Venture capitalist firm XYZ  invests $250,000, earning 12.5% equity in Toasty Buns. Unfortunately, banks are incredibly risk-averse, and only want to provide loans that they are sure will be paid back. Competition for equity investments is high: There are far more people looking for equity investors than there are checks being written. They like knowing what percentage of a company they will own right off the bat, and they don’t like taking equity-sized risks and getting debt-sized returns, even if it’s just short-term. Giving up equity is a one-way street: Once you give up equity, you’re not likely to ever get it back. You should remain very wary of any proposal to invest in your business that requires you not to acknowledge the investment. A download link will be sent to you shortly! While angel investors and venture capitalists get all the big headlines for funding exciting companies, it’s the debt providers that are behind most of the investment dollars that go into the 99% of companies that aren’t splashed across magazine covers and business websites. While home-growing your company from your kitchen or spare bedroom bit by bit may not sound as glamorous as hitting the ground with investors already in your lineup, most investors will expect you to start there before they invest. In many cases, investors get paid through the purchase of stocks by buying the stock at one price and then reselling it at another, higher price. © 2019 All rights reserved. That means they won’t be satisfied with a cut of your profits each year. Equity investors are interested in one thing: liquidity. A Sole Proprietorship or a Limited Partnership? Your local coffee shop concept may do really well, but it doesn’t have the potential to become Google, so you’re not likely to attract many equity investors. Can Your Business Partner Sell Without Your Consent? As protection and liability can vary from state to state, seek professional legal advice to understand your responsibilities. Of course, credit is going to tie back to your personal credit at some level, so if your credit score isn’t great, or you’re trying to minimize personal risk as much as possible, credit isn’t going to do you much good. Each approach offers benefits and pitfalls. A silent investor, also called a silent partner or limited partner, offers another potential avenue for funding, but also brings pitfalls of its own. Raising equity capital takes time: No matter how prepared you are, it can easily take 3-6 months to find the right investor, and that’s not counting the time it takes to complete the final legal documents that make the money available. Before they invest in the first place, they are going to look for assurances that your idea can sell and sell big, and that that is your plan, so before you pursue the equity fundraising route, you should be sure that that is your vision as well. They’re exchanging more risk for more reward—a lot more—and they’re going to want to see results. Fundable does not recommend or otherwise suggest that any investor make an investment in a particular company, or that any company offer securities to a particular investor. Keep in mind, though, that this is just a quick overview: you’ll need to do more digging of your own before you’re ready to say for certain which method is right for you. EXAMPLE: The founders of Toasty Buns Bakery have decided to turn their business into a national chain, and they’re looking for $500,000 in equity investments at a company valuation of $2 million. This chapter provides just a quick overview of the three basic kinds of investor-based fundraising: equity, loans, and convertible debt. If the valuation was less during the exit than what it was when you invested in it, you will be faced with a loss. Debt is also the most common form of outside capital for new businesses. As collateral for these loans, Rusty offers the cars themselves, as well as mortgage on the property for the dealership, which he already owns. So as tempting as it may be to shake hands with anyone ready to write you a check, it’s important to look for investors you feel comfortable having as a part of your business for years to come. Small businesses have been called the backbone of the American economy. Oral agreements in business often carry the force of law behind them, making you responsible for carrying out your side of the agreement. When choosing a financial advisor, it helps to understand how your advisor gets paid because those who live off commissions may have different goals than advisors who work on salary. You’ll have your collateral right there, and you’ll be in position to give your investors tidy timelines. At the outset of your fundraise, you set a specific valuation for your company—an estimation of what your company is worth at that point. The way to sweeten the pot is by offering higher discounts so they will have the upside reward of paying less for equity than the next set of investors. Once you’ve decided that pursuing investors is the right route for you, you have another choice in front of you: how are you going to do it? Entrepreneur: How Should I Compensate a Silent Investor? In this video, Ivan provides important insight into how investors receive money, as well as the pros and cons of being paid back early. The other important piece of the loan puzzle is collateral: some concrete, sellable thing your lenders can take from you in the event that your business goes under and you can’t repay your loans. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and each is a better fit for some situations than others. Vetting a Sponsor – Deal Documents & Marketing Materials. Credit is comparable: In some cases, you can achieve the same goals with credit as you can with loans, since the upper limits of both tend to be about the same for business users. In general, angel investors expect to get their money back within 5 to 7 years with an annualized internal rate of return (“IRR”) of 20% to 40%. Internet companies, for example, are notorious for going years in operation without even attempting to charge their customers. Loan or debt-based fundraising is the easiest of the three varieties to understand in basics: you borrow money now and pay it back later, with an established rate of interest. No securities transactions are executed or negotiated on or through the Fundable platform. Receive email notifications whenever new videos or articles are published. Investing in a small business is a way investors can not only grow their portfolio but help local business owners on their journey to financial independence.It's a way to create, nurture, and grow an asset that can generate more than capital for an investor. Many entrepreneurs are understandably reluctant to give up equity in their company, and a straightforward debt raise has the attractive benefit of allowing you to retain ownership and control of your company. (Not) an entrepreneur’s best friend:  Entrepreneurs in the early stages of a startup tend to like convertible debt fundraising because it moves fast and keeps transaction costs low. Fundable takes no part in the negotiation or execution of transactions for the purchase or sale of securities, and at no time has possession of funds or securities. Once you’ve sold equity to an investor, that investor is a part of your world, whether you like it or not. So if you and your business are in a time crunch, equity fundraising may not be the best way to go. Prior to entering into a silent-investor agreement, you should hammer out the terms of the agreement in detail and get them in writing. Unfortunately, banks are incredibly risk-averse, and only want to provide loans that they are sure will be paid back. Silent investors brought on as limited partners may lose their investment, but typically lack responsibility for clearing the business’s debts or paying for legal judgments against the business. Once you’ve accepted their money, they will expect that endgame for your business is either sale or IPO. That’s where equity investors come in: they are willing to take risks where lenders aren’t.


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