COVID-19 has led to a slow down in the venture market, leaving startups unsure of how to stay afloat as capital becomes harder to secure. That’s why knowing when and how to secure fast, flexible, and reliable funding is critical. Our CEO, Alkarim Jivraj, recently joined Michele Romanow, co-founder and president of Clearbanc; Kaz Nejatian vice president and general manager of Shopify; and Razor Suleman, CEO and co-founder of Elevate, at Elevate Live for a conversation about founder-friendly financing in the age of COVID-19.
Though raising capital at any time can be challenging, doing so in today’s environment adds an additional layer of complexity. If you’ve determined now is the appropriate time to raise capital, there’s a lot to keep in mind. Below are five of the tips that the panelists offered for raising capital in the age of COVID-19:
1. Look for founder-friendly capital. Whenever fundraising, the panelists agree that you should look for capital that is fair and flexible with no personal guarantees attached. Flexibility is important to ensure you have the ability to increase funding as your business grows and to prepay your loan without penalty.
2. Intimately know your unit economics and the risks facing your company. Fully examining your company’s data is essential if you want to better understand the impact that the current crisis is having on your overall runway. In turn, this will help you determine if and when you need funding, and what funding options are suitable.
3. Determine the different types of fundraising options available to your company. Though this may seem obvious, remember to look into available government programs to see if they can meet your capital needs.
4. Read the fine print. When it comes to signing a deal with an investor, it’s imperative that you comprehend the legals layed out in the agreement. You should fully understand any circumstantial clauses included to protect yourself and your business.
5. Focus on customer revenue. Remember that your current customers are the most important source of revenue right now. Make sure to keep an open dialogue with your customers and adjust your go-to-market strategy if need be to try to win new business.
Ultimately, when seeking financing, founders should always look for an investment partner who is transparent and committed to a mutually beneficial relationship. For more expert advice on raising capital in the age of COVID-19, watch the full panel discussion.