So you’ve got a great idea, a passionate team and traction in the market, you’re now looking to take your business to the next level and frankly you can’t wait any longer to raise capital.
But before you ring the bell on that next investor’s door, here are 5 tips you should carefully consider to ensure long term success and to engineer a winning working relationship.
Tip 1: Be Patient
This one is the toughest. Founder frenzy is a thing and it often finds rational founders knocking on all possible doors to get the funding as fast as possible – often at the expense of giving away too much of their company, raising inadequately or losing sight of their vision.
So as much of a rush as you may be in, hold on and evaluate who you’re bringing in, because it will make all the difference as your company grows.
Tip 2: Research potential investors
Understand their portfolio, their funding approach and vision to see if your company would be the right investment for them. It is also a great idea to read up on their published articles, revisit their blogs, podcasts or interviews to get a sense of what they’re thinking. Likewise, it’s important to research not just the firm, but individual partners to get a sense of what their unique perspective on fundraising is.
Tip 3: Calibrate for personality and values
Make sure the investor feels right to you. Now this one is all about your gut. Do the interactions feel collaborative and productive? Do you feel you’re being heard and have the space to grow as a founder? Does it feel like a safe environment for you to fully express your vision? Evaluate this before getting in too deep.
Tip 4: Assess the specific value-gaps that an investor can help fill and determine his or her ability to do so.
Investors are more often than not, more than their money. They can offer valuable insights, open up new networks and unlock new opportunities. See if the investors you’ve shortlisted can deliver on this and are committed to investing in your business every step of the way.
Tip 5: How much are they willing to invest and for how long.
Now let’s talk money. What are they willing to put in, for how much share of your company and how long term is their vision? You don’t need a short term investor who’ll push you towards an exit when you’re not ready, so make sure you;re aligned on expectations well in advance.