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Category: Raising Capital

8 Tips for Building a Bankable Business

August 19, 2015 by Akira Hirai

Building a Bankable Business

When it comes to the question of applying for a bank loan to fund your startup, most experts say, don’t bother. Banks are rarely interested in funding early stage companies these days, especially since the 2008 financial crash. However, it is not impossible to secure bank funding for your startup. Give yourself better odds with thoughtful planning, diligent preparation, and the eight tips below: Write a clear, cogent business plan: Prove you have the knowledge, work ethic, and organizational skills you’ll need to make your startup a success by preparing [Read More]

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Financing Your Growth

December 20, 2013 by Jimmy Lewin and Akira Hirai

financing your growth

Believe it or not, this post was inspired by a print advertisement for by BMO Harris Bank in a recent issue of Inc. Magazine. The ad was about “The Five Keys to Financing Growth.” It is an ad designed to promote the Bank’s small business banking products. The ad begins: “Every company should have a strategy in place to finance growth from day one, with at least a rough outline of how you intend to do that included in your business plan.” BMO quotes Patricia G. Greene, the Paul T. Babson Chair [Read More]

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Is General Solicitation Right for You?

October 3, 2013 by Akira Hirai

General Solicitation

After an 80 year ban, a new SEC regulation regarding general solicitation went into effect on Monday, September 23, making it possible to publicly advertise the offering of private securities. The amendment to Rule 506 of Regulation D was mandated by the Jumpstart Our Business Start-Ups (JOBS) Act that passed Congress in 2012, and it is meant to provide startups with a faster, easier path to the capital they need to get off the ground and grow. What exactly does “general solicitation” mean? If you look online there is a [Read More]

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How Do I Get a VC’s Attention?

March 29, 2013 by Jimmy Lewin and Akira Hirai

Getting Attention from Venture Capitalists

A client of ours recently mentioned that he identified a venture capital fund that he thought would be a perfect investor for his new mobile app. He said that the fund’s portfolio seemed to be loaded with similar apps and that they would probably think that he is a good fit for them. He wondered, though, what is the best way to get a meeting with the VC. We told him that, hands down, the best way was to be introduced by somebody the VC already knows and trusts. As [Read More]

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Where Can Startups Get Funding?

August 15, 2012 by Akira Hirai

Where Can Startups Get Funding?

Would it surprise you to learn that the Number One source of funding for startups is the founder’s personal savings? Second on the list is credit cards; third is family and friends. Bank loans and outside investment don’t come until much later, if at all. Watch this short video from the Kauffman Foundation for a more detailed look: By the way, just because you aren’t pursuing funding from outside sources doesn’t mean you don’t need a business plan. It’s extremely important to have a roadmap as you build your company. [Read More]

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They Just Threw Out the Rule Book for Raising Funds

August 14, 2012 by Richard Hasenpflug

They Just Threw Out the Rule Book for Raising Funds

If you are an entrepreneur looking for capital to launch or grow your business, life will soon get a little easier. In early April 2012, President Obama signed the JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, not to be confused with the similar-sounding American Jobs Act). This bipartisan bill (a phrase rarely heard these days) is intended to untangle the jumble of funding-related regulations that have accumulated over many decades. While most of the attention has focused on the JOBS Act’s new crowdfunding provisions, it includes several other provisions that might [Read More]

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Ten Questions Every Business Plan Must Answer

August 1, 2012 by Akira Hirai

Ten critical questions to answer in your business plan

Are you getting ready to pitch investors? Then you need to make sure that your materials – your pitch deck, executive summary, and business plan – answer ten critical questions. Conversely, if you find yourself including a lot of material that isn’t directly related to one of these ten questions, you may be better off leaving it out of your documents. Here are the ten critical questions to answer: What’s the problem? First, you need to explain what problem you solve. If you aren’t solving a problem that people are [Read More]

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Buying Out a Partner Can Be Tough to Fund

July 31, 2012 by Jimmy Lewin

Four business valuation models explained

An entrepreneur with a successful ethnic restaurant contacted us about writing a business plan that he intended to use to raise capital so he could buy out his partner. There are often very good reasons to buy out a partner, but this is a very difficult thing for a small business to do, no matter how successful. So, why should this be so difficult? Don’t large, public companies do it all the time? The answer is that while it is more common to see large companies raise capital to buy [Read More]

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Get Uncle Sam to Fund Your R&D

July 19, 2012 by Jimmy Lewin

Grant funding for your startup research and development

Since 2006 I have had the pleasure of working, in a limited role, with the National Science Foundation. The NSF participates in the SBIR/STTR grant programs which are coordinated by the Small Business Administration and mandated by the U.S. Congress. According to the SBIR website, “The mission of the SBIR program is to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of Federal research funds in critical American priorities to build a strong national economy.” This means that if you think you have a great idea for a technological [Read More]

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The Elevator Pitch: Your Ticket to the Top

May 16, 2012 by Akira Hirai

The Elevator Pitch: Your Ride to the Top

Every entrepreneur needs a convincing ‘elevator pitch,’ so named because it is the pitch you give if you happen to step into an elevator with the investor of your dreams. The elevator pitch is a well-rehearsed snapshot that conveys the essence of your business plan in 30-60 seconds. It’s the pitch you will give over and over, on flights, at conventions, out networking, in chance meetings with strangers, and at the beginning of every meeting you have – essentially, whenever you need to introduce yourself and your business. What are [Read More]

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