Funding

There's a lot of pressure on startups to succeed, despite the odds

Raj 7.jpg

Raj Anand, Goodman Lantern

There’s a lot of pressure on startups to succeed, despite the odds. It’s easy to let standards slip when you’re under pressure, so it’s important to start off by developing some good habits. There are countless startups that fail and disappear because they weren’t financially savvy. 

Your business is based on solid thinking, careful research, and countless hours of hard work. All of which means nothing if you run out of money. You’ve got to look at your numbers from every angle, and make some intelligent strategic changes. 


1. Know Your Cash Flow

Most owners of startups and small businesses have at least a fundamental grasp of the basic cash flows in their business. If you don’t have a massive background in finance, you’re not alone. The smart move is to build your knowledge and learn more as your business grows. 

You need to be familiar with your full cash flow, taking into account every expenditure. You’ll have the power to tweak your priorities and develop a model that enhances your profit and minimises your outlay. Don’t hesitate to consult a professional.

2. Consultants are Useful

You can’t be good at everything. Recognise your strengths and come to terms with your weaknesses. In short, do the things you can do well, and find someone else to do the rest.

You don’t have to hire permanent staff members either. There are huge numbers of qualified freelancers with great references out there. Do the math and figure out what the best option is for you. This is definitely one area where spending a little cash can save you a significant amount of money in the long run.

3. Be Thrifty

Don’t spend money unnecessarily, and make sure that you have laid out your budget. You should expect fluctuations in your monthly spending and add this to your plan. The best case scenario doesn’t always happen as much as you’d like. 

If you plan for the worst, you’ll have extra cash in the easier months. Turning this additional income back into your business is a great way to invest in your own growth. Take care of the bottom line, and you’ll have a much more stable business.

Innovation for Existing Companies

Some might say that entrepreneurs have it easy in terms of innovative thinking. Their ideas are fresh and new; they are hitting the market from a completely new angle. For companies that have been active in their industry for a long time, however, innovation can seem challenging. The key, it seems, to be successfully innovative is to take consumers by surprise. Taking your company in a slightly new direction may be the best way to make an impact. Of course, this does not mean that you should stray from your core concepts, services, or products. Think of it as an opportunity to expand or a chance to fill a gap in the market.

To come up with an innovative idea, you cast your eyes to the future. Consider which products or services could render you obsolete. There may be small adjustments you could make to current products that will make them seem revolutionary. Perhaps the best way to do this is to take a look at the up-and-coming competition. Budding entrepreneurs in your industry are guaranteed to have ideas that you may be able to adopt.

Remember that start-ups are only successful if and when they have created something that consumers have been unable to purchase from your company and others like it. To stay ahead of the game existing businesses need to continually push boundaries, keeping funds aside for continuous research and development.

Learnings from successful 'technology' Kickstarter projects

Kickstarter is now used by various sectors to raise funding, technology is no exception. In the PDF below find the specifics of the leading companies who raised several times over the amount they were set to raise. For instance First Domestic Robot That Tracks Intruders! raised 24,952% over the amount it was meant to raise to make it's project a reality. Here is an analysis of what's common between the various successful companies:  

To Raise Over $10kPre-requisite: You should be building something truly revolutionary. Like a 3D printing pen, smart-home ⁃ Making life truly easy for everyday tech i.e. home devices, keyboards, flashlights and more ⁃ Empowering everyday people to do amazing stuff at low prices. Eg: 3D printing, coding for real devices (for kids), ⁃ Become healthy with quantifiable results. Eg: vest burns up to a pound of fat per week (500 calories/day ⁃ Available for most devices. It was observed that most oversubscribed projects were universal i.e. they worked on most devices. Even if they were only for mobile devices they supported iOS and Android.

To Raise under $10kPre-requisite: The item is in-expensive to buy for the end user ⁃ Applicable to a large audience irrespective of gender, profession and age. Example: Yoga classes, home safe of intruders and 3D laser scanner ⁃ Fun to have or use, could be a potential hobby. Example: guitar hero for real instruments, 3D scanners for

Other observations: ⁃ All the companies that raised money via Kickstarter in the technology section had great descriptions. They were able to define their product in under 10 words. Example: The World’s First 3D Printing Pen, Calorie Burning Vest, Cool-Ink 3D Pen, ⁃ Had a wow-factor in it’s description. Example: Designed by a NASA scientist, The world’s first and best 3D printing pen and Winner of the 2015 CES Best of Innovation

 

Analysis based on companies:  

Learnings from successful companies on CrowdCube

Crowdfunding is now emerging to be a popular and credible source of raising money for several startups. In the next few blogs, my aim is to showcase various sources of funding for British Entrepreneurs. A process we are helping many of our customers at Goodman Lantern with. First to be covered is CrowdCube,  who are backed by Balderton Capital. Since 2000, Balderton has invested in over 100 companies, principally across Europe including Betfair, MySQL and the likes. CrowdCube has a good infographic analysis of the companies who have raised money on it's site (although it is a little outdated?). Based on our research on 19th January 2015, we have gathered a list of companies who have raised money recently.

From our analysis of 8 companies funded we gather that a total of £1,713,500 was raised, although only £1,500,000 was required i.e. in total the companies were overfunded by 114.23%. The average equity offered was 12.08%. All the companies according to our analysis are consumer focused except Kino-mo. Most funded companies belong to Food and Drink sectors, followed by media, IT and leisure.

Crowdcube

Crowdcube

Company by Company Review

Taylor Street Baristasraised £1,713,500 although it's target was £1,500,000, giving 8% of equity. In it's own words the company describes itself as "We love great coffee. We really, seriously, passionately, deeply love great coffee; and since launching in 2006, Taylor St Baristas has been at the forefront of the specialty coffee revolution in London. Our dedication to quality is evident in every cup - each one is made to the exacting standards of our Head of Coffee and World Barista Championship judge, Andrew Tolley, using the world’s finest coffees."

Good Egg Restaurants raised £216,080 although it's target was £180,000 giving 24% of equity. In it's own words the company describes itself as "After sell out pop-ups and street food markets, the team behind the 'top 5 brunches in London' (Huff Po), are launching The Good Egg restaurant. Entrepreneur Joel Braham, named the Evening Standard's '2014 top restaurateur to look out for' and ex-Ottolenghi chef Oded Mizrachi's first restaurant will serve craft beers, cocktails and deli classics, with outstanding produce and exceptional coffee - and they'll open 2 more in the next 5 years.".

UBREW raised £93,140 although it's target was £75,000  giving 10.00% of equity. In it's own words the company describes itself as "UBREW is an open brewery,where you brew the beer. Simply put, that means you join as a member, turn up, and brew your own beers with our professional equipment and a community of like-minded beer lovers. UBREW has achieved over £12,000 in pre sales prior to launch, secured a 2650 sq foot property for the brewery on the Bermondsy Beer Mile and has over 60 group memberships. UK Craft Beer sales have reached £225m with growth of 79% in 12 months.".

DeskBeers raised £111,780 although it's target was £80,000   giving 17% of equity. In it's own words the company describes itself as "DeskBeers is a craft beer subscription service focused on delivering great beer to workplaces. They currently deliver 12-1500 bottles a week across London and Brighton and now seek to expand their offering and territory. From the same team that created Stickygram, DeskBeers forecast revenue growth of over 200% year on year.".

Gamesgrabr raised £273,260 although it's target was £250,000  giving 6.67% of equity. In it's own words the company describes itself as "The social platform where gamers play, share, discover and buy games. Described by BBC Click as ‘like Pinterest for gamers, a great place to go if you are looking for inspiration’ - gamesGRABR is a fast growing social network for people that love games and it’s available on mobile, tablet and PC.".

Kino-mo raised £268,720 although it's target was £250,000  giving 10% of equity. In it's own words the company describes itself as "Kino-mo developed two products with a holographic effect - a 3D Display and an Advertising video-bike. The state-of-the-art technology allows 3D graphics to appear to float in mid-air. Trial projects have been delivered for global brands such as Samsung, Aston Martin & Intel and the company has sold licenses internationally. The former CEO of Clear Channel and the Chairman of BBC Children in Need is a member of the advisory board.".

AutoTrip raised £145,140 although it's target was £100,000  giving 14.29% of equity. In it's own words the company describes itself as "AutoTrip saves organizations up to 35% of their vehicle mileage costs by automating the mileage reporting process through a connected device that automatically logs all business mileage to web-based software. AutoTrip are seeking investment to build on early sales and further develop the system. Their Chairman & Co-Founder is Andrew Wordsworth, who has created and launched 15 businesses, which have attracted over £250m in equity investment.".

Luxtripper raised £189,280 although it's target was £150,000  giving 6.70% of equity. In it's own words the company describes itself as "Luxtripper is changing the way the world books travel because luxury does not have to be expensive! Users are matched to destinations and properties around the world in seconds using their technology and after a 1-year pilot and new website launch in December, they have created a simple winning formula that has already acquired 3000 members & nearly £500k+ revenue. Luxtripper is aiming to grow aggressively over the next 4 years.".

Funding in Second Half of 2014

As the year comes to an end Goodman Lantern summarised venture and angel funding in various sectors reported by VentureBeat. The clear winner is E-commerce based on it's growth in Asia:

  • Wearables: $10m
  • Web hosting: $15m
  • Internet of Things (IoT): $17.8m
  • eHealth: $21.4m
  • Rentals / Travel: $21.8m
  • Games: $30m
  • Social Media: $40m
  • Betting / Fantasy Sports: $43.7m
  • Recruitment: $44m
  • Digital Subscription:  $115.7m
  • Platforms: $123.1m
  • Streaming: $150.5m
  • Video / Music / Streaming: $173.8m
  • Ecommerce: $300m

December

  • Video / Music / Streaming: Musx overhauls its streaming music app, raises $500K December 10, 2014 3:00 AM | Tom Cheredar
  • Video / Music / Streaming: SoundCloud reportedly raising another $150M to join the $1B valuation club
  • Rentals / Travel: VaycayHero grabs $2.8M to take the pain out of vacation rentals
  • Digital Subscriptions: Next Issue raises $50M to become a Netflix for digital magazines

November

  • Ecommerce: Rocket Internet’s Amazon clone Lazada secures $250M Digital Subscriptions: Pluto TV takes $13M for its free linear TV streaming serviceYoubetme
  • Betting / Fantasy Sports: Youbetme grabs $2.7M to help you keep track of all your bets
  • Ecommerce: Ecommerce juggernaut Bigcommerce nabs $50M
  • eHealth: Florida-based Modernizing Medicine has raised $15 million of a $20 million round to support the development and marketing of its cloud-based, specialty-specific electronic health records (EHR) platform.

October

  • Digital Subscription: Roku raises $25 million amid growing competition from Amazon and Google
  • Digital Subscription: Cratejoy grabs $4M to give anyone their own monthly subscription service
  • Wearables: Atlas raises $1.1M to power its Motion Genome Project, a motion database for wearables

 

September

  • Wearables: Pristine grabs $5.4M to cure the doctor shortage and save lives with Google Glass
  • Digital Subscription: Application delivery platform startup PowWow has raised a new $2.5 million round of funding today to help businesses work from mobile devices.
  • Video / Music / Streaming: Video startup JW Player has raised a fresh $20 million round of funding to grow beyond its status as one of the most used non-YouTube video players.
  • Social Media: Snowball Finance (Xueqiu in Chinese), the Chinese finance-focused social media site, announced that the company has raised $40 million in Series C funding led by Renren Inc. and joined by existing investor MorningSide Ventures. The company raised a Series A funding of US$10 million last year, and $3.2 million in 2011.
  • Video / Music / Streaming: Feed.fm picks up $1.2M to inject music into your marketing campaignMoney

 

August

  • Video / Music / Streaming: Streaming music service 8tracks has secured $1.28 million in new funding, according to an SEC Form D filed today.
  • Wearables: Ybrain just raised $3.5 million to further development of its Alzheimer’s treating healthcare wearable.
  • Web Hosting: Wikia, a web hosting company of community-based websites for fans of movies, bands, games, and other subjects, has brought on $15 million in fresh funding.
  • Platform: Glassbeam just raised $2 million to expand its SCALAR machine data analytics platform.
  • Platform: Lumiata raises $5M to further its optimized medical-care analytics
  • Betting / Fantasy Sports: DraftKings grabs $41M for its cash-rewards fantasy football league
  • Platform: Product-management platform Wizeline raises $6.7M
  • Platforms: Financial planning company, FeeX, just raised $6.5 million to help more consumers save money on hidden investment fees.
  • Recruitment: Resumator grabs $15M because investors can't get enough recruiting software
  • Recruitment: Popular recruiting software, The Resumator, landed $15 million to expand internally and externally.
  • Rentals / Travel: Airport car-rental service RelayRides just received $10 million in funding to push expansion and fuel app development.
  • eHealth: Acupera pulls in $4M to help health providers better understand their patients. Acupera’s system mines data from electronic health records, medical claims, and lab results to help doctors and nurses better care for their patients.
  • IoT: The Internet of Things heats up with CyberLightning landing $4.2 million funding for global expansion.
  • Platform: Investment management platform Axial has raised a new $11 million round of funding, the startup announced today.
  • Platforms: Online meal delivery service Foodpanda has raised a fresh $60 million round of funding, the company announced today.
  • Platforms: Quettra gets $2.9M in new funding to give advertisers more customer dataFunding daily cat

 

July

  • Video / Music / Streaming: Today, FameBit has announced that it has completed a $1.4 million seed round of funding, which will help it scale its team and give more YouTubers the opportunity to make money off their creativity.
  • eHealth: Healthy-living photo community PumpUp raises $2.4M in seed funding July 24, 2014 11:07 AM | Brenda Barron PumpUp, a fitness social network for primarily women, just raised $2.4 million in seed funding with General Catalyst Partners leading the round.
  • Platform: Movius raises $13M to give BYOD users multiple phone lines, split billing on one device. The company plans to use the money to take its two core products global.
  • Games: Mobile game maker, Social Point, just received $30 million in funding in a round led by Highland Capital Partners Europe.
  • Digital Subscription: Online graphic design tool, Canva, raised $3.6 million more in funding and announced plans for third-party integration. Digital Subscription:  Speaktoit raises $2.6M to build an army of 'personal assistants'. The company develops what an “intelligent companion,” which acts like Apple’s Siri but operates across devices and comes with a face. Platform: Vision Critical raises $16M in additional funding. Vision Critical receives $16 million more in funding to expand its customer intelligence platform.
  • IOT: Smart climate control maker tado° secures $13.6 million to fuel global expansion.
  • Recruitment: Jobandtalent recruitment platform raises $14 million more in funding.
  • Rentals / Travel: Montreal-based bus-ticket booking company Busbud has pulled in $9 million in a Series A round of funding, it announced today.
  • Digital Subscription: Cloud Engines, the company behind Pogoplug, raised another $2 million in funding for its cloud storage service.