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Diary of a Tech Start-Up: Funding…Dance with the Devil or Not

November 2nd, 2009 | Featured,Humor,Interviews,KikScore & KikReport,Online & Small Business Resources,Small Business Tips,Uncategorized | No Comments »

One of the ongoing debates going on with our tech start-up is whether to seek outside investment or not.  The first point that is often made by one of us is that it is too early to be thinking about it.  Heck, we just launched the beta version of this site and are now getting our first customers…isn’t it a bit presumptive to think about asking for $$ from a stranger? 

This scenario reminds me of a scene in the greatest movie of all time — Waiting for Guffman.  Corky St. Clair is charged with directing a play about Blaine, Missourri’s history.  Corky approaches the City Council and states that the ONLY thing he needs to throw the play is “one hundred thousand dollars”.  When informed that the City’s annual budget is $100k and that includes swimming, Corky responds “there won’t be swimming in my play.”  How does this tie into our discussion for asking for outside investment?  Well, maybe it doesn’t but it’s a great movie.  No, my point is that we before we seek out investment, we need to clearly establish a need for our services and that we have a competent management team that will know what to do with the money if/when we do get it.  We can’t go in all Corky St. Clair, not having a clue as to what is a reasonable amount of investment and establish what we are going to do with the money will have a strong likelihood of showing a return on investment.  See Corky asking for money

Now comes a more pressing question.  Assuming the time is right (and we don’t ask for the entire City Council’s budget), do we seek out investment at all?  As Raj pointed out in an earlier post, there are now a lot of tools that exist that make starting and running a business very inexpensive.  To date, we’ve been self-funding KikScore and we’re pretty good at stretching a dollar.  While it would be great to have a swank office and have the ability to throw an awesome holiday party with a DJ, it may not be worth the equity and control we’d have to give up (it really depends on how good the DJ is).  We’re not alone in our thinking.  According to a recent posting on www.rockyradar.com84% of Inc’s Fastest Growing 500 companies never received venture capital (though many did likely get angel financing). 

Several of us on the KikScore team have been part of venture-backed companies previously.  Some of us had good experiences, some of us did not.  So, as we continue to grow our customer base and improve upon our core product, the debate within KikScore will rage — do we continue to self-fund or do we seek professional investment.  We’ll keep you updated (and we’d love to hear your thoughts about it).

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