You’ve got your business off the ground, you’ve secured some financing, you’re cash flow positive, and business is good. Great! But you need to expand into a new market and to do that you need cash, it’s time to start researching European venture capital.
Your 3f’s (friends family and fools) are all pretty much exhausted, and Angel Capital’s already been spent in your national expansion efforts. So now it’s either debt or venture capital…
And while we won’t go into the semantics of why we’re recommending a VC injection rather than debt acquisition (just yet), we’ll just say that this option is the better one for your business at its present juncture.
That said, you’ve figured out you need VC. But how on earth do you go about contacting them, and how on earth do you even know what funds exits out there?
Luckily we have the EVCA or the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association where you can search for firms by country, type, geographical investment preference, preferred industry, and type of financing which greatly narrows your research.
That said, after you’ve narrowed down your list it’s imperative to research the firm, see where they’ve recently invested, check at what stage of investment they’re in with their current fund(s), and most importantly ask people in the industry who have dealt with them to get a sense of how they work. Just like any other startup, each VC firm has a very different culture, and with them investing in you, the cultural mix will be just as important as anything else.
So now that you’ve conducted your research and have created a shortlist, it’s time to contact them…. more on that later, however.
We’d also like to note that there is also the BVCA or the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association – however they have recently changed their practices in that now a Non Membership fee of £150 id required to access their database and considering that their database is pretty much represented in the EVCA one, we’d pass on the fee and just read what articles they offer – gratis.
Outside of Europe, you have similar associations representing funds across the world – links and additional resources below.