Entrepreneurship on the Rise
Small startup businesses are driving the innovation economy in Richmond.
- 75% of new jobs today are created from small businesses
- 47% of Virginia’s private workforce is from small businesses
- 51% of Virginia Commonwealth University students would like to start their own company
- 14% of Virginia Commonwealth University students already had an idea for a startup or had already formed their own business venture
In order to succeed, the majority of RVA startups will need investors to support their growth goals.
Retail Merchants Association addressed this topic during their recent Friday Forum with a panel of local startup investors sharing their stories and insights on how they invest in startups.
What is an angel investor?
Changes in regulations are coming that will allow anyone with risk tolerance to invest in early stage companies.
Typically, startups raise their initial funding from friends and family. The angel investor can also come in during the first round, if the company shows promise. As the business grows, the angel investor may provide additional funding.
It’s a Risky Investment
According to 2016 statistics published by the Small Business Administration (SBA), about 78% of small business startups survive the first year and about half of all employer establishments survive at least five years. A third survive ten years or more.
As a result, the angel investor is making an extremely high risk investment. Their money is tied to the business until it is sold and they are looking for multiples on their return. It’s common for a startup to work with a group of angel investors who pool their resources to invest in more than one company in order to mitigate the loss of a failed business investment.
What do angel investors look for when investing in a company?
Multiple considerations come into play for angel investors, including:
- Do the business owner(s) have a passion for solving a specific problem? Is there a viable solution to that problem?
- How organized are the entrepreneurs? Do they have their operations and financials pulled together? The business is more than just idea driven.
- Do they have an exit in sight? Angel investors want to know when they will get their return.
- Can the investor influence the outcome? Are the entrepreneurs coachable? Do they listen and accept feedback?
What’s a typical RVA company investment amount?
$25,000-$50,000 (not over $100,000 from a single individual)
What’s the value to a startup to have angel investors?
Aside from the financial benefit, there are numerous other value adds in working with angel investors, including:
- Coaching and mentoring
- Leveraging the investor’s connections and relationships to build customers
- Since the angel investor’s success is dependent on your business’ success, many investors will work diligently to ensure you are meeting growth goals and managing the business effectively.
How can your startup get in front of Angel Investors?
In support of RVA’s growing innovation economy, there are a number of organizations and investors working to launch new businesses in the region. Some of these resources are referenced below:
- Altron Corporation
Altron Corporation is a family of companies in aviation, commercial real estate and venture capital. Although diverse, each of the Altron companies is based on the principles of innovation, profitable growth and community support.
- Virginia Active Angel Network
Our mission? To help startups identify investors and get funded.
- Lighthouse Labs
Lighthouse Labs is a non-profit, mentor-driven startup accelerator program connecting promising founders with proven mentors, investors, support services, working space and lean startup education to move from idea to viable high growth venture in 3 months.
- Coming Soon: Startup Virginia funded by Capital One’s Future Edge Initiative
We are dedicated to sharing our accounting knowledge and insights to help you shape the success of your business. Our signature EmergingRVA events focus on providing education and networking opportunities for RVA’s up and coming businesses. See our Events page for details on upcoming events.
U.S. Small Business Administration
The information contained within this article is provided for informational purposes only and is current as of the date published. Online readers are advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of a professional accountant, as this article is not a substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional accountant.