One of the great ironies of startup fund raising are the tools used to attract Angels and VCs. At a recent Angel Capital Expo, I walked away with folders full of paper and a pocket full of USB drives (that I will never plug in for fear of a hidden virus) from companies claiming to be solving the most pressing problems with the latest technology. If this was so, I wondered, why was I expected to learn about these cutting-edge companies through 10-year-old technology? Not very inspiring I thought, so here are 3 totally free tools entrepreneurs can use to bring their startup’s capital raise into the 21st Century:
- Venture360 – This is a robust online tool used by over 100 Angel Investor groups, VC firms, and other investment firms. While it has tons of investor features, everything from online deal screening to syndication functions, it’s the entrepreneurial tools that make it a must-have for your capital raise. The site will walk you through a Q & A process that sets up a profile of your company that will help potential investors quickly screen your deal. There is also a document storage area, an investor communication portal, and a platform that allows investors to e-sign closing documents and seamlessly wire the funds to your account. You can also use this platform to apply for funding with over 100 Angel Groups or share your information with any potential investor. They don’t need to have an account to see your deal. No more handing out USB drives with your business plan on it, this site has it all – and it’s FREE for entrepreneurs.
- Audacity – This is a voice recording software that is completely FREE. Using this tool, you can add voice over tracks to your investor presentations. By adding these voice tracks to each slide, you can essentially scale your pitch by allowing potential investors to walk themselves through your pitch – even when you are not there. Audacity is simple to use and provides extremely high quality. It’s the same software I use to record my Podcast (The Pitch Deck) and it is far superior to any recording software that is pre-installed on your computer. PRO TIP – Invest in a USB headset — like a Logitec Clear Chat USB Headset (retails around $25) for the best sound quality.
- The Caycon High Tech Valuation Estimator – This tool helps founders understand how the investor market will look at their company and assign a price tag to the shares they might want to purchase (i.e. invest). Many deals go south not because the technology and founding team aren’t strong, but because the founders and investors cannot agree on the value of the company, and thus what portion the investor should get for her money. This tool walks founders (and investors) through a questionnaire that will assign a value range to the company at its current stage. This is not to be taken as gospel, but it certainly provides a logic based starting point for negotiations that any investor can respect.
Use these 3 tools to modernize your company’s efforts to raise money, and leave the USB drives to the last decade!