How to Make a Startup Funding Request?

A funding request is a critical element that increases your chance of getting approved for funding.

Are you thinking about starting your own business? If so, you’ll need the funds to turn your vision of a profitable venture into a reality. While some entrepreneurs have personal cash and assets to fund their businesses, most require assistance from outside sources. You need to make a funding request to raise funding for a startup. Here’s how to write your funding request and get the cash to run your business.

What is Startup Funding?

Funding refers to the money required to start and run a business. It is a financial investment in a company for product development, manufacturing, expansion, sales and marketing, office spaces, and inventory. Many startups choose not to raise funding from third parties and are funded by their founders only (to prevent debts and equity dilution). However, most startups raise funding, especially as they grow and scale their operations.

Why Do Startups Require Funding?

A startup might require funding for one, a few, or all of the following purposes. An entrepreneur must be clear about why they are raising funds. Founders should have a detailed financial and business plan before they approach investors.

1. Prototype Creation

2. Product Development

3. Team Hiring

4. Working Capital

5. Legal and Consulting Services

6. Raw Materials and Equipment

7. Licenses and Certifications

8. Marketing and Sales

9. Office Space

10. Admin Expenses

What is a Funding Request?

A funding request is exactly what it sounds like: a written request to obtain funding from a lender or investor for your business. It’s typically included as part of the overall business plan, specifically focusing on the business’s funding needs. You should create a funding request whether you’re seeking capital from a traditional bank, private investor, angel investor, or any external source. It’s a critical element that increases your chance of getting approved for funding.

How to Make a Funding Request?

Below are the key points that you should include in your funding request.

1. Business Summary

A business summary is only required in cases when you create a funding request as a standalone document. The name and nature of the company, location, brief description of the owners, product or service offered, target audiences, etc., must be included in the summary. In cases of established companies, you can also highlight past achievements.

However, the business summary may be skipped if the reader (potential lender) happens to have the entire document to hand.

2. Spell Out What You Need

When it comes to the funding section of your business plan, there’s no point beating around the bush because the reader will know what you’re there for and may not have the time to play games trying to figure out your ask. So, in this section, you need to give a ballpark figure of the total funding required at the moment and whether the company plans to raise capital again sometime soon. You must also specify if the company is looking for a short-term loan or an investment in exchange for an equity stake or board membership.

3. An Outline of How You Will Use The Funds

If you know how much money you need, it’s safe to say that you’ll have an idea about how you will use the funds.

However, only provide an outline of your plans. If you’re going to be using it for several different reasons, perhaps dividing it into several areas of your business, take the time to outline each use and explain how much will go towards it.

Give lenders or investors details on how you will use the funds to grow your business and repay the loan or make good on the investment.

4. Financial Information

The financial information section is only required in cases when you create a funding request as a standalone document. In case a business plan is being prepared, all information will be covered under the financial information section of the plan.

This section includes data such as income statements, debt repayment history, and forecasts about future needs. Any activities that may negatively or positively impact the company’s ability to repay loans or deliver results promised, such as relocation, expansion, or mergers and acquisitions, need to be included here.

5. Terms and Conditions

The terms section covers how the company expects to repay a loan or produce deliverables for investors. You must provide lenders with a potential exit plan from the company, which may include cash outs or Initial Public Offering (IPO) plans. The process is of utmost importance from the investor’s perspective, as it provides them with a chance to minimize risk and maximize their profit.

 Pro Tip: Be Professional

Being professional should go without saying, but it’s of the utmost importance when communicating with lenders or investors. Being professional is not just about appearance or word choice. It can also include small details, like tone or grammar.

If you plan to mail your funding request, make sure you complete everything digitally instead of by hand. Typed forms are more professional and generally more legible for others to review. Do you have any letterhead for your business? If so, use it for any cover letters you submit with the request.

Review the funding request for any errors before submitting it. Consider using word or grammar correction software to help catch any potential mistakes.

Conclusion

Getting money to fund your business may very well be the point of creating your entire business plan and funding request, so take the time to carefully prepare your funding request. Make sure you include all the information a decision-maker will need.

How to Make a Fundraising Presentation?

The flow of the presentation is vital for striking a chord with investors.

The fundraising presentation is one of the primary documents essential to any early-stage company fundraising process. The time spent with potential investors becomes most effective if you have an impactful fundraising presentation.

The flow of the presentation is vital for striking a chord with investors and displaying the narrative of the business. Going through a successful pitch deck slide by slide is one of the most effective ways to learn how to build a flow.

There is no single formula for a pitch deck. Otherwise, startup founders wouldn’t spend so much time banging their heads against walls trying to get them just right. However, we have listed some ideas that you can apply immediately so that your next investor presentation leaves you – and your investor – smiling and happy.

Know your audience

Knowing your audience is key to good communication. At a startup, you will pitch to multiple audiences: customers, partners, recruits, and investors. Although you may be able to reuse some content between these audiences, you’ll need to make sure you devote time to a slide deck that focuses on the investor perspective.

Ask yourself:

Who exactly is my potential investor – and what do they want?

What do I want to achieve – how will I sell our investment opportunity?

How can I hook people – by grabbing their attention early on?

What is my takeaway message – the one that I want them to remember afterward?

Define and refine your investment story

The way you frame your investment story influences how an investor sees you. Most successful fundraisers craft a compelling story around their strategy and tell it passionately. According to Forbes, the perfect selling story involves being relatable, detailing a conflict, presenting the resolution, and demonstrating results. The investors need to understand why your opportunity is special and what makes it stand out from others.

Structure your presentation like a story

The best fundraising presentations are ones where you take the investors on a journey. A simple structure – with a clear beginning, middle and end – demonstrates the command of your own story. It also helps investors quickly grasp what you do.

But remember, all you’re trying to do with the pitch deck is get their “greed glands” flowing. If you do that, there will be plenty of opportunities to give them more details. If you overwhelm them with too much detail at this point, they may miss the big picture.

Make sure you are ready

The best way to communicate your business to investors is to know your business!

Investors get frustrated by presenters who avoid, second-guess or provide scrambled answers to questions. Remember that it is their job to ask questions and be critical. We recommend that you prepare for the Q&A session as much as you do for the fundraising presentation itself. Prepare your answers and rehearse delivering them confidently together as a team – the last thing you want is your team being surprised by each other’s answers. 

Fundraising Donations Charity Foundation Support Concept

Make a good impression

Impressions are everything – investors’ perception of your team when you are with them is what matters.

Apart from preparing the presentation, you should also prepare yourself and the team. Remember that nonverbal communication can be just as important as what is said.

So, do extensive rehearsals on camera with the team so they are investor-ready. During the presentation, pay attention to what you do when your colleagues speak.

Look engaged and interested – show that you are as interested in your investors as you want them to be in you.

What Do Investors Look For In Startups?

Investors essentially buy a piece of the company with their investment. Here are some qualities investors look for in a startup that acts as deciding factors for funding.

  1. Objective and Problem Solving: The offering of any startup should be differentiated to solve a unique customer problem or meet specific customer needs. Ideas or products that are patented show high growth potential for investors.
  2. Management & Team: The passion, experience, and skills of the founders and the management team to drive the company forward are equally crucial deciding factors for investors.
  3. Market Landscape: Mention the market size, obtainable market share, product adoption rate, historical and forecasted market growth rates, and macroeconomic drivers for the market you plan to target in the funding proposal.
  4. Scalability & Sustainability: Startups should showcase the potential to scale shortly, along with a sustainable and stable business plan. They should also consider barriers to entry, imitation costs, growth rate, and expansion plans.
  5. Customers & Suppliers: In the funding proposal, state a clear identification of your buyers and suppliers. Consider customer relationships, stickiness to your product, vendor terms, and existing vendors.
  6. Competitive Analysis: Highlight the true picture of competition and other players in the market working on similar things in the proposal. There can never be an apple-to-apple comparison but highlighting the service or product offerings of similar players in the industry is important.
  7. Sales & Marketing: No matter how good your product or service may be, if it does not find any end-use, it is no good. Consider things like a sales forecast, targeted audiences, product mix, conversion and retention ratio, etc.
  8. Financial Assessment: A detailed financial business model that showcases cash inflows over the years, investments required key milestones, break-even points, and growth rates. Assumptions used at this stage should be reasonable and mentioned in the proposal.
  9. Exit Avenues: A startup showcasing potential future acquirers or alliance partners becomes a valuable decision parameter for the investor. Initial public offerings, acquisitions, and subsequent rounds of funding are all examples of exit options.