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How to raise funds when you are a startup

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When you have a great idea to start your own business, what comes to your mind first? The first question you might have is ‘How can I start?’ or ‘Where does the money come to get this thing started?’ 

Finding the best way to finance your business can be a long painstaking journey. If you already have close friends or family who can invest in your business, which you don’t have to put some of your own money in, that would be a perfect situation. But this is not the case for everyone. There is no one right answer but in fact, there are multiple sources available to secure funds for a new startup project.

Learning to embrace and savor rejection is one of the best things that entrepreneurs can do. Launching a startup is the time to find your ever-optimistic inner child again. By Alejandro Cremades from the Art of Startup Fundraising

Here is a comprehensive list that will help raise capital for starting your own business.

1.Prepare a detailed business plan

First of all, before looking for potential investors, creating your own business plan is the most critical step. Having a detailed business plan will increase your chances of securing funds, as well as getting higher growth rates. According to the study by the Department of the Economic University of Oregon, the chances of securing funds can increase from 14% to 29% if you have a business plan.

It is important because potential lenders and investors will want to understand the essential details of your business idea. In particular, they will want to see the breakdown analysis of how long it will take for your business to turn a profit. If you can engage qualified accounting talent who can help your business plan with an accurate financial projection for the next three to five years, this will make investors decide easily whether to fund your business or not.

Startup financing is not just about raising funds, it is a holistic process that involves proper business planning with thoughtful growth targets, deciding business valuation as per the current market standards, planning potential exit options for investors. By Nucleus Partners

2.Raise money through bank loans

Once you have a solid business plan, it will help you have a better approach to get bank loans. There are two different types of bank loans you can look for: working capital loan and funding.

The working capital loan is used to provide the working capital that covers a company’s short-term operational needs, which helps pay for everyday small-business expenses, such as payroll and inventory. Funding from the bank would involve providing the business plan and valuation details, alongside the project report on which the loan was sanctioned.

For example, a US online banking platform, Kabbage offers fast access to working capital providing short-term funding up to $250,000. It can be ideal for small businesses seeking loans to cover expenses such as small inventory needs, advertising campaigns or any other purchase geared towards sustaining growth.

3.Raise funds by startup pitch competitions

Participating in a startup pitch competition could be one of the most powerful experiences for startups, especially in the early stages of the business lifecycle. It can help to bring your business to the next level, providing with different offers including meeting with possible investments, media exposure, and potential strategic partnerships.

The reason why pitch competitions have become increasingly so popular is that you can find such events wherever you are in the world. It could be costly and time-consuming as a small startup to attend such events as sometimes are required to pay a fee to enter. However, once you find the eligible and relevant event which have themes and topics matching your startup concept, more benefits will be waiting for your business. You will not only find business partners or investors but you will also get higher chances to meet different potential investors, partners, team members or even a product buyer.

4.Crowdfunding

Another popular way to raise funds for your business is by using an interactive social platform called Crowdfunding. This platform might be the quickest way of obtaining funds for a new business, which allows individuals to pitch their business ideas or challenges to an online community of investors and people who are willing to support the ideas. If the idea is attractive enough, anyone can contribute money toward helping a business.

Moreover, crowdfunding allows companies to showcase different products which can be used for marketing and advertising. This also helps to see which products are more popular and minimize the risks of the investment before moving forward.

5.Venture capitals for your startup

As the number of startups is increasing, the number of investors has also grown. Venture capitals generally come from well-off investors, investment banks, and any other financial institutions, and help finance startup companies to have long-term growth. It can also provide with other resources that can contribute to the success of the company, such as technical, managerial expertise with a mentorship program.

However, a venture capital investment tends to seek a bigger business that is already generating revenues after passing the startup phase. They also want to make their investment back, as soon as possible, within three to five years, which can be hard for smaller businesses to reach within such a time frame.

According to the data analysis by the Martin Prosperity Institute to identify which industries attract the most venture capital, they are more interested in software and technology sectors, rather than telecommunication or consumer products.

Are you prepared with your strong business plan with realistic financial projections? Which path would you like to take toward raising funds for your business?

Photo credit: Flickr CurrencyFair

With my experience working in the international development sector, I write articles about innovation and creativity.

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How to build a relationship with business angels and venture capitalists?

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When you go on a first date, you normally don’t ask the person to marry you. With business angels and venture capitalists, sometimes you simply have to, because if you don’t ask the question, you may never get a second chance. But most of the time, you need to build a relationship with them before they can entertain the idea of investing money into your company, just like in a personal relationship.

Say Thank You

You started a business and now you need funds to grow it. The first financing campaign is crucial, as you will need to be able to convince at least one investor to join in, in order to stabilize the company’s finance and start developing. But it is not the only time you will need to meet with business angels and venture capitalists. In fact, this process should be part of your short- and longer-term strategy, because the bigger your company will grow, the more funding you’ll need.

Let us share a little secret that will go a long way. As you are contacting and meeting with investors, take the time to send them thank you cards. First, it will show them that you are into details and that is something they like in an entrepreneur. Secondly, it has a good chance to remain around them for a little while (on their desk, briefcase…) and will act as a reminder of your endeavour. Finally, it just might be the one thing that makes them pick-up your call the next time, if only to say thank you in return and then it will be another chance for you to seize the opportunity.

Keep Them Informed

There is nothing more exciting for an investor than to see a company grow. The only way they can be aware of your development is if you keep them informed. Of course, this communication needs to be balanced, otherwise, they will shut it down by sending your mails directly into their trash or they simply won’t pick-up your calls anymore.

One good way to go about this, is to keep a monthly newsletter aimed at them. Its content should focus only on your monthly achievements and results from previous ones. They need to see that you are delivering on what you were promising when you originally met with them. You may think they have better things to do, but they don’t. Their job is to find the next Microsoft or Uber of the world, and to do that, they need information. Bringing it to them is almost like a gift… if done right and in moderation.

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Will Innovation Beat Coronavirus?

Coronavirus (CoV) is a new strain that was not identified in humans but originated from a group of viruses responsible for illness such as common cold, SARS and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

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Coronavirus (CoV) is a new strain that was not identified in humans but originated from a group of viruses responsible for illness such as common cold, SARS and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), these viruses are zoonotic for they are spread between people and animals. The disease at its initial stage exhibits respiratory symptoms such as breathing difficulties, shortness of breath, cough and fever. A patient with coronavirus is diagnosed with SARS, kidney failure, pneumonia at an advanced stage and ultimately, the patient dies out of these complications.

The standard prevention of spreading infection is regular hand washing, as well as covering one’s nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing. Further cooking eggs and meat thoroughly is important for it stops the transfer of viruses from animals to humans.

The disease has attracted increased attention across the world due to the number of reported deaths and for that reason, WHO has declared this disease a global health emergency. In view of that, the question in people’s mind is whether innovation will beat the coronavirus. Continue reading this article for in-depth insight.

Can the Spread of Coronavirus be stopped?

Researches, medical experts, scholars and governments are working at cutting off the infections. People wearing surgical masks have become a standard feature across the world’s airports, streets and other public places.

However, according to the Australian Government department of Health as of February 10, 2020, 06:00 hrs, the fatality rate was 2.16%, and 813 persons had died while 37,562 were confirmed to be infected. Australia has 15 patients among these reported cases scattered across its major cities.

Several universities are applying computer modelling technology to establish the rate of infection. The results from the modelling indicate that the new coronavirus case is infecting nearly 2.5 people. The University of Hong Kong reported that More than 75,800 people were infected in regions such as Wuhan between January 25th and 31st.

Further, experts warn that these techniques can’t estimate the rates of fatality at the initial stages of an outbreak due to its likelihood to mutate with new infections. Thus, it has become difficult to tell whether genetic changes will cause the virus to be more or less virulent.

The recent coronavirus outbreak in China is reported to surpass the SARS epidemic that occurred in 2002 -2003 and killed 774 people across the world. The number of reported deaths is still questionable since most testing facilities in Chinese laboratories and hospitals lack modern equipment and are under severe strain.

Wearing masks remains controversial since there is limited evidence and people have a different opinion about it. However, these masks assist in reducing the transmission of aerosols among individuals through sneezing and coughing.

Will Innovation Beat Coronavirus?

The answer to this mindboggling question is yes. The article provides several reasons that demonstrate that the use of innovation and technology will bring down this disease as it did with other epidemics. The following innovative initiatives are ongoing with a view of bringing the spread of this disease under control.

  • WHO has established research and innovation forum across the globe to exploit the power of science in mitigating the spread of the disease. Bringing the scientific community under one roof to discuss research priorities, tools and to accelerate progress is the current role that WHO is playing.

It intends to use innovation to develop therapies, vaccines and diagnoses, among others. The forum will help them identify the research areas like source if the virus, share genetic sequences and biological samples.

The participants and experts will improve the existing MERS and SARS research in addition to accelerating medical products and scientific information needed to minimize the effects of coronavirus outbreaks.

  • Scientists are using innovation to produce coronavirus vaccines. They did the same with the Ebola outbreak in West African between 2014 and 2016 as well as Zika epidemic that struck Latin America in 2016.

Technology is shaping the clinical trial of these vaccines, while innovation is scaling up its production. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is financing the creation of coronavirus vaccines by three companies at the cost of $12.5 million. The announcement was made on January 10, 2020, when 2019-CoV was reported in a public database by Chinese researchers. 

Mass production of these vaccines is reported to be inevitably a significant challenge after clinical trials. However, innovative strategies will assist these companies to double their annual production to protect the world’s population.

  • The use of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) procedure to test patient samples is a slow process. For that reason, there is a need for specialist equipment across the major laboratories across the world.

Thus, researchers are innovatively developing cheaper, faster and portable tests. For instance, The European Diagnostics Company, known as Novacyt, launched new equipment recently that provides results in roughly 90 minutes. The molecular research use only (RUO) test was developed in response to the novel coronavirus that broke out in China.

The company reports that the Primerdesign test is stable even at room temperatures and has received orders from ten countries. The fast response to this outbreak is a clear indication that experts are using their core competency such as innovation, development and commercialization. 

Conclusion

The outbreak of 2019 nCoV in the city of Wuhan has attracted the world’s attention. Coronavirus cause infections in a person’s respiratory system. It has already been declared a global health emergency by the WHO. For that reason, most countries have restricted movement of its people and have imposed containment controls. However, the existing records indicate that the number of deaths from coronavirus has surpassed the number of people that died during the SARS outbreak.

Scientists and experts are busy conducting studies on the causes of this disease. Despite these initiatives, the question in people’s mind is “will innovation beat coronavirus?”

Based on WHO and CEPI initiatives, it is believed that the answer to that question is “Yes”. These organizations are funding researches to create coronaviruses vaccines and testing equipment to stop the spread of the virus. 

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Romania rising: why this small eastern Europe country may become the next startup paradise?

Romania is one of the small European countries a lot of foreigners go just to visit due to Dracula’s story.

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But in the past decade, it has been one of the countries with more and more focus on using technology to grow and evolve in the long haul. The most important aspect for Romania is that there are a lot of ways to create a startup and do that cheaply.

The overall living costs are smaller in Romania when compared to most countries in Europe. On top of that, the country has one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe. Not only that, but Romania also has a large pool of well-educated talent. The operating costs are very cheap, and the low wages make it appealing for a lot of investors that want a great ROI without any major risks.

New startups are coming

The reason why startup creators choose Romania is because of the low operating costs. Romania is one of the countries that continue to grow and expand, and it’s all about using the right tools to make that happen. It’s certainly rewarding and unique, and the overall approach is nothing short of spectacular every time because of that. The commitment to growth and value is very important, and at the end of the day, you just have to make it work in a stellar manner.

When you think about Romania, you mostly think about a small, poor country in Europe. But the education system here is widely regarded as one of the best and cheapest ones in Europe. That means you can get a very good degree and start your career without worries. It’s a wonderful starting point. Companies like Accelerole, for example, continue to grow and expand, focusing on foreign markets.

Yes, if you create a startup in Romania you will be targeting global markets, as the local market just doesn’t have the tech demand you would expect. It all comes down to commitment and value, and if you’re tackling it wisely, nothing can really stand in your way.

Why is Romania growing in the tech world?

One of the top advantages is definitely one of the fastest internet speeds in the world. On top of that, the company also has multiple telecom companies that provide small scale fiber networks for companies too. The internet prices are extremely low too, which is amazing. And the millennial generation continues to focus on tech because it’s something they really enjoy.

As you can see, Romania has everything you need in order to create a powerful and rewarding business in the long run. There will always be challenges and demanding situations, but if you’re doing it right, you will find that nothing is impossible and creating a business here might very well be the boost you need to create a global phenomenon. If you’re looking to relocate to a new country to start your own business, then Romania might be a great option. It has a startup-friendly economic environment and it definitely offers some benefits to new business owners. You should definitely consider checking it out as it can be totally worth the effort in the long run.

cover image : Simona Strugariu


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