Is your startup investable?
Let’s think of securing your initial investment as being the world’s most gruelling hurdle race.
(Pretty good job you’ve named your company Edwin Moses Ltd., isn’t it?)
Each one of the stages of securing investment is a hurdle – and this is a race in which more than half
the field will fall at the first.
(And this first hurdle is simply an investor’s cursory glance over your executive summary or quick
To ensure you make it to the finish line – and secure that gold – it’s time to spell out the A, B, C of
being investable for you.
(On your marks. Get Set. Go.)
‘I’ is for IP and patents
Protecting your IP is absolutely imperative. A product that is easy to copy but can also be patented
can be a great opportunity for an investor.
‘N’ is for niche or market sector
For an opportunity to be deemed investable, the market opportunity needs to be large and you need
to demonstrate that the share of it that you can command warrants serious consideration.
‘V’ is for verification
Verification and validation are so critically important – but so often overlooked by entrepreneurs.
Your word – persuasive as it is – gains more depth when joined by other voices.
Think Beta test results, comparable business models, market research or quotes from influencers
and be sure to highlight any funding already received from authoritative sources.
‘E’ is for expandability
Investors need to see that you and your team have plans to grow your business and the market itself
to generate a great return.
Part of scalability is sustainability – your business must demonstrate the ability to develop a long-
term, ongoing place in the market so that incremental value can be achieved.
‘S’ is for strategy
As well as documenting your plans for growth, you also need to be clear about your exit plans.
It doesn’t matter that the business is barely started, investors are perhaps even more interested in
how their partnership with you will end as they are in its beginnings.
‘T’ is for team
You must convince investors that you have a team with the experience and skills to achieve your
goals – and they need you to demonstrate an awareness of any gaps there may be. Emphasise your
team’s credentials and evaluate your weaknesses honestly.
‘A’ is for assets
The main assets that an investor looks for are – strangely enough – the things that money can’t buy.
If you have a solution that is market-ready (with extra investment) this is a very interesting asset. If
you have a concept that is not road-tested this is a much higher risk.
Of course, any assets you hold may represent items that free up investment for other areas – so
make sure they are highlighted.
‘B’ is for books
Although not really a factor until the final stages of decision-making, make sure your housekeeping is
in order and everything is accounted for. No-one likes to bless this mess.
‘L’ is for being like-minded and likeable
Beyond the hard criteria there are soft criteria that can at least get you through to the due diligence
stage if not beyond. These include coming across as someone the VC (and a future team of people)
can work with, someone who can listen as well as talk and someone who can take both criticism and
suggestions on board.
‘E’ is for excitement
It’s not a deal breaker – but it can be a deal maker – if your investor has an interest and is excited by
If you can provide these investable building blocks then you stand the best chance of leaping over
the hurdles and reaching the finish line.