Before you approach a venture capital (VC) organisation, you should research what sort of private equity (PE) funding would be best for your business needs. Different types of investment - eg seed funding, product development and succession funding - are suitable for different stages of business development.
When choosing a VC fund, look for:
- funds targeting your business sector
- investment criteria
- quality of advice and support provided by investors
- amount of finance - some PE firms specialise in investments below £100,000
- geographical location of PE investors and how near they are to your company
The British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA) publishes an annual report on private equity investment and you may find that this is a useful research tool.
Matching investment criteria
VC managers will invest only in companies that match their investment criteria. You should carefully check this before making an approach. You should also make sure that your business plan is up-to-date with detailed financial forecasts tailored to the investor concerned.
Business plans are used by investment managers to assess:
- your business' funding needs
- whether your plans for the business are achievable
- whether you need external investment
Making your business investment ready
Your business also needs to be investment ready, which means providing:
- audited accounts for the past two years
- evidence of current performance
- profit-and-loss forecast for next year
- business bank statements for the past six months
- profiles of each partner or director in your business
Once a VC investor firm has shown interest in your outline proposals, you can prepare a letter of confidentiality. This should be signed both by your business and the potential investors before you send them your full business plan.