|Venture Capital |
Monday, 07 April 2008
The foundation of every business, other than its product, is money. Earning money these days is as hard as finding one. Apart from a competitive market, a worldwide economic recession is also looming ahead. Venture capitalists have also become more cautious since losing from the dotcom bubble burst. Fortunately there are still venture capitalists willing to take on start up companies.
Science and technology has been a great interest for private equity firms. They prove positive returns in the long run as demands of a fast pace world continue. In the world of biotechnology, Astellas Venture Management is one of the sources of venture capital funds.
The company focuses on start up biotechnology companies. Its investment portfolio includes public companies such as Adherex Technologies, Memory Pharmaceuticals, and EPIX Pharmaceuticals. Private companies under them include F2G Ltd, FASgen, Inc., TaiGen Biotechnology Co., Ltd., and Alba Therapeutics Corporation.
Astellas established a branch in the America in 2006. The headquarters were located at Los Altos, California.
Astellas and biotech
Most venture capitalists invest in high technology businesses. Most of them prefer companies that apply innovative technology to their product or services. They invest large amounts of capital to start up businesses that have a lot of growth potential in science, research and development.
One of these private equity firms is Astellas Venture Management. Astellas was originally founded in Tokyo Japan. The company was formed after Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and Fujisawa Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. merged. Both of these companies have already been investing in biotechnology companies in Japan before Astellas was formed. Astellas is now managing funds of clients from Yamanouchi and Fujisawa, including new limited partnerships.
The focus of AVM is to find companies that have innovative technology and assist its growth by using its experience and network in the field of biotechnology. They offer investments for companies that have the potential to become leaders in the global market. They prefer emerging companies that are developing pharmaceutical seeds and new drug platforms.
AVM is obviously a big firm. They have a comprehensive resource available to their clients from personnel networks to marketing operations. Apart from investments it also provides companies with scientific and technical proficiency, experience in drug development, marketing knowledge and long-term perspective. This is a big opportunity for those companies who want to have rapid growth and success.
For those companies with a very ambitious management team this will be good partnership for them. AVM caters to no less than large markets that span globally not just locally. Their parent company called Astellas Pharma Inc. is one of the top pharmaceutical companies. This gives them the edge when it comes to experience. They are a cut above the rest when it comes to disease areas such as Immunology and Urology. The form is interested in the fields of Cancer, Pain, Diabetes and metabolic diseases.
Having a pharmaceutical company is both good for entrepreneurs and investors. One of areas that are cannot be touched by recession is health care and medical services. Although being responsible for the well being of many people is a challenge it can also be rewarding.
If you wish to delve in to a more competitive atmosphere and target a large market then you can go AVM, provided that you do have the scientific capabilities to back it up.
Monday, 07 April 2008
Finding a venture capital firm can be a taxing job. Imagine having to go through the profiles of these firms to determine if your proposed company fits their investment criteria, and then having to send your proposal to each of them. This will definitely consume your time and energy, as well as financial resources, without guarantee of favorable results. This explains the need for venture capital consultants.
What exactly do these consultants do? Basically their function is to find a venture capital firm to fund a start up company. But before this, he must know the kind of business that you want to put up. In this way, he will immediately know which firms to contact once you've given him your proposal.
Reading the business proposal does this. You may have written the proposal yourself, or he may draft the proposal for you, for a certain fee. It is advised though that prior to contacting a consultant, your business plan must already be finished.
Aside from the added expense, it is important that you know beforehand what you really want so that the consultant can have something to work on. On the other hand, if the consultant makes the proposal for you, then you are assured that the proposal is attractive, brief and complete, increasing the chances for it to be approved.
During this stage, he must take time to know what you want. He must continue to ask questions not only about financing options but also with other aspects such as system of management and exit planning. A good consultant is someone knowledgeable of the different investment criteria as well as management styles and policies of these venture capital firms.
Next, he must know the exact type of venture capital firm that you want to work with. You may want to work with a firm, an angel investor, or investment banker. He must also be able to give suggestions as to which type of firm would best suit the company or business that you wish to put up.
Some online consultancy firms provide all the necessary help that you will need. They can provide you with checklists, reports and sample business proposals. More importantly, they will help you in your funding application by posting them in their website.
The downside of hiring a consultant is, obviously, the cost. Consultancy firms can charge up to $2,500 for mere consultancy services. Aside from this, there may be other fees that they will charge such as retainer fees and other direct expenses. Some of these companies charge between $250-350 an hour.
Be wary of consultants who tend to give you sweet, enticing words. Chances are, they're all hype and can't deliver. Unfortunately, because of the increase of popularity of venture capital financing, many of them have abounded. So take extra care in choosing your consultant. Do some investigation. Instead of choosing freelancing consultants, maybe you can choose one who is employed by a legitimate consultancy firm.
A good venture capital consultant saves your time, money and energy. Choose the best one that you can find. You can find some of the through the Internet or by word of mouth.
Some entrepreneurs can give you names of consultants or consultancy firms that offer this type of service.
Monday, 07 April 2008
More and more companies worldwide are seeking venture capital to finance their companies. This is shown by the remarkable increase in the number of investors and firms. Firms spend billions of dollars yearly on these investments. As a result, firms have expanded their network and there emerged this new group called angel investors.
While the firms in the past concentrated on building companies within their geographical area, firms and angel investors have gone international that they are now funding companies in some parts near the Pacific and even as far as Southeast Asia. That is why even if you reside in Honolulu, you can still find angel venture capital.
Angel investors are basically the same as venture capital firms in that they help finance start-up companies. But the similarity ends there. Angel investors are wealthy individuals who are willing to invest personal funds, while firms are sometimes funded by other institutions. They may be composed of a few or more investors, depending on the amount that they contribute.
Their investments usually range from a few thousand dollars to about $2 Million, committing to contribute specific amounts of investment every year rather than to give the amount in bulk at one time. Venture capital firms have higher investments because they can finance up to $10-20 Million.
Firms usually focus on the fields of technology in their investment criteria, while angel investors are open to other industry sectors like software development, production and services. This means that if your proposal is innovative and not technology-related, then there is a bigger chance for you to raise angel venture capital than ordinary venture capital.
While firms may finance companies in their later stages and also in their expansion, angel investors focus more on start-up companies, resulting in a more risky investment.
Because of the higher risk, there is the necessity to yield a higher return, between 20-30%. That is why they are more careful in screening and choosing their investments. Members themselves help in the screening process. Presentations are done in their regular meetings, and it is during such time when they individually decide to invest or not. Application is often a multi-step process. What investors usually look for are companies with a potential growth of 1,000% in 5-7 years.
If you seek angel venture capital, you must have a fully developed product. Because capital is rather minimal, it must be spent in the actual production and marketing and not on product development or research. A unique, innovative product or service will greatly impress these investors.
Also, show them that you have potential customers. Make a demonstration on how fast the business is most likely to grow. Lastly, find a strong, competent management team. This will give the investors confidence in your proposed company.
Having rather smaller resources than most firms, these investors operate in networks. This is to share the risk among them.
It is estimated that there are 225,000 angel investors and thousands of angel investor networks in the US, and still growing. This means that there are more angel investors than venture capital firms, which are approximately 600. With the many investors available, finding angel venture capital in Honolulu should not be a problem.
Browse through websites, make a few searches. Some angel investors, although not based in Hawaii, do finance companies in this State.
Monday, 07 April 2008
Venture capital insurance is one topic, which may seem complicated to most people. But once you try to understand how the system works, you'd soon discover that the topic is not that difficult to grasp. This explains why more and more new entrepreneurs have chosen this financing alternative than the more common ones like bank loans and mortgages. Through books and the Internet, you will learn more about venture capital.
Venture capital firms to start up or build small businesses provide venture capital. The idea is to provide funding and control the company operations in order for the company to grow within a couple of years, and for the firm to receive more than what it has invested. That is why most firms focus on high-return industries such as those related to technology and Internet businesses.
You can find some listings of venture capital firms in your area. Or it can be that someone you know also knows some people working in these firms. Referrals or recommendation from your friend will give you an edge for approval of your proposal.
Do not submit your proposal to any firm available. That would only waste your time and energy. It is important that your proposal be in the same field as the investment criteria of the firm that you've chosen, so do some research beforehand. Also, this firm must also be compatible with your company's financial needs as well as growth strategies.
There are ways to submit your proposal, the most common of which is through email. In doing so, make sure that you personalize the correspondence. Know where and to whom the email be sent. Nothing can be more distasteful than mass emails. Another way is by posting them in the Internet. There are legitimate sites where you can post funding requests. Some capitalists find it more convenient to browse through these websites rather than receiving massive emails everyday.
Avoid submitting them in trade shows. For one, you are required to pay before you can attend. Also, the capitalists that attend these shows are second-rate ones, not the type of businessmen, which you would want to deal with.
Since these industries have made extensive research in their field of choice, and since they have the necessary experience in managing related companies, it is therefore important that you draft your proposal well. Make a thorough research.
Know the product that you wish to sell and the market that you wish to enter. Your proposal should be short yet complete. More importantly, it should be truthful. These investors can easily detect any false claims or mere hype in the proposal.
There is some software available that will guide you through the drafting process. There are also some websites, which provide for outlines that you can follow. If possible, you must seek help from a professional to check what you've drafted before submitting them.
Finding venture capital insurance is one thing. Working with venture capital funds is another story. It takes a lot of hard work and perseverance in order for one to be successful in the business that you wish to establish.
Lastly, there is no assurance of success or profit, not even for the venture capital firms. But of course, if you hit the jackpot, the rewards can also be high.
Monday, 07 April 2008
For one reason or another, you've considered putting up your own business using venture capital. It could be that you don't have enough financial resources or you don't want to risk your own money. Perhaps you've heard of some successful entrepreneurs and wished to follow their footsteps.
As you search for more information on this, you'll soon find that the first important aspect in venture capital is raising it. Here are some tips on how to raise venture capital funding.
The first step is in understanding how these capitalists and investor firms think. Basically, their goal is the same as yours - to make money. The only difference is they've spent most of their time in research - studying which businesses have the potential of growing in a couple of years. That is why in the past few years, investments are geared towards technology and biotechnology fields, as they are the fields with highest potential.
Sometimes they operate within a certain field or geographical area, so you must know the investment firms in your locality. Thus, there's the need for you to make a research on the firms within your state as well as their investment criteria. Know what they want and give it to them. If your business proposal is not in line with these businesses or does not meet their investment criteria, then make sure that your proposal is impressive enough to catch their eye.
This brings us to the next step - preparation of your business proposal. Since these firms receive tons of proposals, it is important your proposal be brief but complete. The opportunity must be well defined and clearly explained. This is only possible if you did your homework well. Know the market that you wish to penetrate as well as your competitors and their strategies.
Make sure to ask help from experts and professionals on how to draft these proposals. While it may be an added cost, the chances of your proposal getting approved will also greatly increase if you seek help. This is very important especially if you have no business background.
You may know your business well and have made a thorough research, but you haven't translated it into a clear, reasonable proposal. Have someone check your draft before submitting it. Lastly, check your proposal for any errors in typo and grammar. The figures must also be accurate.
After you've submitted your proposal and have caught the firm's attention, it is time to put up a management team. Keep in mind that with venture capital, you lose some degree of control over the company. These investment firms would also field in some of its people to sit in the board or be a part of the management team. It is therefore important that your management team be strong enough to handle the pressures from the investment firm.
If you're thinking of expanding your existing business or putting up a new one, venture capital funding is a good alternative. But before deciding on it, know the options. Read business books and articles on the topic. Then study your business plan and see if venture capital is applicable.
If you think that this is the only way to go, then go for it. Just make sure that you take all precautionary measures and know all alternative strategies to your business plan.
Monday, 07 April 2008
With the growing popularity of venture capital comes the increase in venture capital firms. Because of the possibility of striking gold through venture capital, there are now more capitalists than there were decades ago. The common impression of these firms is that they merely provide for the finances or seed money for a start up company. Aside from providing funds, what other things do they do?
First let us discuss the kinds of venture capital firms. The most common ones are private independent firms. Usually operating under a limited partnership, these firms are not subsidiaries nor do they have affiliations with other institutions.
Banks and other financial institutions, working through their affiliates or subsidiaries, constitute another kind. There is also what we call as direct investors, or those who does the investment in behalf of industrial or non-financial corporations.
Still another group is what we call angel investors, or wealthy individuals who also help provide venture capital.
Venture capitalists make up these firms. There is what we call as generalists, or those who invest in different industries, locations, or stages in a company's life. Those who invest in a particular industry or location only are called specialists.
Venture capitalists act as partners as they help put up the company. Because they are more knowledgeable in the specific field of business than the new entrepreneur, these capitalists help provide the policies as well as strategy. More often than not, company management has no choice but to follow them.
The first important job for the firm is the selection of business proposals. This constitutes a large part of their job. With the many proposals sent before them, it is hard to read and analyze thoroughly all of them. There is therefore the need for research as to which industries and fields are most feasible. Once these industries have been identified, it would then be easier for the capitalists to analyze the proposals, as they are able to weed out the bad proposals or those which they are not inclined on doing.
Since they have a say in the management of the company, they also exercise management decisions such as the hiring of management team, purchase of real estate, entering into an agreement with other companies, and many others. They also assist in other aspects such as product development and marketing.
Part of the firm's job is to find alternative sources of capital. Since these firms belong to a certain network, it is not surprising that they know other firms and capitalists who may later be of help in terms of funding.
The capitalists are not the only sources of funds for the firm. Some of the money may come from other institutions such as pension funds, endowment funds, foundations, angel investors and other corporations. That is why there may be instances where additional funding is from other sources.
Venture capital firms are not mere financiers or investors. As partners of the entrepreneur, they contribute in any way possible for the success of the company. The key then is in choosing the right firm for the type of business that you would want to enter into.
Just like in entering into a partnership, you wouldn't want to be partners with someone whom you don't like to work with.
Monday, 07 April 2008
Venture capital is one fast-expanding field in the industry. Every year, there is an increase in the number of venture capital firms not only within the country but also in other parts of the world.
Taken individually, these firms have likewise expanded by providing their services not only within the state or country but even overseas. With the rise of venture capital firms is the rise of venture capital jobs.
There are only a few capitalists in a firm, so it is impossible for them to do everything. As they incorporate to make a firm, these capitalists are called partners, which may be of two types. One type is called a general partner or venture capitalist. These are the capitalists that we see and are known as such. They are executives who may have been former chief executives or senior executives in their previous companies.
The investors are called limited partners. They may be individuals or institutions such as pension fund, foundations and other insurance companies. These limited partners may or may not be known by the public.
These capitalists receive compensation in the form of annual management fee, which is 2% of invested capital, and carried interest, which is 20% of net profits.
What other jobs are available in venture capital firms? It is a given that these jobs are business related, so an educational background in business or finance is necessary.
There is therefore the need of accountants and financial analysts. These are the people who screen proposals and recommend approval of qualified ones. Some also work as researchers, focusing on the trends in a specific field or industry. There are also those who work on products and process development. In general, these employees are called associates. After working for a couple of years, they may be promoted to senior associate position, and so on.
There are others who work as financial advisers and consultants. These are the people who work on a project basis. Their services are sought only when the need arises. They are usually people who are financial experts with respect to the industry that the firm hopes to work on. They also have an extensive background on the economic and financial status of the industry.
The firm may also employ managers. These are the executives who would manage the affairs of a new company that the firm funded. Usually they form part of the management team or board of directors. These managers, together with the management team, run things around the company. They see to it that the company follows the procedure and policies that the firm has imposed, and give remarks and recommendation on how things can be improved.
There is also what we call as entrepreneur-in-residence or venture partners. Their responsibility is in bringing in deals for the firm. They are employed for a specific temporary period, usually as the firm begins to operate.
Capitalists are not the only people in a venture capital firm. There are still others working to make it an efficient, well-organized entity. So if you want to pursue a career in venture capital, there are many venture capital jobs available for you.
You can search Internet listings and classified ads for any vacancies. Now is the right time for you to join this booming industry.
Monday, 07 April 2008
Entrepreneurs and business experts have defined venture capital as a financing style between a capitalist and entrepreneur with a common goal of a handsome return in a short period of time, maybe 3 to 5 years. But while there are several resources on the definition and characteristics of this topic, few have actually discussed the options that this kind of business set-up has.
Before taking the plunge, know what these options are and how they can be applied to your current business plan.
The funding option depends on the stage of the company's progress. Investment firms can invest from $50,000 up to $20 Million. If the company is still at its earliest stage, where a concept or invention is still to be developed or proved, the option is called seed financing. Here investment is spent on marketing and product development. Product ingenuity and market research are the areas being focused.
When the company has already developed its product and marketing strategy but needs money for the actual production and initial marketing, the funding option is called start-up financing. This is the common option for new entrepreneurs and inventors. Here funds are spent for the production and initial marketing. Amounts can range from $50,000 to $1 Million.
Sometimes a company already has its products and may have initially introduced them to the market, but receives little or no revenue at all. In this case, the entrepreneur may need financial assistance at this stage, called the first or early stage. The amount usually ranges from $500,000 up to $15 Million, depending on the extent of the changes that need to be made. It could be that the product needs to be revised or developed to make it more saleable, or it can be a mere repackaging or change in advertising strategy.
The next option is called the second or later stage. Here the company has its products and may have received revenues, and has the potential of making it big in the near future, but for some reason has no funds at hand. It could be that there are some loans that need to be paid, or other financial schemes that need to be complied with. That is why venture capital firms invest from $2-15 Million to help the company.
Some profitable companies want to expand, but does not want to put in more capital out of their own money. Their goal is not to keep the company for many years but for it to quickly grow in order to make an IPO within a few months, say 3-18 months. This option is called the third or mezzanine stage. Amounts range from $2 Million to $20 Million.
Similarly, this next option needs an investment before an IPO, but the time frame is within 3-12 months. This is called the bridge. Investment is also between $2 Million to $20 Million.
Remember that there is a specific option for each stage that your company has. The key is to know what options to use. Similarly, you must know where to find these venture capital firms. You must also develop a concise but comprehensive business proposal to present to them. Lastly, keep in mind that venture capital is not the end-all but just the beginning of more challenging things to come.
Monday, 07 April 2008
Most of us don't really care much about making a difference. Most of us didn't even care about pollution and global warming until gas prices soared, forcing people to swap their SUVs to hybrid vehicles. Money makes the world go round they say, and commercialism taints even simple dreams.
Artists don't just play music but also convince their fans to buy overpriced merchandise just because it has the name of their idol printed on it. Fortunately it has become more and more obvious to the people that there are others who barely manage to get by. Non-profit organizations also seek venture capital to help others.
Most of these are non-profit organizations that aim to help and make a difference in their community. Nowadays fraudulent schemes abound. This is one of the reasons why venture capitalists don't invest their money in these type organizations, besides the fact that they won't earn anything in return.
Non-profit organizations for the benefit of other people
Non-profit organizations do exist to help other start up businesses. A non-profit organization called Alliance of Angels provides funds for new businesses. It an organization composed of Angel investors. There are also other non-profit organizations that exist like them. Unfortunately, like Alliance of Angels, screening can be strict and very competitive.
They also create non-profit businesses that are involved in a movement called a social enterprise. These social enterprises, such as Goodwill Industries and Salvation Army, provide job opportunities for disadvantaged individuals. This includes individuals with mental and physical disabilities; don't have any work experience and lack education. Other non-profit businesses also hire low-income high school students and drug abusers.
The latest development today is that non-profit businesses don't just provide job opportunities. Organization such as Food from the Hood, Pueblo Nuevo Development and Chrysalis are an example of this. They create programs that train and develop a disadvantaged individual's skill to be able to find a regular job with a living wage. These businesses are able to sustain themselves, which in turn enable them expand and help more people.
Others provide capital for businesses that are focused on making a difference. The Social Venture Capital Organization provides seed capital and grants to businesses that have ideas valuable to their community.
They are looking for businesses that are geared towards addressing key social concerns such as poverty, hunger, malnutrition, hate crimes and crime prevention. They provide counseling and management support for non-profit businesses to be able to turn their ideas to reality.
In this money driven world it is a relief that organizations like these exist that is willing to make a difference in their community. Organizations like these encourage non-profit businesses to start and grow.
There are also firms that encourage profit oriented businesses that bring make an impact in their community. The downside is they may encourage economic development in their community but not to the benefit of the people who live in it that also need help.
If you have non-profit business seeking venture capital funds you can approach this type of organization. Although they may not be as many as traditional private equity firms they still do exist. This time they are willing to invest in a company not out of pure gain.
Monday, 07 April 2008
Finding a venture capital fund is easy. The problem is getting your business plan approved. Venture capitalists can opt to invest on established companies but most of them don't mind providing seed capital. They are actually willing to take the risk that bank loans and standard capital markets won't.
This may be a good option for aspiring entrepreneurs and companies who need extra capital to get their business afloat. There is a firm in New Orleans that is willing to support big and small businesses.
Dealing with outside investors may seem like a risk too for some companies. It's common sense that these people will not just stand by the sidelines while they watch you spend their money. The downside of having a venture capitalist on board is that they have a say in the company's decisions and have a share of it equity.
Take the advantage?
Advantage Capital Partners is one of the companies who offer venture capital funds to companies in New Orleans. They don't just focus on positive returns for the investor but also offer their services to companies who have a significant impact on the community. They are a firm that consists of groups of venture capital partnerships. They are focused on funding companies that bring economic development.
The company started in 1992. They have provided investment funds to business in states and communities that were ignored or rejected by traditional venture capitalists. The company focuses in that companies that uses innovative technology on their products and services. This includes companies that are in the information technology, communication, energy and life science sectors.
This firm is suitable for companies that are usually located in states that are not business hubs like New York. They cater private equity to small businesses, real estate development and offer private and public partnerships.
The firm is focused on investing companies in states that are usually overlooked by traditional private equity firms and bring in cash flow to the community. This can be an opportunity for small businesses that have been snubbed by traditional financial firms.
If you have a small or medium sized business that is engaged in basic manufacturing, retail, restaurants, medical products, health services and marine transportation, you can approach them for capital.
Although this presents a big opportunity to any entrepreneur, they must not forget to read the fine print first. The firm has requirements that must be attained before investing their money. Interested entrepreneurs can look up their website for information. There they could the requirements they need to have before being approved of any loans.
The firm also provides their client's access to their people. Businesses will also receive assistance from competent managers that offer advice and guidance for the growth of your company.
Traditional venture capitalists tend to invest in established companies or start up companies located in business driven communities. This leaves out small and medium sized business clinging to bank loans. Unfortunately bank loans are not willing to take risky investments.
If you are a small or medium sized business that has been ignored by private equity firms because they think your location will not bring in great returns, Advantage may be your option. Make sure to read all clause, terms and conditions. In the end of the day a loan is still a loan.