By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
Almost every entrepreneur we have met wants to at least have the opportunity to consider accepting investment capital at some stage. Yet, actions that might be taken early in the start-up’s life can make that impossible.
Issues that can impact an investor’s decision include excessive debt and a desire on the entrepreneur’s part to use the new capital to pay-off the debt. Perhaps the intellectual property is not properly protected. Maybe there are multiple family members of the payroll which makes it more of a lifestyle company. The entrepreneur might have high valuation expectations but absolutely no customers. The cap table could be unwieldy. Perhaps the “go to market” strategy involves social media, but that strategy is undeveloped.
“These were the kind of things we were running into,” Tony Lettich, Managing Director of The Angel Roundtable, told us, explaining that his group wanted an answer to this question: “How can we help them?”
The answer to the question came from a breakfast meeting where a group convened by Lettich decided to focus on an Internet-based tool.
“We want to help entrepreneurs keep their start-ups fundable,” he says of the drivers behind TurboFunder and FundingSage. The two websites work hand-in-hand.
“There’s considerable information in the Internet to help entrepreneurs, but it is not curated,” Lettich adds. “Our goal is a one-stop shop that outlines what entrepreneurs have to do to make a start-up investable.”
FundingSage is a free online resource for entrepreneurs. It includes “how to” resources on starting a company; building a winning team; creating a strategy, vision and mission; establishing an advisory board; securing funding; and strengthening the pitch. There are also extensive discussions about the various stages of funding – concept, early, seed and growth as well as mezzanine.
In addition, FundingSage includes start-up stories as well as unique collections like one named the “Women Entrepreneurs Register.”
TurboFunder is a tiered service, based on the stage of a start-up’s development, that provides online guidance, templates and other resources, all designed to help entrepreneurs execute on their strategy. Depending on stage, monthly cost can range from free to $16.67 a month.
“As they grow their start-up, it (TurboFunder) becomes a SaaS (Software as a Service) tool,” Lettich explains.
He adds that TurboFunder can be licensed by an accelerator and provided as a white label offering.
“We also think it can support 95 percent of the start-ups that can’t participate in an accelerator,” Lettich says. “Our goal is to provide these tools for entrepreneurs that can’t go to an accelerator or the major markets like Silicon Valley.”