How To Get Qualified For Series A Funding? | by Aysha Saifi | The Capital | Jun, 2022

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One of the most significant elements in a company’s growth is the availability of capital. To be here, you must be familiar with the many stages of obtaining funds for an early-stage company. The importance of series A funding is met when you want to improve the marketing, services, packaging, and other areas of enterprises. So, in order for these to work, you need Series A in place.

One or more investors may lead the initial round of institutional fundraising known as Series A. The odds of securing seed investment are 1:40, whereas the odds of getting Series A capital are 1:400, according to statistics. You’re right if you think that’s a challenge. To be successful, your startup needs to get its hands on Series A capital at the proper time. So, how can you become qualified for the same? Let’s see.

Series A financing is a significant step of fundraising for many entrepreneurs. It is often the second startup funding stage of capital raising and the initial round of venture capital fundraising. Similar to the seed round, founders raise money through the sale of company stock, but there are several significant variations.

What is series A funding?

Series A financing is a “buyer’s market,” and investors have the option of refusing to fund a company. A Series A round of fundraising allows a business to raise between $2 million and $5 million against 15% to 25% of the enterprise. Successfully securing Series A capital will ensure that the project is completed, technological risks are mitigated, a revenue stream is established, and the company is prepared to pursue larger Series B funding.

The term “Series A finance” refers to a form of equity-based financing. This means that a business obtains the necessary funds from investors by selling its shares. However, anti-dilution restrictions are typically included in series A financing. Startups frequently issue preferred shares that do not confer voting rights on their owners.

Simultaneously, it is fairly typical for businesses to issue convertible preferred stock. These shares allow investors to convert their preferred stock into common stock at a future date. But the investors earn less on series A fundraising than they do on seed financing. Equity crowdfunding, in addition to more traditional models, can be utilized for series A financing.

In contrast to seed funding, series A financing is a more formal process. The majority of investors in this round of financing, venture capitalists, are willing to finish the due diligence and valuation procedure prior to making an investment decision. As a result, these processes initiate each significant series A funding phase. A startup’s valuation is a major element of series A financing. In comparison to seed-stage enterprises, organizations seeking series A funding can disclose additional information that can be used to make informed investment decisions.

The objectives of series valuation fundraising entail identifying and evaluating the progress made by a firm with its seed funding, as well as the management team’s efficiency. Additionally, the valuation process indicates how well a business and its management team utilize available resources to generate future earnings. Venture capitalists will invest in a business only when the due diligence and appraisal processes are complete.

Also, having a lead investor to determine the parameters of the round is key for attracting further capital. Typically, the lead investor will take 20% to 30% of the amount, and after they commit, the startup’s management will have 90 to 120 days to close the transaction. Series A is a priced round, implying that there must be terms. The company and the primary investor agree to these terms. While the preferred stock is frequently issued at this stage, SAFEs or convertible notes may also be issued.

The Series A investment is significant because it enables the company to demonstrate a business model, eliminate any technology concerns, and develop a growing revenue stream before proceeding to the Series B round.

The Series A round is often larger than the seed round, ranging from $2 million to $15 million and possibly more. Recently, we’ve heard of $50 million Series A rounds. Series A financing is typically utilized to secure a company’s sustained growth. The series A round’s common objectives include meeting product development milestones and acquiring fresh talent.

At this stage of development, a company’s objective is to continue growing its business in order to attract other investors in subsequent rounds of financing. The largest investors in the Series A round are venture capital firms. Capital is generally granted to businesses that have generated revenue but are still in the pre-profit stage.

You are already structuring everything for your fundraising and due diligence documents at this time. However, before diving into your financial objectives, it is vital that you understand these necessary requirements for getting series A funding. Here are a few important tips to get qualified for the Series A round.

Use the right valuation methods

As a founder, you should be aware of the various criteria that venture capitalists use to evaluate startups. Typically, venture capitalists want confirmation of the concept, traction, customer acquisition, final product, team, cash flow, the value of the company, and management system. Additionally, VCs consider the stage of your firm, the market sector, the location, and the target equity. In order to get this done correctly, choose the right valuation methods that will benefit your firm the most.

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Prepare a quality team

In comparison to the seed stage, investors are more interested in the business’s potential for growth. Even if you have a core staff in place, develop a strategy for hiring and increasing your team in the coming years.

Create a compelling pitch

You need the most compelling pitch, so attend as many meetups as possible. Consult with other first-round funders to obtain their thoughts on your pitch. They will ask you about key concerns and provide you with information on what works best that you should incorporate into your pitch before meeting with the investors on your most important list. Treat your pitch like a product and keep working on it until it’s perfect before submitting it for consideration.

Practice your pitch

Practicing your pitch is essential. The vital issue is to schedule as many meetings as possible. Consult with other founders who have successfully received Series A funding and incorporate their feedback into your pitch. Meet with the low-priority investors first — they will ask pertinent questions and provide valuable input that you should incorporate into your pitch before meeting with the high-priority investors. Consider the pitch like a product and iterate until it is perfect.

Have paperwork done

Reduce the time required to close a transaction by having the necessary documentation in place for due diligence. Ascertain that your company’s legal documents and compliance are current, and have your staff compile all records pertaining to employees, previous finance, corporate structure and establishment, client contracts, intellectual property, and cap table, among others. The documentation should be organized and prepared for examination by the Investor’s legal counsel/due diligence team.

Have the right investor for your startup

Knowing who to approach for funding is just as vital as knowing how to approach them. You want to begin with venture capitalists who are already investing in your industry. Take the effort to familiarize yourself with the financial scene: who invests? Who has recently retreated? The more you understand potential investors, the more effectively you can connect with them in the future. Adhering to the 30–10–2 guidelines can assist your organization in achieving the investment success it requires. Make yourself acquainted with the startup investing scene. Determine a method for obtaining warm introductions to 30 prospective investors. From there, ten are likely to want to meet you, with two perhaps interested in investing in your startup.

Prepare term sheet

It is essential that the contract terms sheets for your Series A are accurate and aligned with the business’s trajectory. The Series A term sheet will serve as the foundation for all subsequent rounds — many of the terms you agreed to in your Series A are likely to continue over to subsequent rounds, such as Series B or Series C — “ it is essential to get them right the first time.

Close early

When you establish traction with a venture capitalist or series of venture capitalists, capitalizing on that traction will make it easier to secure the last part of that financing round. Inform VCs that you have X amount and will close the round in a specified, usually shorter amount of time. Avoid excessive delay; expedite the closing of a deal. Your startup fundraising activities are vital to ensuring your business’s success. Prepare to meet the expectations of Series A financing by gaining the support you require from investors and establishing yourself as one of your industry’s newest up-and-coming members.

From an investor’s standpoint, due diligence is essential to evaluate because it contains all of the company’s performance records; therefore, ensure that you thoroughly review all due diligence materials. For instance, evaluate the financial statements, particularly the balance sheet, to determine if any liabilities need to be disclosed to investors. Additionally, evaluate the cap table to ensure that your team retains an incentive to pursue the project following the Series A round.

So, after securing a term sheet, a startup should be ready to undergo due diligence. Proper housekeeping is essential for an organized and painless due diligence process. It contains validated accounting methods, instant access to formation documents, multiple versions of the company charter, the cap table, board resolutions, employment paperwork, historical financials, material agreements, and anything else that may be specific to your organization.

The company’s efforts and operations don’t always go according to plan, therefore raising 10% to 15% more than expected. The more money you raise, the better chance you have to fulfill the goals you set for the next round of funding, and the more time and energy you have to devote to growing your company. Your firm’s success depends on the success of your startup fundraising activities. As a result of adhering to these guidelines, you’ll be better equipped to meet the needs of Series A funding, get investor backing, and establish yourself as a new up-and-comer in your field.

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