Capital raise dilution and founder equity is commonly misunderstood, getting it wrong can kill investment, restrict your growth and get you kicked out of your own company. It’s where you as a founder exchange equity in your company for cash that you can invest in the business.
You’re going to get diluted the only real question is by how much, which is completely dependent on the amount you are raising and your ability to justify your “perceived valuation”, and the “real valuation” accepted by an investor. For first-time founders this is a new hurdle that requires understanding and planning.
A common problem is founders trying to maintain the maximum amount of equity, this is an incorrect approach because cash is the most valuable resource a startup company can have. Usually this is due to a lack of understanding that all shareholders dilute in all rounds besides the first round. Equity is from the company as a whole not the founders equity position.
In Venture Capital rounds this may not be the case but for this explanation we are taking a simple view.
You must be prepared to exchange equity for cash. Now when I say this I say this within limits, you don’t want to be handing over more than 35% of your company in any round other than an IPO.
Unlike “Dragons Den” and “Shark Tank”, do not give away half of your company right from the outset! Unless of course you’re sharing half of your company with a co-founder, or you have nothing but an idea, then it’s a different scenario.
So let’s assume you’re the sole founder in the company and you need to raise capital, so what’s going to be a reasonable amount of equity dilution?
In my experience it’s reasonable to be handing over anything from 10% to 25% per investment round, in an IPO it can be 30% to 50%.
As long as it’s less than 25% in each capital raise round you should not be too concerned.
Now consider that prior investors are also diluting and your value is increasing in each round, so you’re not giving up as much as you might think.
This is where most founders get it wrong, its the dilution maths, so here’s the common miscalculation.
The company exchanges 25% company equity in three separate rounds of capital raising, then I’m only left with 25% of my company.
Incorrect, you actually have 42.19% equity remaining after three rounds.
Why, because 25% is not from your equity, its from the company as a whole and all prior investors dilute which means you dilute less in each subsequent round.
Pre Money Value
Post Money Value
Now let’s look at another example.
Company “XYZ” has an online platform with software development six months from completion, they need cash to stay on track and avert a disaster.
So the valuation has to be realistic, otherwise it’s going be a really hard sell, investors hate overvalued companies and will deeply questioning your financials.
At this point it’s important you consider the end game which is your final equity position and exit value.
So there are two choices: more capital raises in smaller steps “Staggering” or raise more in less rounds. Each has it’s advantages and disadvantages, and every situation is different, but a staggered capital raise strategy give you more room for mistakes and get you investment more quickly.
In this example we are assuming a staggered capital raise as the company is early phase and has suffered a few setbacks so better to play it safe. There’s nothing stopping the company from adapting its capital raise strategy later.
You can change “Capital Raise” amount and “Pre Money Value” to suit your own circumstances.
In the chart view, its easier to see the decreasing Founder dilution and increasing value.
NOTE: After the IPO round Founders @ 21.5% and $21,504,000 In fact in the last round although the company as a whole diluted 30% the founder only diluted 9% That’s the impact of equal equity dilution across all shareholders
I always try and make sure my equity dilution on each round is in a target range of 15% to 20%, with a final exit range of 15%-25%.
So diluting your equity position when capital raising is a completely normal thing.
Again it’s important to understand your looking at the endgame here, focus on your final equity position and exit value. That end game when the company valuation is enormous is where you’re actually going to make your money.
Your better to hold 20% of a successful $100 Million company, than 50% of a $20 Million company that was under capitalised with strangled revenue growth.
Remember have the end game in sight, don’t get greedy and don’t be afraid to give up equity, you’re going to have to do it to raise capital for company growth.
If your early round values are low consider a staggered capital raise
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June 6, 2018 By Katie Abouzahr, Frances Brooks Taplett, Matt Krentz & John Harthorne.
The gender pay gap is well documented: women make about 80 cents for every dollar that a man earns. Less well known: the gender investment gap. According to our research, when women business owners pitch their ideas to investors for early-stage capital, they receive significantly less—a disparity that averages more than $1 million—than men. Yet businesses founded by women ultimately deliver higher revenue—more than twice as much per dollar invested—than those founded by men, making women-owned companies better investments for financial backers.
Businesses founded by women ultimately deliver higher revenue.
BCG recently partnered with MassChallenge, a US-based global network of accelerators that offers startup businesses access to mentors, industry experts, and other resources. Since its founding in 2010, MassChallenge has backed more than 1,500 businesses, which have raised more than $3 billion in funding and created more than 80,000 jobs. MassChallenge, which neither provides financial support nor takes equity in the businesses it works with, puts significant effort into supporting women entrepreneurs.
Our objective was to see how companies founded by women differ from those founded by men. Our data shows a clear gender gap in new-business funding. We also spoke with investors and women business owners to get a sense of how they perceive the funding status quo. Our findings have clear implications for investors, startup accelerators, and women entrepreneurs seeking backers.
One might think that gender plays no role in the realm of investing in early-stage companies. Investors make calculated decisions that are—or should be—based on business plans and projections. Moreover, a growing body of evidence shows that organizations with a higher percentage of women in leadership roles outperform male-dominated companies. (See “How Diverse Leadership Teams Boost Innovation,” BCG article, January 2018.) Unfortunately, however, women-owned companies don’t get the same level of financial backing as those founded by men.
To determine the scope of the funding gap, BCG turned to the detailed data MassChallenge has collected on the startup organizations it has worked with. About 42% of all MassChallenge-accelerated businesses—of all types and in all locations—have had at least one female founder. Aiming to build on the growing proportion of women entrepreneurs, the availability of education and support for them, and the sizable community of women who are business experts, MassChallenge determined that it needed to learn more about how its women entrepreneurs were faring and how the program could better prepare them for future success.
In a review of five years of investment and revenue data, the gender-focused analysis showed a clear funding gap (see the exhibit).
Investments in companies founded or cofounded by women averaged $935,000, which is less than half the average $2.1 million invested in companies founded by male entrepreneurs.
Despite this disparity, startups founded and cofounded by women actually performed better over time, generating 10% more in cumulative revenue over a five-year period: $730,000 compared with $662,000.
In terms of how effectively companies turn a dollar of investment into a dollar of revenue, startups founded and cofounded by women are significantly better financial investments. For every dollar of funding, these startups generated 78 cents, while male-founded startups generated less than half that—just 31 cents.
The findings are statistically significant, and we ruled out factors that could have affected investment amounts, such as education levels of the entrepreneurs and the quality of their pitches. (See the sidebar, “A Closer Look at the Data.”)
The results, although disappointing, are not surprising. According to PitchBook Data, since the beginning of 2016, companies with women founders have received only 4.4% of venture capital (VC) deals, and those companies have garnered only about 2% of all capital invested.
WHY THE DISPARITY?
To dig deeper, we spoke to women founders, business mentors, and investors, some of whom were not affiliated with MassChallenge. From those conversations, three explanations emerged.
One, more than men, women founders and their presentations are subject to challenges and pushback. For example, more women report being asked during their presentations to establish that they understand basic technical knowledge. And often, investors simply presume that the women founders don’t have that knowledge. One woman who cofounded a business with a male partner told us, “When I pitch with him, they always assume he knows the technology, so they ask him all the technical questions.” We heard that when they are making their pitches, women founders also hesitate to respond directly to criticism. If a potential funder makes negative comments about aspects of a woman’s pitch, rather than disagree with the investor and argue her case, she is more likely than a man to accept it as legitimate feedback. “Most guys will come back at you in those situations,” an investor said. “They’ll say, ‘You’re wrong and here’s why.’”
Two, male founders are more likely to make bold projections and assumptions in their pitches. One investor told us, “Men often overpitch and oversell.” Women, by contrast, are generally more conservative in their projections and may simply be asking for less than men.
Three, many male investors have little familiarity with the products and services that women-founded businesses market to other women. According to Crunchbase, which tracks VC funding, 92% of partners at the biggest VC firms in the US are men. “In general, women often come up with ideas that they have experience with,” one investor said. “That’s less true with men.” Many of the female interviewees told us that their offerings—in categories such as childcare or beauty—had been created on the basis of personal experience and that they had struggled to get male investors to understand the need or see the potential value of their ideas. One founder told us that this lack of understanding shows up also in terms of social class when entrepreneurs pitch products for people at socioeconomic levels significantly lower than that of the typical angel or VC investor.
It’s been a long time in the making… and well my dog ate the script but its finally here.
A distillation of my startup and capital raising experiences into an online Capital Raising For Startups Video Masterclass for early phase startups. Unfortunately fresh entrepreneurs just don’t get access to my sort of knowledge.
So if you’re an entrepreneur or you know a startup that could benefit, help me help the startup community and point them to this!
Only one thing matters. That you f#@^ing finish what you START.
This is the single most important medium post you will ever read.
I believe that I am about to change your life.
Because I want to tell you one thing.
Your work is not perfect.
Your product, your business, your blog — they are incredibly imperfect.
I could look at your work for 5 minutes and come up with so many flaws you would pay me to point them out.
But you know what?
It. Does. Not. Matter.
There is only one thing that matters in this world, and it is simple, and I want you to understand it.
The only thing that f#@^ing matters is that you finish what you’re working on.
83% of the people who will email me and say they want to do what I do WILL NEVER FINISH ANYTHING.
They will have the best excuses in the whole world. They were busy. They were tired. Life was hard. Their dogs ate their homework.
Can I tell you something? Those excuses might make them feel better but they won’t help them get to where they need to be. There is only one thing that will help with that — finishing their work.
You do not have to be faster than the tiger.
Have you ever heard that parable? A man and his friend were camping in the jungle. One night a tiger attacked their camp site. They started running. One friend said to the other, “we’re not fast enough, we’ll never outrun the tiger!”
His buddy turned to him and shouted one thing.
“I don’t have to outrun the tiger, I just have to outrun you….”
The tiger is our own will to NOT ACHIEVE. The tiger is the voice that says to give up.
The tiger is the voice of failure.
You just have to outrun everyone who doesn’t have the guts to finish their work.
I don’t care if you disagree. I don’t give a fuck.
Because at the end of the day, I finish my work. I’m a finisher. If you cannot be that and do that, you don’t stand a chance out here.
The world is waiting for you, the opportunities are out there, for the people with the raw guts to finish, to publish, to release, to launch. If you’re one of those people, you’re a goddamn legend and I respect you.
If you’re not?
Well, then I got no time for you.
Finish your work.
Put it in the hands of people who give a shit. Be a radical completer. That’s what matters and that’s what counts and anything else is bullshit.
You want to tell me all about how wrong I am? How I offended you by someone swearing and telling you the truth? Email me. [email protected]
…and I’ll explain why it doesn’t matter if I’m wrong or if I’m right.
Only one thing counts; that you’re a finisher.
So, are you?
By Jon Westenberg – Chief Empathy Officer, Creatomic
Indeed, working from home seems like heresy if believe in the “collaborative, innovativeworkplace” idea, or (as I call it) the “let’s-force-everyone-to-work-in-an-office-that-looks-like-a-hotel-lobby-from-outer-space” management fad.
In his TED Talk, Bloom explains that work-from-home is potentially as powerful and innovative as the driverless car. And he’s dead serious.
As evidence, Bloom cites a Singapore company where half of the staff worked from home for four days a week while the other half came into the office five days a week.
The two-year study revealed that the employees who worked from home had a “massive, massive” (Bloom’s words) increase in productivity–almost equivalent to an additional workday–primarily because of fewer distractions and fewer pointless conversations.
The work-from-home employees also tended to remain in their jobs longer, thereby decreasing employee turnover, which (of course) drains management productivity and results in an expensive loss of skills and connections when an employee quits.
Finally, the work-from-home employees were happier and therefore healthier, thereby reducing sick days and absenteeism (as well as people coming into work with contagious colds and flu), all of which decreased the company’s overall health care expenses.
The experiment was so successful that the company instituted work-from-home throughout the company, which also (as a side benefit) allowed the company to grow without adding expensive office space.
These results echo a recent Gallup study showing that employees who work from home three to four days a week are far more likely (41 percent versus 30 percent) to “feel engaged” and far less likely (48 percent versus 55 percent) to feel “not engaged” than people who report to the office each day.
So there you have it. Companies that are forcing employees to come into their glitzy but noisy and distracting open-plan offices would be much better off if they instead let their employees work from home most of the time.
I used to be one of those people who loved to brag about how busy he was. You know the type. Heck, you might even be one of “those” people… Until I completely burned out.
I used to be one of those people who loved to brag about how busy he was. You know the type. Heck, you might even be one of “those” people…
I would work 60, 70, sometimes 80 hours a week–it was never enough. I wore my ‘busy-ness’ like a badge of honor… I loved telling you how unbelievably hectic my life was at any given moment.
Until I completely burned out.
After years of grinding away, I realized one day that I needed to completely reevaluate what I was doing with my life, what my priorities were.
Was working 80+ hours a week really making me happy?!
It was during this period of reflection that I realized simply working longer hours wasn’t going to fill the void inside me.
I love working, don’t get me wrong. Helping people is what gets me up in the morning. But what if I could learn to work smarter, not longer? What if instead of slogging through 100 hours of work for work’s sake, I could consolidate that into as little as possible. Say, 16.7 hours per week?
It might sound crazy, but with a little trial and error, I learned to do just that. It didn’t happen overnight–we have a lot to unlearn about our habits and expectations. But here’s how I did it.
How to Manage Your Time Effectively
My life changed when I stumbled upon the Pomodoro Technique. Basically, it’s a deceptively simple time management system designed by Francesco Cirilio that helps you work with time, rather than against it.
Here are the five simple steps that make up the technique:
Choose a single task;
Set a timer for 25 minutes (preferably not the timer on your phone);
Work on your task until the timer rings, then put a checkmark on a tracker;
Take a five minute break;
Repeat steps 1-4 three more times, followed by a 15 minute break.
You may think that doesn’t sound like much, but don’t be fooled: The Pomodoro Technique calls for 25 minutes of steady, focused work on a single task. No emails. No phone calls. No checking Facebook. No getting up for a snack. No distractions!
This takes some getting used to. I had to learn ignore all of the digital age distractions that so often occupy our time.
I found that a using a kitchen timer, setting my phone on airplane mode, and secluding myself in a quiet place produced the best results. I spent five minutes each morning planning out what I wanted to accomplish that day, and each Friday I spent 30 minutes reviewing the week and planning for the week ahead.
These tips and tricks helped me hunker down and get to work. After a while, 25 minutes of uninterrupted work came easily, and I was accomplishing what I set out to do. It was a great feeling.
Personalizing the “Pomodoro”
Well, it was a great feeling…until it wasn’t. Soon I found myself cramming as many Pomodoros into a single business day as I could, and it started having negative effects on my work and my mood. I was still working too hard.
It turns out that laser focus for 25 minutes, repeated over and over again, just doesn’t work effectively every day. Life gets in the way. It’s unpredictable, and doesn’t really care how many tasks you have on your to-do list.
So I decided to personalize the method, to give it more flexibility. I asked myself: What *actually* works best for me?
In a perfect world, I’d have eight tasks identified at the beginning of each workday, prioritized from most to least important. I would be equally motivated to work on each one, and I’d finish all of them within three hours, without interruption.
But I’m not perfect–no one is. I get tired, occasionally I get lazy, things happen that are outside of my control. No amount of focus is going to help me with that, and these are realities for everyone.
So I eased up on my expectations for myself. I focused on accomplishing 8 Pomodoros a day, five days per week. Total, that’s 125 minutes of work per day, 1,000 minutes per week or around 16.7 hours, not including breaks. It was getting better.
But something was still off. After working on my method for a while, I came to the realization that I was still too constricted. I had promised myself I would only work during normal hours–9 to 5, Monday through Friday–and spend the rest of my time enjoying my life.
But that didn’t always happen. And when I didn’t finish a set amount of Pomodoros before 5 p.m., I found myself thinking about my work and the tasks I didn’t accomplish in my “off” time, which was exactly the opposite of what the Pomodoro Technique is supposed to do.
Rather than restricting my work hours, I actually needed to expand them. So weeknights, weekends, vacations, holidays–all of those times came into play for me. I shifted to a seven-day work week, and began working when it suited me, rather than forcing my time to suit my work.
More importantly, opening my working time allowed me to do non-work stuff during normal “work” hours, like attend my daughter’s recital. It actually gave me more freedom, not less.
And that’s how I went from spending 40 to 45 hours a week fitting in my 40 Pomodoros, to having 168 hours each week. Since I only need 16.7 hours net, that means I only work 10% of my time. And it’s made all the difference.