Why a smart funding canvas?
StartupDelta developed the smart funding canvas–in cooperation with startups, investors and other stakeholders–to help sharpen the investment strategies of startups. Often, startups go out looking for funding without knowing: exactly how much funding they need, what their future-oriented financial strategy is, if they are ‘investor ready’ or what investment terms they should be aware of. On the other hand, investors sometimes use terms that can damage the growth potential of startups, without being aware of it. There is also a mismatch between what investors think startups are aware of about funding, and what the startups are actually aware of.
To get the Dutch startup ecosystem to the next level, and to fulfill this knowledge gap between startups and investors, we have felt the need to professionalize the way funding strategies are orchestrated in the ecosystem. This canvas has been a product of that drive. It will hopefully help both startups and investors to ask the right questions, and will therefore improve the matching between startups and investors.
What is the smart funding canvas?
Fundamentally, the smart funding canvas is a tool to help you build an investment strategy. Like the business model canvas , it helps you structure your thoughts, get feedback on them and become more aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your funding strategy. But it is not so much a brainstorm tool, as it is a canvas that allows you to dive deeper and gather knowledge about all the aspects that are relevant for building a sound investment strategy. The smart funding canvas is going to follow an open-source model. It will strive to be a decentralized tool that encourages open collaboration. It will remain a continuously evolving prototype. We hope the startup community will provide us with feedback and will be filling the canvas with tips, tricks, stories and must-reads; and we hope the community will think together about ways of helping startups and investors to make strategic financial choices to enhance their success.
How is the canvas built up?
The canvas consists of three sequential phases for developing a financial strategy. The first phase is called, “Know Yourself” and it involves developing a better understanding: of your business, of your future goals and of your needs (financial and smart ones). The second phase is “Choose”, where you make a choice for the type of investment you need and the type of investor you want to attract. Finally comes the third phase called, “Get Smart”, where you become much more concrete and specific about your offer to and expectation from an investor. This is when you work out your proposition to an investor and this is also the phase where you start researching the investors you’d like to meet. The three phases can be worked out iteratively, and are meant to be constantly improved after every insight you gain from an investor meeting or from an online article. It is meant to encourage you to keep learning and to keep sharpening your funding strategy!
How the site works (smartfundingcanvas.com)
For every block in the canvas, there is a short introduction about the topic and a list of questions you should be able to answer to know if you are ready to proceed further. For every block, we also give you tips, tricks and links to other sites that provide tools or interesting content on the subject at hand. After every deep dive into external content, you can return to the canvas and proceed to the next block.
The canvas will help you:
- think about and construct a funding strategy.
- make a choice about what kind of investor(s) you need to talk to.
- get ready for meetings with investors.
- get a practical understanding of your financial needs and how to meet them.
- have a feedback loop to keep improving your funding strategy.
Bear in mind though: this canvas is not going to guide you to one right answer, since a funding strategy is quite personal. But it will help you in asking yourself the right questions and becoming more knowledgeable about the subject of startup funding.
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