Searching for venture cash? Here’s where to look!
by Salmeh Fodor
January 14, 2009
You’ve taken the leap, now what?
Although the economy is down, it’s not dead. In Georgia, there are still some “hot” areas, or at least warm areas. For example, although technology startups are generally flailing, startups in the healthcare and technology healthcare arenas are faring well and are attractive investments. Another area still holding itself above water is network technology and virtualization. Although companies have tightened their budgets and trimmed costs through layoffs, they are still spending on the type of technology that improves communication, productivity and efficiency.
Whether you are fortunate enough to be in an area with some steam or not, surely by now you need capital. As every entrepreneur knows from personal experience, the capital crunch is real. Banks simply aren’t lending to small companies, or even big companies for that matter. Sure, loan officers talk a big game, but the checks aren’t being written.
How about typical angel and venture capital money? Don’t even think about it unless you are in a rare growth sector, and even then you’ll need to have considerable revenues. Generally, VCs and angels are licking their own wounds and deciding how much, if any, to continue pumping into previous investments. Furthermore, VC and angel money in the Southeast has largely dried up in terms of new investments. If you are looking for VC and angel money, spread your wings and look outside of the Southeast.
Survival in a Gloom and Doom Economy
Every time you talk to someone, turn on the radio or watch the news, it’s gloom, doom and more gloom. Be thankful you went out on your own and are not starring at a pink slip like so many of your colleagues. The question is: How can you survive?
Now, you may be worried about all your friends and acquaintances calling you and sharing stories of being laid off. But, all of those pink slips mean opportunity. Unlike harder-hit areas in the Midwest, a professional laid off in Atlanta is likely to stay and find a way to make ends meet as opposed to move somewhere else.
It is a great time for you to reassess your talent and upgrade. With the current unemployment rate, it is an employer’s market. Now you may be wondering, “why would I hire when I’m just trying to survive?” The reason is many of these now unemployed and underemployed people have successfully taken start-ups to hundred million dollar companies. These diamonds can not only bring experience and knowledge for a relatively low price, but often times they can bring capital.
The Accidental Angel
The Accidental Angel is a wealthy individual that does not usually invest in entrepreneurial companies. These people are not members of angel groups, they do not attend investor roundtables, and they do not frequent the typical capital association gathering spots. They are people who have pulled out of the stock market and real estate and are now sitting on cash wondering what to do with it. They are hard to find, but worth the look.
You’ll need to spend time and socialize with the wealthy. Don’t be afraid to ask for introductions. Of course, don’t try to sell them your vision like a used car. You’ll need to sell yourself – people want to invest in people.
There’s not a lot of money out there for private investment, but there’s some. You want it, go get it.
Salmeh K. Fodor, Esq. is a Partner with Marchman, Kasraie & Fodor, LLC with 17 years of financial and legal experience. Her practice focuses on corporate, business and securities law, and her clients have ranged from start-ups and emerging growth companies to publicly held corporations. For a full résumé, see the firm’s site at www.kflawllc.com.
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