Access to Capital
How to get funded
Forming capital for early stage, cleantech/greentech companies requires pinpointing the reward/risk profile in the mind of the prospective investor partners. There are many reasons to invest -- financial, social (bragging rights), political, emotional, or matters of faith -- but there are far more reasons not to. To suceed with fundraising campaigns in a reasonable timeframe, you must be upfront about the key facts and assumptions that underpin your plan or proposal. Then an investor can decide with open eyes based on their unique motives. But if you "oversell" the reward side or hide anything pertinent in your risk analysis, you set yourself up for a no win situation -- or worse (read: lawsuit).
The importance of "underpromise [so you can] overdeliver" cannot be overestimated. Don't take our word for it -- try for yourself and see. You'll notice a series of misunderstandings and disappointments that are and were completely preventable. Resist the natural temptation to glorify and aggrandize when you might be better off just giving the facts straight up, letting the prospective partner decide why they might want to participate. Hide nothing, discuss anything.
Presenting the key facts and figures that investors care about -- preferably in a familiar format that's easily to follow -- can only come from well informed, highly attuned dialogue with lots of prospective investor partners. At In3, we've had exactly these sorts of conversations since 1996 and have summarized and repeatedly verified what typical investors need and want to know. And by preparing investor-oriented business plans and a succinct presentation, you speak their language, to their interests, often to their unique decision-making "hot buttons," and build a bridge of rapport that can withstand (in fact, thrive on) the inevitable heat of confusion, misunderstanding, or disagreement. Disagreements (or at least "healthy, creative tension") about strategy, market size estimates, sales projections, and valuation are to be expected. And even if there's nothing but alignment on all other points, reasonable valuation for early stage companies is notoriously subjective, so entrepreneurs should expect some bargaining to find common ground on deal terms.
Tough-minded and serial entrepreneurs often take a "my way or the highway" approach to valuation. But take-it-or-leave-it ultimatums are a sure-fire way to prevent new equity partnerships, and they usually don't work out. If you really do not need the money, fine, but otherwise, why are you seeking partners at all? Fortunately, there are numerous "creative" options and strategies for bypassing valuation differences of opinion. These are the main tools of getting deals done.
Building this bridge of rapport also comes from understanding the cultural concerns, values, and dynamics of investors, fund managers, and gatekeepers. This is where a third party can come in. If you invest a minor amount of your precious capital in planning for success with investment strategy and presentation, you will "go slow to go faster" and achieve your capital formation goals in less time and with far less effort. That way, executives can refocus on running and growing the business rather than the perpetual captial campaign that plauge so many early-stage entrepreneurs.
Some would claim that sustainable, green and clean technology has already mainstreamed. It certainly has become popular (understatement). Concerns about climate change and energy security, and corporate risk management are affecting capital markets, so innovation at all levels of commercialization is the apparent solution.
Seeking Funding through In3
We sometimes accept a minority equity stake in our client ventures as active partners or in partial exchange for fees-for-services. We often look for synergies with our other portfolio companies. Successful In3-led projects are listed on clients page.
If you represent a company seeking funding that (a) meets the criteria
listed in What We Do, (b) fits into one of our listed arenas, and (c) is interested
in one or more of our services
for entrepreneurs, then follows these steps to get started with In3: