Saturday, March 25, 2006

financing

To finance or not to finance, that is a constant question in the startup world. Many would advise to take the money if it is there, but it's a multi-faceted decision that will have you creating spreadsheet after spreadsheet in order to run what-if scenarios.

Some of the things to be considered are:

  • Capitalization Risk - how long will current capital last with projected sales? Can you get to cash flow neutral before the current cash runs out? How close will you have to cut it? What if you do a lower revenue number than projected? When do you run out of cash in the worst case scenario? Will you need to lay people off? How will that affect morale?
  • Dillution - What will your likely pre-money be (you'll need to do some comparisons by talking to other local entrepeneurs as well as banks and attorneys to get some idea of what the market will bear). Does the dillution to the current shareholders seem to be a reasonable trade-off for reducing capitalization risk?
  • Opportunity Cost - Are forces mounting that require you to accelerate some portion of your business: product development, business development, sales? Perhaps you don't have time to grow organically. Is competition increasing or the market heating up to the point you need to hire up personnel to capture more market share and support the onslaught of new customers? If so, you might want to take in more cash. New investors will also bring new networks with them that should be able to accelerate some aspect of the business.
  • Terms of Financing - You may find that current financing terms are too oppressive. In addition to the dillution, this might include: liquidation preferences, loss of control of the board, management changes required, or reverse vesting of founder shares.
Think carefully b4 you jump, but once you do, go aggressively down your chosen path. It always takes longer than you think to raise money.

Friday, March 10, 2006

sorry for the long delay

I've been quite busy lately growing the business, raising money, and growing the family (new child on the way). For those interested in the technology side, we have started a new company blog that will describe our journey with Ruby and Ruby on Rails. Check it out here.

We have finished raising our series A financing with a mix of Angels and VC money. It was a fairly easy and straight forward financing, as financings go :) I'll write a bit about some of the issues in the near future.

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