Mon, 11 Jun 2018
While seed and series A funding rounds help develop and bring to market your product, scaling up from here requires further funding that can be provided through a series B round. The key difference between series A and series B is that the investors you work with at series A are aiming for your company to reach profitability, whereas the aims of the latter type of investment type, the investors can broadly be described as aiming to accelerate the company growth and achieve international recognition. Acquiring series B funding requires a huge amount of preparation and management, and this guide will help you assess your own preparedness, and ensure that your funding round is a success.
Clarity is key at this stage. You need to focus on all aspects of your business, from sales, through to marketing, through to the ethos of your company, and you must clearly define them within the context of your business. If you are expecting investors to shell out $10,000,000 – $20,000,000 then you absolutely have to demonstrate progress and growth in these areas and articulate where the future lies.
Once you have a completed business model and pitch deck appropriate for a series B round of funding (see our guides on How to Build a Pitch Deck and How to Present Your Business), it is vital that you are prepared before you begin approaching investors.
One tip that we often find helpful is to speak to individuals and companies that have already been through a series B round. Ask them for advice about their experience, and request an opportunity to practice your pitch on them. If you are unable to do this, there are plenty of resources online from investors, and many authors such as Bill Gurley and Reid Hoffman are specialist writers on the subject.
Updating and upgrading your business model forms the central part of series B funding rounds. The more fleshed out and detailed your business model is, the easier it will be for investors to understand how their involvement will lead to growth.
There are a number of metrics you can begin to monitor that will not only prove useful to your company but are a sure way to impress investors with your attention to detail. Some metrics you could begin to measure could be:
Assess your competitors. Often, having competitors is not a bad thing as it lends legitimacy to your market. However, Venture Capitalists (VCs) and investors will know about these companies, so it is vital that you know even more. Talk about how you are beating them in the market and expose their weaknesses, while also considering how the presence of competitors may affect your ability to form a large company within this market.
Your Executive Team
VCs will want to know about your executives and how they fit into the business. If you are a first time CEO, investors will be impressed if you are able to hire impressive senior team members with significant experience.
One sure-fire way to add legitimacy to your business or product is through customers and prospects vouching for its value. A large number of customer references will impress more than a small number from large corporations. These references will demonstrate that you have a strong market base and can establish loyal customers.
Now you are ready to begin approaching investors and pitching your business. It is better to be in contact with a large number early on, as this will reduce the timescale for securing investment down the road and will give you more options and back-ups if need be.
We also advise going for diversity in the VCs you meet. You want to meet people with a range of focusses and from varying places geographically. Doing this will help you better understand what it is that VCs are looking for and allow you to prepare accordingly.