What are the Best Current Avenues for Raising Capital?

Interview with Sandy Lawrence, Past CEO, Therative, Inc.

Situation: The technology sector is growing following a couple of lean years. Whether you want to fund a new company, or a new effort within a smaller company, what are the best avenues to capital? How has the game changed?

Advice:

  • Funding and credit markets are opening but still tight. The bar has been raised because too many people are chasing too few available dollars.
  • The venture capital sector has consolidated. Over 80% of current focus is on technology, software and medical. Under 20% goes to the consumer sector.
    • It is important to target VCs who specialize in your technology, market and business model.
    • Research current VC portfolios.
  • Angels now act more like VCs – particularly structured angel groups.
    • Initial investments are typically under $1 million.
  • If you have a technology, investigate the grant world – e.g., NIH or DARPA. These organizations fund research, but not marketing, etc.
    • Look for specific programs or RFPs that align with your technology.
    • Target your grant request toward prototype development and studies.
    • Search LinkedIn for military people who can introduce you to contacts within programs like DARPA.
  • Investigate SBA Grants, and foundations with an interest in your technology or application.
    • Foundations sometimes will grant funds ($100k) to support the work of individual scientists and researchers.
  • Call on friends and family who believe in you and your work.
  • Whoever you approach, these rules apply:
    • Do your homework. Choose sources that align with your project and profile.
    • Presentations must be crisp and easily understood. Investing in professional assistance is wise.
    • Be able to make your case in 15 minutes or less. The first minutes are most crucial, so have your ‘elevator’ pitch perfected.
    • Your model and financials must support a high multiple exit, 5-10x their investment in a reasonable period of time (~5 years).
    • Team, Team, Team – credentials, experience, presentation – be a team with whom the investor can work.

You can contact Sandy Lawrence at slawrence@therative.com

Key Words: Fund Raising, Credit, Capital, Venture Capital, Angel, SBA, Foundations, Military, Presentation  

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