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Small businesses can often find themselves strapped for cash. When payroll is due, and accounts receivables are still high, cash is king. Even the most successful small business is susceptible to this type of crunch.
As a four time venture-backed entrepreneur from the Silicon Valley, who has raised a total of $18 million for my tech startups, I’d like to offer some advice to early-stage entrepreneurs in hopes to shed light on alternative avenues to raising money.
Consider diversifying your fundraising strategy by adding non-conventional fundraising options. These days, there are several options for entrepreneurs. Technology and finance are combining to provide creative solutions to help business owners push through monthly bills without the normal headaches.
The reality is new innovative options exist beyond banks for entrepreneurs looking to leverage their strengths while reflecting their modern know-how. Also, the more entrepreneurs diversify financing independence early on, the more power they gain to shape the dynamics with their board later on.
In addition to a friends and family round, pitching venture capitalists and angel investors, there are other non-conventional approaches to raising capital that you may want to consider for your business.
Twist on the crowd
Crowdfunding — the process of gathering funds through philanthropic small time supporters — is not new to the small business arena. Many small businesses use this process to garner needed funds.
But a new twist on crowdfunding is making inroads into the small business loan department. Some sites like KivaZip and Accion have begun offering a way for the crowd to choose to invest in various vetted companies.
Rather than simply a crowdfund, this new style of microlender matches small investors with small businesses. This provides a sort of symbiotic relationship that brings benefits on both sides. While not for businesses with substantial needs, these micro-lenders offer lower rates than traditional loans, and smaller price tags than legacy venture capital (VC).
Perhaps your company has funds available in the form of a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, ETH, or EOS, which is currently experiencing a bullish cycle. When the investor sent your Bitcoin it was at $10,000 US Dollars and now it’s down. So you don’t want to take the hit at the expense of financing your payroll, right?
A new platform has come along that allows clients to create their own stablecoins — a cryptocurrency that is pegged to a legacy asset like the dollar. Stablecoins are a new trend in cryptocurrency and are sweeping the industry, as they offer the flexibility of crypto with the financial stability of other assets. Equilibrium is a platform that lets entrepreneurs generate their stablecoin, the EOSDT, without actually spending their collateralized cryptocurrency. In simple terms, users can leverage their crypto holdings for a small business loan without liquidating their underlying collateral.
This can provide needed working capital while preserving the financial stability of the company. Further, since the EOSDT stablecoin is collateralized 170 percent at a minimum, the coin will be pegged to the value of $1 US Dollar. This means safety and stability in the loan, while underlying assets are allowed to fluctuate with the market — a win-win for small businesses.
I recently sat down with Alex Melikhov, a former Goldman Sachs banker turned crypto entrepreneur and now the CEO of Equilibrium. He told me that “in addition to being a stable product, EOSDT is also exceptionally transactable due to its parity with the US Dollar. Thus, EOSDT obtains more adoption on the market having certain traction to date. We have over $600,000 worth of EOS cryptocurrency already collateralized within Equilibrium.”
Perhaps you’ve tried to get a business loan through your bank. This can be a daunting process, and can often result in rejection. When this happens, many businesses look for alternative avenues to fundraising.
The truth of the matter is that financing doesn’t have to be unsecured debt. Banks will offer equipment financing with dramatically less proof, since the equipment acts as security for the debt. If your business requires expensive equipment then you should consider equipment financing.
In this scenario, a small business would pursue and receive loans for all new equipment needed. This approach would free up resources out of large-scale equipment purchases, so that businesses can pay monthly costs while still maintaining equipment needs.
Additionally, venture capitalists aren’t necessarily going to want their money to be spent on equipment. VCs often prefer a debt structure in which an equipment loan carries the burden of sunk costs. VCs are going to want their money to be primarily spent on growth marketing and sales enablement. They want to see your company go from SMB to Enterprise level or ideation to millions of users. And if you are raising funds for a high tech software company, for example, then the VCs will want to understand the plan to ROI typically in the short time period of three years.
The small business lending world is changing at the speed of technology and innovation. For companies that are seeking loans to provide needed cash, new options are becoming available. While no one option may suit your needs, these three should provide a wide enough range to allow your business to find some new ways to thrive.
May 2, 2019 at 10:38AM