In the world of business, the desire to expand and scale is a common ambition for entrepreneurs. The dream is often to elevate a small enterprise to a multinational corporation. But what does it take to make this leap? To operate a small business, you need capital, and to grow into a large-scale multinational corporation, you need substantial funds. However, accumulating such funds at a rapid pace is rarely feasible through earnings alone. This is where funding plays a pivotal role in propelling business growth. Today, we’ll embark on a step-by-step journey to explore the intricate process of obtaining funding for your startup.

First and foremost, let’s decipher the term “startup.” You’ve likely encountered this buzzword frequently. A startup is essentially a nascent business that takes root from ground zero. The inception of a startup marks the planting of a seed, and nurturing this seed is the initial step in its growth. But how does a startup secure the funding it needs to germinate? In the early stages, founders often inject their own capital, or they turn to friends and family for financial support.

Consider a scenario where one of the founders has a well-off relative who believes in their business idea and is willing to invest. This initial funding is often referred to as “seed funding” – it’s akin to providing water to the seed to kickstart its growth. However, not everyone has access to affluent relatives who can provide startup capital. So, how else can startups source the necessary funds?

This is where venture capitalists and angel investors come into play. Venture capitalists, often represented by investment firms, manage substantial pools of capital collected from various sources. They specialize in investing in startups with the expectation of achieving significant returns on their investments. In return for their funding, venture capitalists usually receive a portion of the company’s ownership – shares that grant them a stake in the startup’s success.

Imagine a scenario where a venture capitalist invests ₹1 lakh in a startup and, in exchange, secures a 10% ownership stake. This implies that the startup’s current valuation stands at ₹10 lakhs. The founder has effectively exchanged a 10% share of the company for the ₹1 lakh investment.

Angel investors, on the other hand, are typically individuals who have experienced success in their entrepreneurial ventures or have to gather substantial wealth through various means. These individuals are often motivated by more than just financial returns; they may have a genuine interest in supporting innovative startups. Angel investors invest their own capital in exchange for equity or convertible debt in the startup, helping it gain momentum.

When it comes to the motivation behind investors providing startup funding, it’s vital to understand that they are not merely contributing capital. Instead, they are becoming shareholders in the company. As the startup progresses and its value appreciates, the shares owned by these investors also increase in worth. This financial incentive is a significant driving force behind venture capitalists and angel investors’ interest in startups.

So, picture this: you’ve started a small food store with a unique concept, and you’ve launched your first outlet. However, your vision extends beyond a single store; you aspire to expand your food chain by opening five additional branches. To turn this dream into reality, you require additional capital. This is where venture capitalists and angel investors come into play, providing the necessary funding to facilitate your business expansion.

While venture capitalists, with their substantial financial resources, can fund the expansion, angel investors often bring valuable industry expertise to the table. Both options involve a trade-off of ownership or equity in exchange for the required capital.

In the grander scheme of things, many startups are intensely focused on the endgame – an Initial Public Offering (IPO). An IPO is viewed as a rapid path to immense wealth, but it is essential to recognize that this route is usually pursued by companies that have already achieved considerable success and demonstrated a sustainable business model.

So, when you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, keep in mind that the initial phases often revolve around securing funding, particularly in the form of seed funding. This phase represents a critical step in your business’s growth. As your company evolves and expands, you may find yourself interacting with venture capitalists, and angel investors, and even contemplating the prospect of going public.

The process of securing startup funding can be both exhilarating and challenging. It demands a compelling business idea, a persuasive pitch, and the ability to convey the potential for substantial returns to potential investors. Investors are not merely providing funds; they are investing in your vision, your potential, and the prospect of financial rewards as your business prospers.

Startup founders must appreciate that while they are driven by ambition, innovation, and relentless pursuit of success, investors are equally motivated by financial returns. As you navigate the entrepreneurial landscape, understand that securing the right funding at the right time can be a game-changer. The startup ecosystem is dynamic and ever-evolving, and the ability to attract the right investors is as crucial as innovation and execution.

Starting a business is a challenging endeavor, especially if you’re new to the game. However, I firmly believe that I can provide invaluable guidance to a budding entrepreneur. I can help them navigate the complex world of business growth, and this is where investors come into play. Choosing the right financial path for your business can make all the difference. Consider this: if you opt for a bank loan, your relationship with the bank typically begins and ends with interest payments. The value of connections and mentorship you gain through investors is immeasurable.

Allow me to illustrate the importance of investors using a real-world example: consider two companies, Stocks and Zerodha. While Stocks garnered investment from major players like Tata, Zerodha chose a different path. Zerodha decided not to take external funding, instead relying on their own resources. Now, if we compare the two founders, the founder of Stocks may seem wealthier on paper due to significant investments, but the Zerodha founder is cash-rich because they avoided diluting their ownership.

I understand that these concepts may seem overwhelming or abstract to some. It’s easy to think that I’m speaking in broad strokes, but many individuals grasp the significance of funding in business growth. Let’s break down the journey into stages:

Seed Funding, at the outset, you’ll require seed funding. This initial injection of capital can come from venture capitalists (VCs) or angel investors. Securing this funding is often the first hurdle for startups.

After the seed stage, you might find that you need more capital to expand further. This is where stage 1 funding comes into play. If you’ve managed to run your business successfully with the initial investment, you can secure larger sums of money, sometimes in the order of crores.

The need for more substantial capital may arise as you expand your business. If you started with 5 crores in stage 1, for example, you might now require 50 crores. This is referred to as stage 2 funding.

As you secure additional funding rounds, you’ll have to give up shares in your company. For instance, if you initially parted with 10% for 5 crores, in the next round, you might give up 5% for 50 crores. Each time you secure funding, your ownership stake decreases.

As you progress through funding rounds, your company’s valuation increases. This means that the value of your shares also increases, making it a lucrative prospect for investors.

Investors are keen on funding because it can significantly boost their wealth. However, there’s an element of risk involved. Not all startups succeed, and some may fail, which is a risk investors understand.

But the real game-changer for investors can come in two forms:

Acquisition: If a larger company acquires your startup, all the investors who poured money into your business will typically cash out. The profit from such an acquisition can often be tenfold or more.

IPO (Initial Public Offering): This is the grand finale. It’s where you take your company from being privately held to publicly traded. At this stage, your company is open for investment by the general public. The potential for returns at this stage is immense, often reaching into the thousands of crores.

The catch with IPOs is that they bring a considerable change in your business. To go public, you’ll need to dilute your shares significantly. You’ll issue thousands or even lakhs of shares to the public, and the amount of money pouring into your company can be unimaginable. You can’t predict how much wealth this can create.

Some investors prefer to hold onto their shares until the IPO. When the IPO finally launches, they can cash out and multiply their investment many times over. Others jump in during the IPO phase, anticipating a quick appreciation in share value. Good IPOs of well-established companies often provide substantial profits.

In the current year, many IPOs are expected, including one from Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). These IPOs serve as a means for companies to collect funds from the public. However, investing in an IPO can also be a lucrative opportunity, as shares often appreciate in value once they hit the market.

To take advantage of these opportunities, you’ll need a Demat account. This is essential for buying and trading shares and for participating in IPOs. If you don’t already have one, consider opening a Demat account.

In conclusion, securing funding for your startup is a multi-stage journey, and it can seem daunting. Finding the right investors can be a challenging task, but it’s well worth the effort. Remember, it’s not about chasing funding; it’s about building a successful business. Focus on your business’s growth, and you’ll find that investors will naturally gravitate towards you.

Building a business is not a one-day endeavor. It’s a continuous learning process, and at GoSelfmade University, we aim to provide the knowledge and insights you need. I hope you found this blog enlightening. If you did, please show your support by liking and sharing. If you have any questions or need further clarification, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below. Until next time, remember: Go self-made.