You have agreed to act as an advisor to ‘FloMax’, a promising early-stage technology venture based in Cambridge. They wish to develop a funding strategy for the next 48 months, at which point they should have achieved break-even.

Write a 2000-word individual report to describe, and discuss how you would develop a coherent funding strategy for the venture, which has the following characteristics: 

i.    Stage – Currently pre-seed, no MVP or evidence (yet) of customer traction
ii.    Team – Two full time co-founders (CEO and CTO) who can survive for 6 months without income. 
iii.     Industry – Sports wearables
iv.     Market – B2C, initially targeting competitive cyclists and rowers (assume a SOM of £50m in EU and US combined, CAGR 5%)
v.      Competitors – No direct competition at present. Substitutes exist but are more expensive.
vi.     I.P. – Yes, 2 patents pending
vii.    Margins – Gross margin 60%, Net margin 25%
viii.   Time to break-even – 48 months
ix.     Total funding required to break even – £1.8m

Specifically, you have been asked to outline suitable funding options and to suggest a timeline together with milestones.  

Required readings:

Required readings are compulsory texts which you must read in order to achieve the learning objectives.

Suggested readings: 

The purpose of suggested readings is to extend and deepen your learning. While you are not required to read these, recommended readings will help you to expand your knowledge of the concepts and issues covered in the module.

Unit 1

Required reading

Bhide, A. (1992) ‘Bootstrap finance: The art of start-ups’,  Harvard Business Review, 70(6), pp. 09-117.

Wasserman, N. (2008) ‘The Founder’s Dilemma’,  Harvard Business Review, 86(2), pp.103-109.

Unit 2

Required reading

Huang, L. and Pearce, J.L. (2015) ‘Managing the Unknowable: The Effectiveness of Early-stage Investor Gut Feel in Entrepreneurial Investment Decisions’,  Administrative Science Quarterly, 60(4), pp. 634–670.

Maxwell, A.L., Jeffrey, S.A. and Lévesque, M. (2011) ‘Business angel early stage decision making’,  Journal of Business Venturing 26(2), pp. 212–225.
Journal paper 

Unit 3

Required reading

Eyal, N. (2013) ‘Angel or Devil: Who’s Really Investing In Your Start-Up?’

Mason, C. (2020) ‘The Coronavirus Economic Crisis: Its Impact On Venture Capital And High Growth Enterprises’,  European Union (Joint Research Centre), doi:10.2760/408017 pp. 177–194
Journal paper 

Mason, C, Botelho, T and Harrison, R. (2019) ‘The changing nature of angel investing: some research implications’, Venture Capital, 21(2-3), 

Highly recommended if fundraising

Cowley, P. (2018) ‘The Invested Investor’ ISBN 97819164079 – No Library Ebook available –  if interested in this area you would  need to purchase a hard copy. 
Book  Recommended: Full text

Feld, B. (2016) Venture deals : be smarter than your lawyer and venture capitalist. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley.

Rose, N. (2016) ‘Equity Crowdfunding’ Stonepine publishing’ – No Library Ebook available – if interested in this area you would  need to purchase a hard copy. 
Book Recommended: Full text

Unit 4

Required reading

(2017) How Venture Capitalists Really Assess a Pitch’,  Harvard Business Review, 95(3),  pp. 26-28

Ciuchta, M.P., Letwin, C., Stevenson, R., McMahon, S. and Huvaj, M.N. (2018) ‘Betting on the Coachable Entrepreneur: Signaling and Social Exchange in Entrepreneurial Pitches’.  Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 42(6), pp. 860-885

Davis, B.C., Hmieleski, K.M., Webb, J.W. and Coombsa, J.E. (2017) ‘Funders’ Positive Affective Reactions to Entrepreneurs’ Crowdfunding Pitches: The Influence of Perceived Product Creativity and Entrepreneurial Passion‘, Journal of Business Venturing, 32(1), pp. 90-106.
Journal paper 

Parhankangasa, A. and Ehrlich, M. (2014) ‘How Entrepreneurs Seduce Business Angels: An Impression Management Approach’,Journal of Business Venturing, 29(4) pp. 543-564
Journal paper 

Suggested reading – highly recommended

Gafni, H., Marom, D. and Sade, O. (2018) ‘Are the Life and Death of an Early‐Stage Venture Indeed in the Power of the Tongue? Lessons from Online Crowdfunding Pitches’,  Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 13(1),  pp. 3-23.
Journal paper  

Klaff, O. (2011) Pitch Anything an Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Book Recommended: Full text.

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