Players in the promotion of start ups14/09/2022 0 By indiafreenotes
Understand that as the entrepreneur, you are the center of the universe. Without entrepreneurs, there is no startup and no need for financing. Whether you have one founder or multiple, the entrepreneurs have a key role in securing the financing that cannot be outsourced to someone else. You hold the key to ensuring your own start-up’s success.
As time passes, due to complexities in the business, frictions may arise in your company between co-founders. Having a successful round of financing and structuring terms in advance will help reduce any issues when a founder eventually leaves the business.
The Venture Capitalist
Venture Capitalists (VC) can range in sizes and have a corporate hierarchy. Generally, the most senior person at the firm is referred to as Senior Managing Directors (MD), or General Partners (GP). There may be different titles as firms do vary, but the VC makes the investment decisions and generally sit on the governance boards of the start-ups they invest in. Going down the corporate hierarchy, there are principals/directors who manage the juniors, as well as propose deal decisions. These roles are all more deal-centric and are often referred to as relationship managers.
Key other roles include venture partners or operating partners, who are experienced with start-ups and have a part-time relationship with the firm. These guys generally offer advisory services or sit on the board of active investments as a chairman of the board members.
Associates come next, who do many different things ranging from screening out potential deals, building the corporate models, as well as due diligence. Associates lead the analysts who have generally just started, and graduated from post-secondary education.
The associates and analysts (A&As) run most of the grunt work to a potential deal. The line between the two is generally blurred due to firms preparing analysts to become associates eventually. A&As spend the most time with the capitalization table, due diligence, and the underlying technical aspects of a business.
Treat everybody in the hierarchy with respect, as each member of a team has a specific role to play. Although the Managing Director has the most power, building relationships with the juniors may ensure that your work is done quicker and once they are promoted, they may replace the more senior members later on.
VCs could also come as a syndicate of different VCs. A collection of investors is referred to as a syndicate. Just like in an IPO issuance, where the participants are referred to as the syndicate, in a VC financing round, there is generally a lead investor and a couple of co-leads. The role of the entrepreneur here is to communicate with all investors and have the lead investor of the syndicate agree to speak on behalf of the whole syndicate when investment decisions come around. You should not be negotiating deals multiple times with every member of the syndicate, that should be the job of the lead and co-leads. Also remember that SEC laws are extremely strict, and you must treat all investors the same.
The Angel Investor
Angels can refer to anyone ranging from professional entrepreneurs and investors to your friends and family. Not to say anyone can be your angel investor, because there are very specific SEC rules surrounding accredited investors, and you should ensure all of your angel investors qualifies.
Because of this large range of potential angels, VCs may have trouble working together with them to invest in a deal. Your friends and family may be crucial to supporting your business in the beginning, but once it picked up traction, their financing role could be replaced by a larger VC, who might even argue that your friends and family should be bought out since they have nothing else to offer.
With certain legal terms, such as the pay-to-play provision (existing investors must invest on a pro-rata basis in all subsequent financing rounds or they will lose preferential rights) and drag-along rights (VCs have the right to compel the founders and other shareholders to vote in favor of the sale, merger or liquidation of the company).
Always protect yourself from angels. Remember that you are the center of your own universe. Angels can be replaced and make sure if your friends and family are investing, they understand that they may lose this money and family gatherings should not be treated as investor relations.