Tuesday, January 22, 2013

12 Tips on Raising Venture Capital for Your Startup

Burning a hole at the top of a long list of needs for a startup entrepreneur is good old Benjamin Franklins.

Yes — stacks of capital needed to fund dreams of a vast and bright future.

And what entrepreneur among you couldn’t use a few more dollars for your startup?

Yes — just what I thought.

So reaching out through the ranks of my connections I came across the good fortune to pick the brain of Paul Jones, former Silicon Valley resident with Cooley Godward and current Chair of the Venture Best group for Michael Best and Friedrich.

Jones is a serial venture capital backed entrepreneur; angel investor; and Co-Founder of a $26 million early stage venture capital fund.  He was Entrepreneur of the Year and President of the Council for Entrepreneurial Development in North Carolina and also serves as the Fund Investment Adviser for Angels on the Water, a Wisconsin Angel investment fund.

So in an hour long rapid fire discussion; Jones gave me his 12 best tips on raising venture capital any aspiring entrepreneur would be wise to listen to:

1.) You Have to Decide: High Impact or Small Business Entrepreneur?

Yes — you call yourself an entrepreneur. But hold the phone — because unless you have a pretty clear idea going in what your aspirations are; you could find yourself flailing around like a ship without a rudder.

As Jones explains it; “You have to know going in what you really want; because you can’t have it both ways. If you go into high impact venture-backed entrepreneurship; you’re trying to build a business that’s going to scale and make people wealthy. And you’re not going to be your own boss for long. Whereas a small business entrepreneur wants salary security and to be their own boss. So you really need to ask yourself which world you’re trying to be in. Are you trying to be a business owner who’s well respected in the community; has a nice income and runs his own shop or are you trying to create the next Microsoft or Twitter? You have to choose because these are two very different rides.”

2.) You May Have to Move

Did you pick the high impact entrepreneur road? Awesome. But brace yourself — because unless you already live in Silicon Valley; you may have to move.

Jones puts it frankly; “No one ever said life is fair and I’ve written and told people that if raising money at the best valuation fast is your sole objective in life — you probably need to move to Silicon Valley.”

3.) Get On The Team — Even if You Sit the Bench For Awhile