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What Do Investors Look For In Startups?



Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

While you, as a startup entrepreneur, search for suitable investors, investors also hunt for favorable enterprises to invest in. This article will explore startup investments from the viewpoint of a potential investor.

Before diving into the subject, let’s analyze the current state of global VC funding to get a clear picture of what is happening in the investors’ world. According to the latest EY report on venture capital investment trends, 2022 was not a good year for VC-backed businesses & startups.

2022 in light of Global VC Investment!

In Q3 2022, venture capital (VC) investment fell by 37% from $60 billion in Q2 to $37 billion invested, continuing to deteriorate from the record-breaking levels of 2021. 2022 is already the second-highest investment year on record, despite this large decline. Additionally, we anticipate that overall investment will surpass $200 billion for a second consecutive year, and VC funding will surpass $100 billion for the fifth straight year.

This is because the investor will ultimately decide whether or not to invest in your business; therefore, you must be aware of and consider what is going through these investors’ minds while they search for investment prospects.

Related: 3 Alternatives to Venture Capital Funding for Startups

You may have considered strategies to enable investors to find your concept intriguing. But have you ever thought about the qualities investors seek in new businesses?

The following are the key characteristics that investors search for in a company before investing in it:

1. A product or service that stands out

Your product doesn’t need to be unique to stand out from the competition, but you must have extraordinary market penetration strategies. According to GrowthBusiness – “It sounds obvious, but one of the most valuable things a business can have is uniqueness or something that makes it stand out from the competition.”

You should remember that investors frequently communicate with other business owners like yourself, so they will also be comparing your products to their alternatives. As a result, you must be certain that your service or product dominates the market or that you have a realistic plan to do so.

You must distinctly articulate how you differ from your competitors, why an investor would be better off investing in your company, and how your product would outperform its rivals in terms of market share.

Additionally, you must show that there is a significant need for your products in the market, as this will justify your chances of success. Defining market issues and your remedies to those issues is the proper technique for preparing your pitch.

Investors look for this element in every pitch since it demonstrates a business owner’s capacity for and approach to issue resolution.

Related: 7 Factors That Make a Brand Stand Out

2. A well-defined possibility for growth

So you’ve released your product into the market, established a presence for yourself through effective marketing techniques, and created a market space for your business.

But have you considered how to sustain that position while still growing your reach and growth? As a startup entrepreneur, your primary aim is to capture a market with your product and build means to preserve your industry standing. As Neil Patel said, one of the topmost reasons behind 90% of startup failures is the unavailability of a proper business model.

Startup investors seek firms with evident development potential. As a result, it is critical to describe the major growth factors you will rely on after you enter the market.

You should emphasize the expertise you will require to accelerate your growth and the technical outline of your future objectives, segmented into phases — this will indicate your entrepreneurial earnestness. You should also consider how you want to remain competitive while establishing a profitable enterprise.

Related: The Key to Achieving Your Company’s Growth Strategies Is Talent

3. A sound financial strategy

Investors will be curious about the whereabouts of their funds. To avoid financial difficulties and be prepared for any potential problems, there ought to be clear strategies for handling the financial components of the firm. It is essential to have a solid financial strategy.

The amount you anticipate your product will bring in and what percent of it will be a profit should be indicated by numbers. A potential investor will be able to see from these the growth rate of your firm. Fundable published a story on this topic that says that every amount of traction counts in a startup pitch, so don’t be afraid to mention it in your pitch to investors, no matter how insignificant it may seem compared to your larger goals.

Additionally, you must have a carefully determined plan for managing cash inflow and outflow. Furthermore, you must retain financial transparency; you do not need to misrepresent the level of your resources or skills.

It’s crucial to remember that risks play a significant role whenever money is at stake. Therefore, maintaining openness will increase the investor’s trust in you.

Related: 7 Financial Strategies for Business Owners Who Want to Live the Good Life

4. Properly delineated strategies for using investment funds

Once you’ve chosen what you want from an investor, you should have a clear strategy in place for how much money you’ll need as an investment and how you’ll use that money to grow your company.

The investor can opt not to invest in your business if your goals are unclear. The financial model’s underlying assumptions must be fully disclosed to the investor, a collection of pro forma financials, including these things:

  • an income statement
  • a balance sheet
  • a cash flow statement
  • an examination of return on investment using capital planning methods
  • multiple ROI calculations.

You must provide your justifications for why you require the investor’s money. The investor would be interested in how you would use the funding you seek. But more significantly, they want to know if you can achieve what you’re proposing.

Remember that financial considerations mostly drive the relationship you’re attempting to develop with potential investors. A well-defined framework of fund allocations supported by well-evaluated proof of financial projections is required for investors to have confidence that their money will be in safe hands and generate profitable ROI over a certain timeframe.

5. A competent team of personnel

You don’t need a large crew to be seen as a worthy entrepreneur. Investors typically want to see subject matter specialists on your staff. TechCrunch has come up with an interesting piece of information that says the only slide both successful and unsuccessful pitch decks had included is the “Team” slide.

Your team needs members who are experts in the field in which your company operates and not just business specialists. For instance, you need blockchain professionals on your team if your company is developing a product in the domain of blockchain technology.

The goal is to persuade investors that you have the workforce necessary to turn your ideas into reality and promote your business’s financial or developmental growth. To assure the investor of your abilities, each team member should be a crucial contributor to the development potential of your company.

6. A secure exit plan

When investors invest money in businesses, they do so with the hope of seeing a profit later on when the business is sold, becomes public or is refinanced by another organization.

A startup entrepreneur should have at least a rudimentary understanding of how the investors will leave and receive their return even in the early stages of the business startup. The business plan you give to prospective investors should outline your exit strategy.

By reviewing your documented exit strategy, investors will also see that you recognize their need to have their funds refunded at a certain juncture. You need to make it apparent that you don’t expect them to continue supporting your business indefinitely.

Related: Exit Strategy Through the Eyes of an Angel Investor

You and your investors may sell out of the investment jointly if the firm is sold to another business. However, there may be a situation in which you would like to keep owning and running the company. If so, you’ll need to provide the investors with other exit options.

You need to focus on these technical issues on your exit strategy slide:

  • List companies which are the potential buyers of your company.
  • List your competitors or similar startups who have successfully exited.
  • Project and add the valuation of your company at the time of exit.

Over to you

To sum up, capturing an investor’s attention with your business plan will be simple if you are a driven entrepreneur with a vested interest in the outcome and can show considerable growth potential. But remember that the best way to create a strategy for seeking funding from an investor is to consider things from their point of view.

It won’t be tough to win over potential startup investors if you learn to think like them. Finding the proper investor who will invest the appropriate sum of money under reasonable conditions will need some homework. But if you have faith in what you’re doing, keep working hard until you find what you are looking for, even if it takes some time.

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5 Steps to Expand Your Vision and Start Living Your Dreams



Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Have you ever settled for less than what you wanted, avoided risks and played it safe? Maybe you had big dreams and ambitions but later convinced yourself that they were too unrealistic or you couldn’t achieve them.

It’s normal to feel this way, but settling for less than what you genuinely want can lead to a life of regret and unfulfillment. Pursuing something you’re passionate about can be gratifying and fulfilling, even if you don’t ultimately achieve your goal.

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Learn to Build a ChatGPT Bot for Only $30



Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

ChatGPT has already been called the smartest AI chatbot released, and it only took five days for the chatbot to accrue a million visitors. AI might be poised to change everything, but you could also learn how to use it for your own business.

The 2023 Ultimate AI ChatGPT and Python Programming Bundle shows you how to build your own ChatGPT AI bot, learn to code, and more. If you want to see what AI can do for your business, grab this course bundle for only $29.97 during our Spring Digital Blowout.

ChatGPT can help you write in a variety of coding languages. Python 3 is used to write code for machine learning and AI, and you can start learning the basics in Python 3: From ZERO to GUI Programming.

Once you have some expertise with Python, start learning to use Python Tkinter, a tool that you can use to program your own ChatGPT bot. Hugo Ferro teaches Python Tkinter from Beginner to Winner, a one-hour course that can help you explore the best practices for coding and learn about event-driven programming.

When you’re ready to create your own ChatGPT AI bot, there are two final courses to take to show you how it’s done. One will walk you through creating multiple Tkinter projects, while the other shows you how to correct your code. You may not be a master of Python yet, but you also might not have to be: open your OpenAI account and ask ChatGPT to correct your code for you.

Enhance your skills and learn how to build an AI chatbot that does what you want with the AI ChatGPT and Python bundle on sale for $29.97 (Reg. $2,786) through April 3 at 11:59 pm PT.

Prices subject to change.

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If You Have a Business, You Have Passwords to Manage



Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Working your way up to starting your own business is challenging, so it makes sense that many early startups are lean in terms of size and resources. While an IT team might be limited, the need for security and reliability remains as important as ever.

Enter Dashlane. Dashlane helps streamline data security for companies of all sizes. It’s a password management platform that is trusted by over 20,000 companies — and for good reason: Dashlane keeps users’ data private and safe with best-in-class security.

Dashlane encrypts all customer data with AES-256 encryption—the first open-cipher approved by the NSA to be made accessible to the public that protects information at a “Top Secret” level. Dashlane also uses ARGON2, cutting-edge cryptography features, and automatic user-vault updates to keep your data as safe as possible.

When you set your team up with Dashlane, you’ll save time and energy with easy deployment, end-to-end protection, and compatibility with G Suite, Microsoft, and several other identity providers. You’ll also get proactive breach notifications for everyone in your organization, and you can ensure maximum protection through effortless 2FA enforcement.

There are many examples of how your Dashlane membership will save you and your business time. With Dashlane, you can access and manage all of your passwords in one place. You can share unlimited passwords without actually revealing them, and you can access accounts easily with seamless autofill features. A user can also store financial, medical, and personal information in their Dashlane vault.

With its never-been-breached record, Dashlane maintains impressive average ratings of 4.5/5 stars on Trustpilot from over 4,000 reviews and 4.5/5 stars on the Google Play store from more than 175,000 reviews. It was also named App of the Day on the App Store.

For more specific success stories, head to Dashlane’s website and learn how it helped organizations like Mercy Medical, which reported that it sped up access to its systems by 60 percent after signing up while improving both cybersecurity posture and HIPAA compliance. You also might enjoy the excellent case study chronicling how Dashlane helped RevGenius reduce its offboarding risks.

Looking to try Dashlane for your business? Start a free trial today.

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