To wrap up the Development Series, we’ll be looking at the following under Securing Grants and Investments for your Business.
- A brief explanation of various stages of funding
- How to set your startup/business for funding
- Best platforms to access funding opportunity
A brief explanation of various stages of funding.
Pre-Seed Funding: The bootstrapping stage
Seed Funding: Product development stage
Series A Funding: First round of VC
Series B Funding: Second round of VC
Series C Funding: Third round of VC
Series D Funding: Special round of funding
IPO: Stock market launch pre-seed funding…
The earliest stage of funding a new company comes so early in the process that it is not generally included among the rounds of funding at all. The most common “pre-seed” funders are the founders themselves, as well as close friends, supporters and family. Things are very shallow. At this stage, the funds that go into your business is what we call the founder’s fund i.e support from family and friends. Here, you are securing some basic tools for your business to get started. At this stage, there is no official money.
This is the first official fund for your business. It can be either an equity fund or Grant.
Difference between Equity and Grant
An equity fund means a fund that is given by a potential investor. So what the person(the investor) stands to gain is the percentage share of your business. That share is a share in the profit. Grants are usually “free” money.
Some companies never extend beyond seed funding into Series A rounds or beyond. So, seed funds help you to set up the necessary structures to help your business gain tractions. Tractions can be product development, customer acquisition, etc.
Series A Funding
At this stage, you have developed your product and started generating revenue. Investors here are usually ventured capitalists…their major interest is revenue and scalability. So, this fund is used to scale product across different markets.
This is the first investors to come on board, then attract other investors. This is why it’s advisable for you to do your research properly before onboarding investors. Because that could determine the investment future of your business.
Series B Funding
At this stage, you have already developed substantial user bases and have proven to investors that your business is ready for success on a larger scale. Series B funding is used to grow the company so that it can meet these levels of demand.
At this stage, you want to increase your production capacity to meet market demands. So, the fund is used to acquire the necessary infrastructures to enable your Business to meet demands.
Series C Funding
At this stage, you’re already successful as a business… however, this fund is used to develop new products, explore new markets, or even acquire other companies.
Series D funding
Not many startups find a need to go to this stage. The Series D funding stage allows entrepreneurs to raise funds for a special situation. For instance, a merger and also if it has not yet hit its growth goal.
usually, the startup is contemplating a merger with a competitor on agreeable terms.
IPO is the process of offering corporate shares to the general public for the first time. This is usually an exit point for all major investors. It’s to allow startup owners to exit some or all of their ownership by selling the shares to the general public.
How to Prepare your Business for Funding
- Draft out your Lean Business Model Canvas.
We learnt this last week. Click here
The business model canvas is like the architectural design of your business. It’s your business blueprint. This is because it covers every detail about your business and helps you to stay on track.
- Use your business model canvas to draft a pitch deck and practise pitching as many times as possible.
- Maintain a proper financial record of all your income(revenue), and expenses. Every funding opportunity, be it grant or equity, even loans require a detailed financial record.
You must properly account for how money enters and leaves the business. First, it’s a prove of traction…ie your business is generating revenue. Secondly, it shows the founders ability to manage future funds.
- Ensure to complete all necessary registrations and acquire relevant licenses. Lack of relevant registrations and licenses can stop your business from access to bigger markets as well as funds. Hence, you must identify and acquire relevant licenses and registrations.
- Join a Community and stay active
A tree can not make a forest…. you need a community where you can access necessary business incubation, supports, and investments.
- Step out and hustle
As a founder, how fast or slow your business grows is largely dependent on you. Scout for available funding opportunities and apply! Many times you are going to be rejected, don’t quit…it’s part of the process. You have to literally hustle for funds…be it grants or equity investment.
- Focus on customers, not investors.
If you spend so much time chasing investors, you will be frustrated, but if you focus more time on developing your products/service, and gaining tangible tractions, investors will beg you to collect their money. So, build something that attracts customers, when they come… Investors come with them.
Best platforms to access funding opportunities. For grants
Registering with these platforms would keep you in the know regarding available funding opportunities.
Note that these platforms also provide a comprehensive list of investors in Africa and their industries.
Business Incubation Hubs
As a start-up, you need proper business incubation and support. It’s easier to access better opportunities and get recognition faster, at the early stage of your business development…than when you’re alone.
Also, hubs connect you to relevant skills and co-founders. So, identify available hubs in your city and apply.
So, here are few things you need to do…
Visit https://upskillnetwork.org/community and get registered for free, to enable you to access full support from our community.
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