缺錢就要找創投?| When you’re running out of money, is it time to seek VC funding?

[English version below]

現在正缺資金、在想著找創投、煩惱怎麼談到好的投資條件書?
先等等,回頭想想,找創投募資真的是唯一解嗎?

『 定位好自己,募資不代表全部。 』

Cherubic Ventures(心元資本) 的 Tina Cheng (成之璇)認為,要先了解自己在市場上的定位,如果現在團隊剛好站在當下熱門趨勢的風口上,募資上會比較順利。「但是,募資成功不一定代表公司成功。若沒有利用公司優勢做好、做大,有時候募太多錢,下場不一定會好。」可以將募資視為一個加速公司成長的工具,但重點還是要先讓公司踩穩基石,才能發揮最大功效。

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『 這是一條不歸路,請預留自身價值。 』

New Capital Ventures 的 Kurt Chen (陳文強)說:「找創投是一條不歸路。想清楚,找一個投資人能好好聽你講的策略藍圖,並且三年、五年後還能一直支持你 。」同時提出 bootstrapping (指公司財務上不求外力支援)概念非常重要,先了解真正能驅動公司成長的要素,不要看太多其他人的商業模式,進而複製甚至影響自己既有的模式,因為這本身就是一個不斷嘗試錯誤(trial and error)的過程。「在適當的時間找創投就好,不要讓創投吃掉你。」如果真的需要募錢,則是要募得剛剛好,不要過度浪費公司股份和其所代表的價值。讓公司維持在一個「饑餓」的狀態,不用一下子把所有東西都填滿。

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『 募資是用來加速正循環,而非解決負循環。 』

AppWorks 合夥人 Jamie Lin (林之晨)也提醒新創團隊們:募資是創業過程中最小的里程碑。並強調,「募資是用來加速正循環,而不是解決負循環。」不要因為缺錢的狀態而去募資,「你在找好的投資人,投資人也在找好創業者。」同時要優化投資人,而不是優化估值。更重要的,是建立起 「人脈效應及產品防守能力(network effect and defensibility)」,然後請投資人一起來加速它們。如果有選擇的話,越晚募資越好,這樣越能把價值留在團隊裡面。

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更多續集,請繼續鎖定觀看:

創投是什麼樣的人?他們在想什麼?
新創在面對盡職調查(due diligence)時,應要注意的是?
投資條件書中,需要掌控的關鍵權利有哪些?

關於 新創大補帖:投資條件書 (Crash Course:Term Sheets) 

早期科技新創團隊的生死存亡關鍵之一-資金!如何撰寫一份完整詳盡的財務計畫和募資策略,成為了重要課題。TSS 和 Spring Drive 於 2016 年 11 月 11 日至 13 日期間,共同邀請國際投資人們、以及財會法務專家、募資成功創業家等共 10 餘位黃金講師陣容,進行密集課程訓練,讓創業家們綜觀了解投資整體流程、投資人類型,並能依照不同團隊組織結構、成長現況及募資需求,進行投資條件書(term sheets)的演練。


本系列文出自 新創大補帖:投資條件書 (Crash Course:Term Sheets) 活動期間之節錄筆記,也敬請期待日後更多課程紀錄分享。歡迎追蹤 TSS 粉絲團 和 推特官方帳號 (或文章標籤 #CCTermSheets)。


Are you a startup scrambling for money? Wondering where you can find investors? Trying to figure out how to get better terms for your term sheet? First, take a deep breath. Then, check to make sure seeking VC funding is the right option for you. 

"Know where you stand and then run with it!"

Tina Cheng of Cherubic Ventures believes you need to understand your market positioning: if your idea happens to be trending, fundraising can go much more smoothly for you. “However, success in fundraising doesn’t always equal success for your company. And, if you don’t utilize well the funds you’ve raised, regardless of how much funding you receive, it’s hard to say what the outcome will be.” Think of fundraising as a catalyst that will help you accelerate your company growth. In order to maximize the effect of your fundraising, make sure your startup is already on stable footing.

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"The road of VC funding is a path of no return. Hold on to the value of your company!"

Kurt Chen of New Capital Ventures says, “seeking VC funding is a path of no return, so think twice before deciding on this option. If you do opt for VC money, find investors who can sit down and listen patiently to your strategic plan, and will be by your side 3-5 years down the line.” Another choice, “bootstrapping” (self-funding instead of relying on outside money), is worth considering. Take a good look at the real drivers of your company growth, and be careful not to reference too heavily other companies’ business models. The true drivers of your company’s growth are unique and may depend on a process of your own trial and error to uncover.

Moreover, if you do say “yes” to VC funding, “consider if it’s the right timing for your startup, and be careful to not let them take over your entire company.” Just take the amount you need without giving away too much equity. It’s better to keep your company a little bit “hungry.” There’s no need to raise too much all at once. 

"Fundraising is just one small step along the journey of a startup" 

Jamie Lin of AppWorks emphasizes that “just as much as you are looking for good investors, they’re also looking for good founders.” So, think about fundraising as a way to accelerate your startup’s growth when things are going well. In other words, this would be a time that reflects positively on your ability as a founder. Conversely, seeking funding when things are not going well and only because you’re running out of money, may not put the founder in the best light for investors. So, you should target your fundraising efforts on getting the right investor, not necessarily a specific valuation.

More importantly, you should leverage the “network effect” to amplify interest in your startup from investors, customers, and mentors as well as enhance your company’s “defensibility” (agility and competitiveness) in the market. Good investors can hopefully help you in both of these areas. If you have the option, the longer you hold off on fundraising, the better. This will allow you to keep more value within the team.  


Stay tuned for more in this series:

What kind of people are VCs? What are they thinking?
What should startups pay attention to when doing due diligence on investors?
What should you fight for in your term sheet negotiations?


The content for this article has been primarily taken from Crash Course: Term Sheets, an intensive workshop co-hosted by TSS and Spring Drive. Get the upcoming articles in this series by following the TSS Facebook page, TSS Twitter account and Twitter hashtag #CCTermSheets. The content of this article including all direct quotations were originally in Chinese. All translations for the English version have been provided by TSS.