Bootstrapping your business for lean and mean success!

For the last decade, I have been working on understanding and mastering the business survival method of bootstrapping technology businesses to ensure that when the opportunity arises, the business  is in the industry, prepared and able to take the opportunity in the market when it presents. Here is my article on Bootstrapping with Standard Bank:,-it%E2%80%99s-time-to-strap-up.aspx

What investors really look for in a start-up

What investors really look for in a start-up

Learn the start-up qualities that grab the attention of the early stage investor.

The songs have sung it, the start-ups have wooed it, the successful entrepreneurs have tamed it – money. Money is the oil that greases the start-up engine and gets the most brilliant of ideas off the ground.

For most entrepreneurs, however, the shift from idea and fledgling business to being funded by an investor is often murky and confusing. How do they make the move? What are the investors looking for? What should they do to attract them? Very few start-ups get funded every year. The dizzy media dream of funds dropping from the sky may have happened briefly in Silicon Valley, once, but today the market is a very different beast.

Raising money as an early stage company is difficult. The average VC looks at around 400 companies for every one they invest in while angel investors look at around 40 – so work on getting both, but prioritise the angels.

The 4 M’s of early stage investing


1. Management teams

If the VC or the angel investor isn’t impressed with your management team, then it will be almost impossible to get investment. Prepare a biography of your team and make this one of the first things you discuss at a pitch. Ensure that your team is experienced and relevant to your industry as these qualities will interest potential investors.

2. Momentum

This can mean many things, but the reality is that investors want to see traction in your industry. They want to see revenue and they want to know that you have users or customers alongside a minimum viable product (MVP). You should also be able to demonstrate relationships with strategic partners, have good media contacts and a media presence.

3. Market opportunity

Almost all investors want to invest in a large market with an ambitious team. Support your market opportunity with verifiable metrics and research and focus on realistic metrics or a specific segment of a large market.

Related: Luck: When preparation meets opportunity

4. Money

Investors want to put a certain amount of money to work – if they have R1 billion and you’re asking for R1 million, they may not be interested at that level. They want to put a substantial amount of money to work for the effort involved so research into which bracket they invest into before you arrive. For early stage investment, many times they will want to own between 20-25% of your company, but they may consider 15% if they are co-investing.

The biggest funding challenges facing entrepreneurs

Want to build a great business in Africa? Get ready to woo the investor.

It isn’t easy being an entrepreneur. You’ve got this idea and it just won’t leave you alone. It shakes you along the road to success, demanding that you give it the right amount of attention and inspiring late nights and long hours. However, success isn’t guaranteed, no matter how hard you work or how great your conviction. You need funding, investor interest and support. Here are four steps that your business needs to take to put it in the eye of the investor and, possibly, get their attention.

1. Traction
You need to get traction into your business idea. To do this, you need to find out what investors want, what boxes they expect you to have ticked, and you need to give this to them. One thing that every investor loves is revenue – it’s the oxygen that keeps the business alive – so if you can prove that you’ve got a sustainable model with guaranteed revenue, you’re already on the right track.

2. Team members
The value of a dynamic and reliable management team cannot be understated. If a VC or angel investor isn’t impressed with your management team, then it will be close to impossible for you to get any investment. Start off by preparing a biography of your team members, be prepared to showcase this at your pitch and ensure that every person has experience that is relevant to your industry. These are the qualities that will interest potential investors.

3. Momentum
Investors want to see traction in your industry. They want to see revenue and they want to know that you have users or customers. Before an investor puts funds towards your company, they want to be assured of the fact that this is just that – an investment. You should have a minimum viable product with demonstrable capabilities and all the facts, figures and numbers to back it up. Always be prepared with the data and for any question that the investor may throw your way.

4. Partnerships
While having the right people in management is crucial to gaining investor confidence, so is having good relationships with strategic partners. You need to showcase that you are capable of forging alliances with people and business who can help you further your goals, and that you can sustain these over the long term. It is also advisable to invest in a media presence and to build up a base of media contacts – these tools are essential in helping you to build brand awareness and show investors that you are looking to ways of attracting customer attention.

Article from startupmagazine 19 October 2017: