Frequently Asked Questions
What is your typical client profile? Our area of expertise is software and web-based businesses. We typically work with seed and early stage companies, at the idea or prototype stage when 1-5 individuals are involved. This allows us to make a significant difference in helping the company further develop their ideas. The business opportunity must target a potentially significant new or developing market. We work exclusively within reasonable driving distance of New Hampshire: that means your business would be in the general geography from Albany, NY, to Boston, MA and Southern Maine.
I have a great idea, what should I do next? A business plan is always an important part of developing a new business idea, and if you are starting a business, you should be knowledgeable about the key information typically found in a business plan. However, we find a business plan is more useful for presenting more established business ideas to a broader audience, and understand that you may not be at that point yet. We therefore suggest the development of a 2 page executive business summary. If you already have a plan, this can be extracted, but otherwise this needs to be developed. A short, concise 2 page document is the most effective way to communicate your idea to potential partners and investors at an early stage. Once you have this document, please send it to us so we can begin a dialog about your business opportunity and options we may have to help you.
How can you help my business? We have a broad range of business experience in high technology and software, offshore development, domestic and international markets, and numerous business contacts on the east coast, west coast, and across the US. Our goal is to work closely with you to make your business successful. This will include advising you and working as an extended member of your team regarding business and startup topics, technology, customers, markets, team composition, key milestones, valuation, advisors, investment opportunities, even helping you code your product, if that is what you need. How much we can help depends mostly on the background and experience of your team, your stage of development, and the nature of the addressable market for the product or service you will offer.
Will you invest in my business? Many founding teams seek external capital investment before they are ready, thinking it is their only option to grow their business. While an important step for many businesses, this path needs to be considered carefully, versus other options such as bootstrapping, customer funding, friends and family, debt financing etc. We seek to get involved at a very early stage, to help develop the business ideas and validate the market. We can then work with you to evaluate the options to support your plans and growth. If fundraising is appropriate, we will help you prepare for and meet potential sources of growth capital. We may decide to make an investment alongside these other investors, depending on the factors and circumstances. We would not typically invest in companies outside our client portfolio.
How much of my business will the investors want? That is a complex question that depends on many factors, such as the track record of the management team, the state of the development of the product, history and stage of the company, the market and competitive situation, the quantity of funds needed and the skills and knowledge of the investors. A first round of investment by professional early stage investors would normally require that you give up 10-35% ownership in your company.
What key information should I put in my executive summary? There are a number of critical items to include in a business opportunity executive summary:
A short description and history of the business and how it will make money (business model), including a summary of any current revenues
The individuals involved in the business, their roles, and positions held at other firms
The potential market size, customers (existing or potential), and any existing products or competitors
A summary of any existing product, product design, or prototype including how it is unique/defendable in the market
Business growth, revenue, and expense projections
How much money the business will need, especially for the next 6 months, and what will be achieved during that time
How the investors will make a return on their investment, the potential exit strategies, and the likely/possible timeline
A potential range of return expected for the investors over that timeline (early stage investors will expect 5x-10x or more return potential)
What are those peaks displayed at the top of the page? The photo was taken in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, near Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada and shows Mts. Fay, Little, Bowlen, Perren, Allen, Tuzo, Deltaform, and Neptuak.
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