Over the last decade, we have all some time or the other have come across the hit ABC show, Shark Tank; a show that connects startups at different stages of their life cycle and wealthy investors. Today, if you are reading this, you are looking for funding for a startup of your own.
While not everyone can simply go in the Tank in front of the Sharks, there are a plethora of other avenues available:
1. FIY – Fund It Yourself
While it seems like an impossible idea at first, a lot of the big names in the startup game started small and rode on sales alone. Facebook, Github, Apple, and Microsoft are a few that started small and self-funded. Success depends on your sales and the overall product itself.
2. Loan From Family
Roman Abramovich is the proud owner of the South London club, Chelsea Football Club; he is a Russian oligarch with humble beginnings. He started with a loan from his mum. Money matters are a taboo in most families but if your uncle or aunt are feeling gracious after a few sangria, why not?
3. For the People, By the People
Crowdfunding is the latest trend amongst product based start-ups, or so it seems. Crowdfunding has been around for a long time now. Kickstarter alone has overseen a flow of US 4.2 billion dollars into successfully launched projects.
4. Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists
Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists are simply people with loads of money who are looking to invest in the next big thing. While finding and securing a funding can be difficult, the hustle is worth it. And the startup game is all about the hustle. VCs become a partner in your startup and put in efforts beyond the monetary investment. Beware, this may mean they will slaughter your metaphorical child if they think it has come to that.
5. Trade Shows
Showcases and Conferences are the melting pot of the industry. They are the ideal way to not only introduce your product, but also gain exposure. The show floors are filled with industry leaders, newcomers, prospective wholesalers and investors, designers and manufacturers to whom you can outsource things, prospective customers, etc.
Be it governments, organizations or consortiums, they are always looking to minimize research costs by pitting emerging players against each other. DARPA, EU, Google, IAF, etc. routinely organize such competitions in different fields. The prizes vary and are at times include terms such as sharing Intellectual Property rights, etc.
The startup is a big step for anyone. Many founders refer to theirs as their baby, and rightly so. We live in a fast-paced world; so, take your time and assess your options well. Do not be eager to part away with equity. Would you let anyone take away 5% or 15% of your child that easily? And while the above-listed methods work, you need a genuine product or idea, as well as the means to develop it. Good luck on building the next big thing!
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