Securing the Bag: Making Your Startup Irresistible to Investors in the Real World.

22 May 2023

When seeking funding for your startup, it's crucial to determine if your business has the potential to attract investors. While some startups may not be suitable for investment, others possess the ability to soar with the right support. Understanding what makes a business investable is essential in evaluating your own startup's prospects and impressing potential investors. This article presents four fundamental requirements that can help your startup secure funding and make a lasting impression on investors.

  1. Scalability: Building a Foundation for Growth: Scaling is a vital aspect of any successful business. However, not all businesses can scale as easily as others. To be investable, your startup must possess the potential for significant growth. This typically involves creating a product or service that can be sold repeatedly with minimal additional costs per unit. For instance, software products and certain services can be scaled infinitely without incurring significant expenses. It's important to note that scalability should be coupled with growth at an acceptable rate, ensuring a profitable and sustainable business model.
  2. Protectability: Establishing an Unfair Advantage: For your company to be investable, it needs a protectable advantage that cannot be easily replicated by competitors. Investors need assurance that their investment will not be undermined by competitors copying your business model or product. This unfair advantage, often referred to as protectability, is essential. Various forms of protectable assets include unique software, patents, exclusive data, strong branding, or a network of users. By leveraging these assets, your startup can gain a competitive edge and provide investors with confidence in its long-term viability.
  3. Healthy Cap Table: Ensuring Ownership Integrity: Maintaining a healthy cap table, which outlines the ownership distribution of your startup, is critical. Any mismanagement or discrepancies regarding share ownership can have severe consequences for investors and employees who have invested early on. The integrity of your startup depends on maintaining transparency and ensuring that each person's ownership stake is clearly defined. Inviting investors on board should be approached with caution, as it is akin to entering a long-term partnership. Founders must consider the long-term compatibility and commitment of potential investors. Furthermore, founders should avoid selling excessive portions of the company too early, as it can hinder future investment rounds and limit their influence over the company's direction.
  4. Full-Time Founder: Demonstrating Commitment: Investors need to see that founders are fully dedicated and committed to their startups. Merely presenting an idea or concept is no longer sufficient. Founders must be willing to invest their time, effort, and passion into the venture from start to finish. If founders are not ready to make this commitment, it may be wise to reconsider the timing of their startup. Demonstrating unwavering commitment reassures investors that their investment is supported by the determination and dedication of the founders.

By adhering to these four fundamental requirements, startups can increase their chances of attracting funding and impressing potential investors. Prioritizing scalability, protectability, a healthy cap table, and founder commitment will help founders gauge their startup's potential and ensure investors feel confident in their investment decisions. Breaking these rules can jeopardize the prospects of securing funding, regardless of the quality of the startup. Therefore, aspiring entrepreneurs must diligently evaluate their startups against these requirements to maximize their chances of success in the investment landscape.

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