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创业公司估值计算方法——公司到底值多少钱 July 30, 2013

Posted by Ian Cheng in Funding.
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2013-07-24 中国投行联盟

你会如何度量一个公司的价值?更进一步说,如果这个公司是你在一个月之前创立的 — 你如何判断初创公司的价值?在你为公司筹集资金的时候,这就是你会问自己的问题。

让我们从基础的东西看起。估值也就是公司的价值。有一些人就是靠预测价值谋生的。因为大部分情况下,你是对某些可能发生也可能不发生的事情进行估值,所以合理的假设和基于经验的猜测是必不可少的。

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为什么创业公司的估值很重要?

估值对创业者很重要,因为它决定了他们在换取投资时需要交给投资者的股权。在早期阶段公司的价值接近于零,但估值要高出不少。为什么呢?比方说,你正在寻找在10万美元左右的种子投资,换取您公司的10%左右的股权。这是典型的交易。那么,你的投资前估值将是100万美元。然而,这并不意味着你的公司现在价值100万美元。你很可能卖不出这个金额。在早期阶段的估值更多看重的是增长潜力而不是现值。

在早期如何计算你公司的估值?

先搞清楚你需要多少钱才能成长到业务呈现显著增长的阶段,从而可以开始下一轮融资。比方说,这个数字是10万美元,可以让你持续18个月。投资者一般不太会想压低这个金额。为什么呢?因为你表明了这是你成长到下一阶段需要的最低金额。如果你拿不到这笔钱,你的业务就不会增长 – 这不符合投资者的利益。因此,我们可以说,投资金额就是这样了。

现在,我们需要弄清楚要给投资者多少股权。它无论如何不可能超过50%,因为这将使你,也就是创始人,失去努力工作的动力。同样,它也不能是40%,因为这样留给下一轮投资者的空间就很小了。如果你得到一大笔种子资金,30%将是合理的。可在咱们讨论的这个情况下,你要的不过是10万美元的相对小额投资。所以,你可能会给出5-20%的股权,具体比例取决于你的估值。

正如你看到的,10万美元投资定了。 5%-20%的股权也已经谈妥。这就确定了投资前估值是介于50万美元(如果用20%股权交换10万美元投资)和200万美元(如果用5%股权交换10万美元投资)之间。

具体会落在这个范围的哪个数上呢? 1.这将取决于其他投资者如何看待同类公司的价值。 2.取决于你能让投资者在多大程度上相信你真的会快速增长。

如何确定估值?

种子阶段

早期的估值通常被描述为“艺术而不是一门科学”,可这样说对理解估值没什么帮助。还是让我们使它更像一门科学吧。让我们来看看究竟有哪些因素会影响估值。

牵引力

(译者注:行话叫Traction,这个词翻译成牵引力完全驴唇不对马嘴,像是颈椎接受某种治疗似的。可是暂时咱也没有更好的译法,只可意会不可言传了。就连老外也解释不好这个词,比如,在这篇好文《Traction到底是他妈的什么意思?》里也颇解释了一番。总之,它的意思就是创业公司现在进展的情况,比如有多少用户,有多少收入,有哪些名人在帮你忽悠,诸如此类)。

所有可以向投资者展示的东西中,牵引力是对他们最有说服力的。公司存在的重点是获得用户,如果投资者看到你已经有用户 ,那么牵引力的证据就很充分了。

那么,有多少用户?

如果所有其他的事情都对你不利,但你有10万用户,那么你就有一个很好的融资100万美元的机会(假设你在6-8个月内就吸引到了这么多用户)。你吸引用户的速度越快,他们的价值就越大。

声誉。有一种声誉是类似于杰夫·贝索斯(译者注:亚马逊CEO)的人们才能拥有的,不管他的下一个点子是什么都能确保很高的估值。有以往的成功创业经历的创业者也往往会获得更高的估值。但有些人既没有牵引力也没有显著的成功历史,照样获得了投资。有两个例子浮现在我脑海中。

Instagram的创始人Kevin Systrom,凭着当时还叫Brnb的产品原型就在种子阶段获得额度为50万美元的第一笔投资。Kevin在谷歌工作了两年,但除此之外,他并无重大的创业成功经历。 Pinterest的创始人Ben Silbermann有着同样的故事。在他们的案例中,他们各自的风险投资家说,他们是凭自己的直觉投资。虽然它作为方法用处不大,但如果你能学会如何展现自己善于成事的形象,缺乏牵引力和声誉就不会妨碍你在较高的估值下融资。

收入。收入对于B2B的创业公司比对消费类创业公司更重要。有收入使公司的估值更为容易。

对于消费类创业公司来说,有营业收入可能反而会降低估值,即使是暂时的。这是有道理的。如果你在向用户收费,你就会增长得更慢。增长缓慢意味着在更长的期间里融资更少。估值会更低。这似乎与直觉不符,因为收入的存在意味着创业公司离真正赚钱更近了。但创业公司的核心不仅仅是赚钱,而是在赚钱的同时快速增长。如果增长不够快,那么我们看到的只是一个传统的商业模式。

最后两个要点不会直接让你获得高的估值,但他们会有帮助。

分销渠道:即使你的产品可能处于非常早期的阶段,你也可能已经有一个分销渠道。例如,您可能已经在一个社区做过门到门的地毯销售业务,该社区的几乎每位住户都在风险投资公司上班。现在,你已经有一个针对风险投资从业者的分销渠道了。或者您可能建了一个猫咪照片的Facebook页面,获得了1200万个“赞”,现在这个页面可能成为你的猫粮产品分销渠道。

行业的热度。投资者都是跟风的。对于热门的东西,他们会愿意支付一些溢价。

你需要高估值吗?

不一定。当你在种子这一轮得到一个高估值,下一轮你就需要更高的估值。这意味着你在两轮之间需要增长非常多。

一个经验总结是,在18个月内你需要证明你的业务规模增长了十倍。如果你做不到,你要么接受通常是很不利的条款来进行一次低估值融资,还得寄希望于有人愿意往一个缓慢增长的业务里扔更多的钱;要么就等着耗尽现金后关门大吉。

融资策略可以归结为以下两种:

其一是,要么做大要么关张。尽可能以最高的估值拿到尽可能多的资金,然后把钱快速花掉以获得最快的增长。如果你成功实现了高增长,你在下一轮会得到一个高得多的估值,高到能吸收掉你的种子轮的所有成本。具体说,如果增长较慢的创业公司将被稀释55%股权,增长较快的创业公司则只会被摊薄30%。这样,你等于把自己在种子轮交换出去的的25%股权给挣回来了。基本上,你等于得到了免费的资金和免费的投资咨询。

其二是,根据进展情况融资。只在绝对需要的时候融资。尽可能少花钱。瞄准一个稳定的增长率。让创业公司稳步增长没有错,稳步提高估值也没有错。虽然这种方式可能不会让你成为新闻人物,但你会在下一轮融资成功。

A轮融资

这里的主要度量是增长。你在过去的18个月内增长了多少?增长意味着牵引力。它也可能意味着收入。通常情况下,如果用户群不增长,收入也不会增长(因为在你达到极限之前,你只能向你现有的客户收这么多钱)。

投资者在此阶段使用乘数方法确定估值,也叫可比方法,该方法Fred Wilson曾经阐述过。这个意思是,总有一些公司和你的公司足够相似。因为在这个阶段你已经有收入,想确定你的估值,我们只需要确定估值是收入的多少倍 – 或者换句话说,乘数是多少。该乘数可以从这些类似公司得到。一旦我们得到了乘数,我们就拿它来乘以你的收入,从而产生你的估值。

投资者角度

当你把你的所有牌放在桌面上的时候,重要的是要了解投资者是怎么想的。

首先他们会考虑的是退出机制 – 几年之后这家公司能卖多少钱。我说卖,因为IPO是非常罕见的,几乎不可能预测哪些公司会走到这一步。让我们非常乐观地说,投资者认为,像Instagram那样,你的公司将能卖到10亿美元。 (这只是一个例子,所以不要纠结于它如何不现实,这仍然是可能的。)

接下来,他们会考虑一共要花掉多少钱,才能让你的公司成长为到有人愿意花10亿美元买下的程度。在Instagram的例子里,他们一共获得了5600万的投资。这有助于我们弄清楚最后投资者能赚到多少钱。 $10亿 – $5600万 = 9.4亿美元。这就是该公司创造的价值。让我们假设,如果有任何债务,他们都已经被扣除,运营成本也已经刨除出去了。所以在Facebook买下Instagram的那天,所有参与Instagram创业过程的人们一起赚到了9.4亿美元。

接下来,投资者将弄清楚她在其中占到的比例。如果她在种子阶段投资了Instagram,比方说20%。 (这里的一块复杂的是,她可能得到优先股,这意味着她可以在其他人之前优先变现,此外,还有可能一部分投资是可转换债权,这给了她在以后以预设价格购买股权的期权,这叫做“封顶”)。基本上,所有这些都只是反稀释的措施。那些早期的投资者不希望被后进来的买下公司33%股份的VC稀释太多的股权。就是这样。假设到最后,如《创业基金是如何运作的》一书中提到的,天使投资人的股权被稀释到4%。 9.4亿美元的4%是3760万美元。说起来,这是我们最好的情况。

3760万美元是投资者确定她能从你的创业公司赚到钱的最大值了。所以,如果你用4%的股权交换了300万美元投资 – 这会给投资者带来10倍的回报,他们可以赚到十倍投入的钱。现在我们来说说。顶级VC投资的创业公司中,大约只有三分之一能产生这样的回报率。

估值真的有那么重要吗?

考虑两个场景: Dropbox vs Instagram

Dropbox和Instagram一开始都是一个人的独角戏。他们也都曾经价值超过10亿美元。但是他们从非常不同的估值开始:

Drew Houston找了Y-Combinator,在那里他用Dropbox 5%的股权换取了约2万美元的投资。估值是40万美元(投资前)。

Kevin Systrom找了基线风险投资公司,并用Brbn(Instagram的前身)20%的股权获得50万美元投资。估价是250万美元。

为什么两者估值如此不同?而且更重要的是,回过头来看,起初的估值是否重要呢?

其他影响估值的因素

期权池。期权池只不过是为未来的员工预留的股票。为什么这样做呢?因为投资者和你都希望能确保有足够的好处吸引高手到你的创业公司来工作。但是预留出多少呢?通常情况下,期权池比例是在10-20%之间的某个数字。

期权池越大,你的创业公司估值越低。为什么呢?因为期权池是你未来的员工的价值,是你现在还没有的东西。这些期权被设置为暂时不授予任何人。因为它们被从公司划出去了,期权池的价值基本会被从估值中扣除。

看看这个帐是怎么算的。比方说,您的投资前估值为400万美元。现在来了100万美元的新投资。投资后的估值现在是500万美元。 VC给了你一个“条款表” – 这仅仅是一个合同,包含了给你投资的条件,这些你也可以谈判。条款表上说,VC要求在投资前估值中扣除完全稀释后的15%作为期权池。这里的意思就是,我们需要拿出500万美元(投资后估值)的15%,即75万美元,并把它从投资前估值中扣除(400万美元减去75万美元)。所以,现在公司真正的估值仅为325万美元。

AngelList新推Syndicates功能,让普通投资者也能募集基金并获得收益分成 July 29, 2013

Posted by Ian Cheng in Funding.
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软件正在吞噬世界,这一口咬到的是 VC 的油手。

AngelList新推出一项名为Syndicates的功能,让单个天使投资人可以像 VC 找 LP 募集基金一样,找其他个人投资者筹钱,还能获得总投资收益的 20%,这笔钱在 VC 那边通常被叫做 Carry,是它把投资者和管理者的利益绑到了一起。

从实例来看:Sara 是一位个人投资者,想给一家创业公司投资 25 万。她可以先自己出 5 万,其余部分找别的投资者联合投资(Syndicate)。她把这单投资跟其他投资者分享,讲明她会从剩下 20 万投资的收益中抽取 20% 的 Carry,然后愿意出钱的投资者就和 Sara 一起筹资 25 万,投资了这家创业公司。

Sara 的联合投资人为何要支付这笔 Carry 给 Sara 呢?因为 Sara 贡献了投资机会和基金管理,还能帮助这家公司增值。Sara 可以依据自己的洞见来选择联合投资人,拿聪明的资本来投资,她会管理这笔基金,帮助联合投资人盈利,最好她可以利用自己的资源帮到创业公司,让大家都有钱赚。

要想明白 Syndicates 对传统 VC 的冲击,先得明白传统 VC 的运作机制是怎样的。VC 先是找 LP(Limited Partners) 筹集一期基金,然后拿这笔钱投给那些他们觉得靠谱的公司。VC 会抽取占基金总额 2% 的钱作为每年的管理费用,说小也不小,但 VC 真正的追求是基金总收益的 20%,也就是 Carry。

可以看出,Syndicates 同 VC 的机制很像,不同的是,在 Syndicates 中联合投资人不用向发起人支付管理费用,发起人还需要至少投入占总基金 10% 的资金,最后 AngelList 作为平台方,会抽取基金利润的 5%,以后可不是一个小数。

Syndicates 让那些钱不多、资源多的投资人有机会扮演 VC 的角色,由于自己投入了真金白银(10% 啊),也会更上心。目测天使投资人的影响力会更大,早期投资会更复杂。不久前美国完全放开了众筹融资的渠道,Outbox在AngelList上微融资了500万美元的A轮,SEC 对 Syndicates 也是大开绿灯,未来这一领域还会有更多炸弹可以期待。

Where to Start Your Startup: The Top Cities by Cost and Taxes July 26, 2013

Posted by Ian Cheng in Funding.
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by Mitchell Fox

This post was made in conjunction with an infographic on entrepreneur.com called The 7 Hottest Startup Scenes

Living and working in the Bay Area is expensive! Really expensive! At the same time, you can’t beat the vibrant startup and technology ecosystem. Several tech scenes across the country are in various stages of development, and giving the Bay Area increased competition for standing as the hub for entrepreneurship. Recent tax changes, increases in office and housing costs, and stratospheric salary expectations have all played a role in making it more expensive to start a business in San Francisco or the Silicon Valley. Will those increases push businesses and entrepreneurs to pull the plug and relocate to other cities with a lower more favorable tax environments and lower cost of living? Where will entrepreneurs go?

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I’m glad you asked… Check out our infographic for a break down of how the top 7 startup cities compare.

High Taxes in California

Last November California voters approved Proposition 30, which gave the state power to raise income taxes on the top 1% of taxpayers. These income tax increases, along with significant budget cuts, have given California its first budget surplus in many years and a balanced budget for the foreseeable future. If this continues to work, other states could adopt it to deal with their fiscal problems too.

While the tax increases are targeted to high income taxpayers, many of these people are precisely the ones who make the decisions about where a business will be located. If these people flee the state as they approach the time when they might sell or IPO a business (and would suffer the biggest tax hit), will their next entrepreneurial endeavor be based elsewhere?

7-hottest-startup-scenes-us

WHY CRITICS ARE WORRIED:

  • The median tax rate in California is 9.3%; the only state whose highest tax rate exceeds it is Hawaii, and California’s rates go all the way up to 13.3%
  • California taxes capital gains and dividends at the same rate as ordinary income, unlike your Federal return where they are taxed at about half the rate of your other income.
  • The state sales tax rate is 7.5% and some municipalities tack on as much as 2.5%.
  • While the real estate tax is only 1.1% of assessed value, homes are among the most expensive in the country, averaging over $800,000.

Of course, taxes are only one of many factors influencing where companies start and flourish. California offers a rich startup ecosystem with a large pool of employers and skilled employees, not to mention venture capital and startup resources. States with much lower taxes have a long way to go to catch up on either dimension.

Where to start your startup

Still, there are plenty of places with great lifestyles, lower taxes, and booming tech scenes. Here’s a quick look at how some of the other major technology centers in the US compare.

Based on the data, Austin and Seattle both look pretty good. Austin has the lowest home prices in our analysis, and the people there are committed to “Keep Austin Weird.” Like the outdoors? Boulder, Colorado has a 4.63% income tax and the Rocky Mountains. While they may not offer as broad a choice of investors, these smaller cities are gaining traction in the race to attract startups.

Will higher taxes cause mass exodus?

I recently met an entrepreneur who’s had enough of the Bay Area’s living costs and taxes, and is moving to Austin. He launched his startup in San Francisco several years ago. Now he says, “The business case to move is just too compelling. Austin has everything we need at a much lower cost.” He’s had an office in Texas for three years. Now he’s going all-in. “This tax increase was a tipping point for me, but it’s not just about taxes. My employees can buy a large, three bedroom house in Austin for less than a one bedroom condo in Noe Valley.” His plan is to keep a business development presence in San Francisco for the foreseeable future and employees who don’t want to move can stay, but to move himself and focus hiring in the Austin office.

This is not a new story. Charles Schwab once had the bulk of its jobs in San Francisco. Now these jobs are spread among Denver, Phoenix, Austin, and Indianapolis, with a much smaller headquarters staff in San Francisco.

Texas and other states have development offices in California to woo businesses. They hope to create their own startup ecosystems to rival Silicon Valley. And it’s not just governments.

Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos, moved his company to Las Vegas almost ten years ago. Like Texas, Nevada has no income tax. He saved a bundle when he sold Zappos to Amazon. Now Hsieh is spending $350 million of his own money to promote downtown Vegas as an incubator for startup firms. He offers entrepreneurs a free ‘crash pad’ when they visit. He hopes they like it enough to move their companies.

Moving to a New State to Cash Out

One alternative to moving your company is moving yourself just before you cash-out. Remember, the taxable event is when you sell your stock. If done right, you can sell the company for stock, move, and then sell the stock you received and pay income tax in your new home state. Good legal and tax advice to get this right is obviously essential.

Where to move? States with no income tax include Florida, Nevada, Texas, and Washington. Incline Village, NV has become a favorite spot for Bay Area entrepreneurs to set up housekeeping and avoid taxes. Nevada has no income tax, 6.85% sales tax and Washoe County property tax is 1.25%. Also, it has a beautiful lake, great skiing, and legal gambling (all that post-IPO cash can weigh you down).

The question is not “Will there be an exodus?” There has been a slow exodus for many years. The question is: “Will California keep creating and attracting enough startups to stay #1?” It may take Las Vegas or Austin 25 years to challenge northern California as an incubator of new technology, but they are working on it. Zero state income tax gives them a big advantage.

The 7 Hottest Startup Scenes in the U.S. (Infographic) July 26, 2013

Posted by Ian Cheng in Funding.
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BY CATHERINE CLIFFORD
Entrepreneur.com

If you want to move to a hot startup scene without breaking the bank, consider heading to Austin, Texas. Bonus: When the music-and-technology conference South By Southwest rolls through, you won’t have to scramble to find a hotel.

Austin ranks as the No. 1 place to launch your business, according to a new ranking by GoodApril, a San Francisco-based tax-planning startup. The ranking compares the seven hottest startup scenes in the U.S. across measures that matter most to new entrepreneurs: median tech-employee earnings, maximum personal income tax, property tax, the cost of housing and the cost of office space. Perhaps surprisingly, San Francisco, the longtime Silicon Valley startup mecca, ranks as the worst place to launch, due to high costs and taxes, GoodApril found.

Florida, Nevada, Texas and Washington have no state income tax, making them good places to launch, points out Mitch Fox, a co-founder of GoodApril. Tony Hsieh saved a lot of money by moving Zappos to Nevada about a decade ago, says Fox. “It may take Las Vegas or Austin 25 years to challenge northern California as an incubator of new technology, but they are working on it. Zero state income tax gives them a big advantage,” says Fox in a blog post. See the infographic, which compares the costs of doing business in each city,

7-hottest-startup-scenes-us
Correction: An earlier version of this infographic misstated the median tech wage in San Francisco on its map image. San Francisco’s median tech wage is $123,497.

舊金山灣區工資和生活成本雙高,尚未造成人才流失 July 26, 2013

Posted by Ian Cheng in Funding.
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2013年07月24日

techcrunch.com
科技-1307-旧金山湾区工资和生活成本双高,尚未造成人才流失
根據舊金山線上稅務籌畫創業公司Good April編制的資料,舊金山灣區的科技從業者工資中位數為全美最高,達到123,497美元,但該地區的稅率和住房成本同樣比別處要高。

儘管灣區的工資和成本跟其他科技中心城市存在巨大差距,但這種情況似乎還沒有造成顯著的人才流失。

舊金山、馬林以及聖馬特奧這些地方科技從業者的工資中位數要比排名第二的波士頓地區(102,230美元)高出近21%。然而,儘管這種工資水準對一流工程師來說是福音,但也給企業家帶來了顯著的更高成本。

Good April發現,舊金山10人團隊的總薪酬平均達到1,234,970美元,而在德克薩斯州的奧斯丁,這個數字僅為932,490美元。公司創始人必須放棄的股權份額也存在巨大差異,如果你以500萬美元的估值籌集資金運營公司一年時間,你將不得不放棄27%的股權來雇傭位於舊金山的員工,這個比例在奧斯丁僅為20%。

舊金山高昂的稅率和住房成本可能對企業家和員工都造成損害。Good April公司聯合創始人米切爾·福克斯(Mitchell Fox)認為,灣區的公司必須支付較高的工資,以抵消該地區較高的生活成本;然後,較高的工資又提高了人們對房子或公寓的支付意願。

根據房地產網站Zillow提供的房價中位數資訊,在舊金山購買一棟房屋的成本遠超其他科技中心城市。舊金山的房價中位數達到805,500美元,這比紐約的535,900美元高出50%,是奧斯丁房價中位數206,600美元的近4倍。租房市場的情況並不更樂觀,6月份舊金山的房租中位數達到了3,295美元。

福克斯表示,他最近遇到一位正在將公司遷到奧斯丁的企業家,後者稱,“遷址的商業案例太吸引人了,奧斯丁擁有我們需要的一切,但成本卻要低得多。”

DeveloperAuction是一家讓創業公司競價聘請工程師和設計師的創業公司,其聯合創始人馬特·密茨凱維茨(Matt Mickiewicz)表示,該公司平臺上的資料表明,“到目前為止,沒有人正在因為高成本逃離舊金山。”他補充說,DeveloperAuction站點上的開發者中有87%的人最終並未進入提供最高工資的公司。

資訊圖表製作:Good April。

Where to Look for Investors to Fund Your Startup July 14, 2013

Posted by Ian Cheng in Funding.
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ALAN LOBOCK, CO-FOUNDER OF WORTHWORM AND SKYMALL INC.
JULY 10, 2013

where-look-investors-fundQ: Any tips on how and when to start getting to know potential investors? By the time I start to raise funding, I want them to know me.
-Ali R. Tariq
Waterloo, Canada

A: The first issue here is considering what kind of investment you’d like to pursue: angel investment or venture capital.

If you’re looking for angel investment, it’s wise to have your connections with angels established before seeking funding. Nurture these relationships, so when you’re ready to seek funding an investor not only knows your name but has had contact with you several times.

Angels may invest individually, but many also belong to an angel group. You can scout out these groups by looking at the Angel Capital Association directory for your region. Initiate contact and learn what criteria they apply to applicants for funding and the submittal process. From there, make sure to maintain casual contact with them until you are ready to seek funding.

Individual angels are harder to come by but not impossible. The best way to get in front of these investors is to attend pitch events where the presenting ventures are similar to yours and angels will be in attendance.

Networking with other entrepreneurs in your space who have secured angel financing is another way to gain introductions.

You can also check out AngelList, a website that allows angels to follow startup activity. You can either use the site to see which angels are following ventures in your space or place your venture on the site to allow interested angels to track your progress.

Finally, if your local university has an entrepreneurship program, check in with the director. He or she may be able to point you in the direction of angel investors in your area.

If you choose to go down the venture-capital route, attracting these investors at an early-stage can be challenging.

VCs tend to invest near their headquarters, especially seed-stage VCs, as they anticipate spending time with each of the companies they invest in. If you are looking for a VC firm in your area or industry, there are several online sites, like vFinance, that can help target your search. Once you find an ideal fit for your startup, visit the firm’s website to learn more about them, the criteria they apply to candidates and what other sites they have invested in.

It’s rare that a blind submittal of a business plan will gain VC interest, so networking is key. Once you have selected VCs to approach, reach out to the companies they have funded for a reference on the firm. By doing so, you are establishing a relationship with people who have direct access to the investors. Advance the relationship to a point where one or more contacts have gained some familiarity with your venture and are impressed to the extent that they will provide you with an introduction.

Also look to attend conferences where you know your targeted investors will be. Seek them out, introduce yourself, be prepared to give your elevator pitch and then ask for a follow-up meeting. If they don’t show interest, ask them to suggest other VCs who are investing in your space.

One note about VCs — they don’t like to look at opportunities that are being distributed to a large number of venture capital groups. To start out, pick no more than three venture-capital groups and see what kind of interest they express before expanding your search.

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