Anyone considering a startup will also need to consider sources of funding, which can be intimidating. A source as big as GV (known until 2009 as Google Ventures) might seem too far out of the realm of possibility to even attempt, but do not get discouraged too easily. You can improve your chances of being approved for any type of funding with some careful preparation.
Unless they are being personally financed, startup ideas will require some kind of funding. This funding can come from a variety of places, and it is up to the individual to determine which sort of funding makes sense. The usual sources include:
- A bank loan or line of credit.
- Venture capitalists, who will provide funding for a share of the business but are usually quite specialized and limited.
- Angel investors, who also provide funding for business shares but are often more invested and interested in the business itself.
- Crowdfunding online (Kickstarter, AngelList, etc.)
- Family, friends and/or partners.
GV was a venture capitalist firm under the Google umbrella. In 2009, this arm of the company spun off on its own from the former Google Ventures. It is the venture capital arm of Alphabet, Inc. and has more than $4.5 billion under management. It invests mostly in technology startups year round, and it currently focuses in three key areas:
- Software companies focusing on enterprise and business services, including GV cybersecurity.
- Robotics and related technology such as drone services and artificial intelligence.
- Company brands like Uber or emerging brands with potential to grow.
GV still funds innovative new ideas in a number of fields outside of these three, but most often they are looking for new technology concepts of some sort. Common fields include health care, green technology, consumer internet, hardware and biotech. GV is a great place to consider for someone with a new app idea but not so much for someone wanting to open a restaurant.
Since GV does not accept submissions and applications, a startup’s best chance is to make sure it sticks out on one of the sites GV uses to look for new opportunities. The key to sticking out is to have an advanced product concept with high quality control and an excellent business plan and portfolio.
- Advanced project concept: GV is looking for new business ideas that present a solution to a problem. Businesses who intend to explore a problem and then develop the most promising solution are likely to be overlooked. Be sure to present at least a solution concept that GV can help develop as a starting point.
- High quality control: The product here should be something of which the business has internal control rather than depending on things that will be bought or imported from another company.
- Business plan: Any investor will want to look at financial projections, market analyses, original risk assessments and what the role will be in shareholding and decision making.
One of the best ways of ensuring that GV will get their eyes on your portfolio is to network. Look for a partner within the GV network who knows the specific area of the industry and then reach out to him on a networking site like LinkedIn to develop a relationship and pitch your idea. You can also find out who has jobs with GV and reach out to them.
Likewise, friends and peers may have existing connections, so talk about your concept with other leaders in your industry. If there are no easy professional relationships to use, look for sites GV uses to identify opportunities, such as AngelList, and be sure to select GV as one of the venture firms in which you are interested.
For all startups, funding is the biggest concern and seemingly the biggest hurdle on the way to a successful launch. By developing the project concept, ensuring quality and spending time on a concrete and descriptive business plan, the proposal has a much better chance of success, whether picked up by GV or some other interested source.