of your business. An effective business plan will demonstrate your understanding of the market, exit strategy for the investor, their return and your long-term goals.

Financialforecast

A financial forecast isestimated information but the closer you can evidence how you got there the better. An accurate forecast is essential to gain the trust of investors, avoids mismanaging expenses and to have a good idea of how much cash your business needs.

Pitch deck

A pitch deck is an indispensable fundraising tool.In order tocreate an impressive pitch deckyou must grab their attention. You musttell your story which answers fourmain points: what is the problem, the solution, how your business is going to achieve a solution and why your business will be successful over and above competition.

Moreover, addressing market opportunity is key since investors would like to know the market size which you are triggering and whether it is appropriate for your business idea. Finally, be prepared with a demo that looks smart and clear not overly dull. Also ensure you sell the team behind it which is as important as the idea.

  1. Be realistic

Be realistic with forecasts, valuations and growth back it up with evidence and information. Over selling loses their interest and underselling can cause issues for you down the line.

  1. Be legallyprepared

Pre-due diligence with your lawyers means you will have identified any red flags, errors or concerns which can be resolved before they are spotted by the investor.

Do you own your intellectual property (IP) Do you haveclear employment contracts, GDPR policies, terms and conditions and cash flow processes? Are there any minority shareholders that could stop the investment?

  1. Protect your intellectual property

Have your IP protected and ensure it is fully owned by you and documented an investor will want to see your IP portfolio.

Make your assignments or certificates available. IP only assigns if it’s done so in writing so check your designer’s contracts.

Have you thought about what countries you we going to expand to, is your IP registered there?

  1. Shareholder agreement

Founders must all agree with the way ahead and this should be documented in a shareholder agreement. This is a platform to develop upon and shows the investor your clearly aligned goals.

  1. Research the investor

Research the investor you are approaching so you understand theirappetite, goals, what you can offer them as well as asking if they are the right fit for you!

An investor wants to know if you are a good match for them, and it’s not just about the funds – it’s synergy, agreed goals and a strongteam. Thus, study your prospective investor, and learn about their background, previous business arrangements, and interests.

  1. Be aware of tax breaks and grants


 
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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Karen Holden is an award-winning solicitor and founder of A City Law Firm (ACLF), the go-to lawyers for entrepreneurs, startups, scale-ups, those seeking investment. In addition to being very successful lawyers for businesses , ICOs and family law, ACLF are now the UK's leading LGBT law firm and surrogacy specialists. Karen is a regular media commentator, panellist and event speaker.

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