Most frequent questions

How do Investors add value to Startups?

Investors particularly venture capitalists (VCs) add value to startups in a lot of ways:

1. Stakeholder Management: Investors manage the company board and leadership to facilitate smooth operations of the startup. In addition, their functional experience and domain knowledge of working and investing with startups imparts vision and direction to the company.

2. Raising Funds: Investors are best guides for the startup to raise subsequent rounds of funding on the basis of stage, maturity, sector focus etc. and aid in networking and connection for the founders to pitch their business to other investors.

3. Recruiting Talent: Sourcing high-quality and best-fit human capital is critical for startups, especially when it comes to recruiting senior executives to manage and drive business goals. VCs, with their extensive network can help bridge the talent gap by recruiting the right set of people at the right time.

4. Marketing: VCs assist with marketing strategy for your product/service.

5. M&A Activity: VCs have their eyes and ears open to merger and acquisition opportunities in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem to enable greater value addition to the business through inorganic growth.

6. Organizational Restructuring: As a young startup matures to an established company, VCs help with the right organizational structuring and introduce processes to increase capital efficiency, lower costs and scale efficiently.

Why do Investors invest in Startups?

Investing in startups is a risky proposition, but the low requirement for overhead capital combined with high upside potential, makes it lucrative for investors to put their bets on startups.

The Thomson Reuters Venture Capital Research Index replicated the performance of venture capital industry in 2012 and found that overall venture capital has returned at an annual rate of 20% since 1996 – far outperforming modest returns of 7.5% and 5.9% from public equities and bonds respectively.

How do Investors earn returns from investing in Startups?

Investors realize their return on investment from startups through various means of exit. Ideally, the VC firm and the entrepreneur should discuss the various exit options at the beginning of investment negotiations. A well performing, high-growth startup that also has excellent management and organisational processes is more likely of being exit-ready earlier than other startups.

Venture Capital and Private Equity funds must exit all their investments before the end of the fund’s life. The common exit methods are:

1. Mergers and Acquisitions: The investor may decide to sell the portfolio company to another company in the market. For ex: The $140mn acquisition of RedBus by South African Internet and media giant Naspers and integrating it with its India arm Ibibo group, presented an exit option for its investors, Seedfund, Inventus Capital Partners and Helion Venture Partners.

2. IPO: Initial Public Offering is the first time that the stock of a private company is offered to the public. Issued by private companies seeking capital to expand, it is one of the preferred options for investors looking to exit a startup organisation.

3. Exit to Financial Investors: Investors may sell their investment to other venture capital or private equity firms

4. Distressed Sale: Under financially stressed times for a startup company, the investors may decide to sell the business to another company or a financial institution

5. Buybacks: Founders of the startup may also buyback their investment from the fund.

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