University technologies are usually early-stage and require significant additional development and investment prior to generating revenue. Access to capital plays a major role in the success of maturing these technologies. Below are a number of capital options to consider when funding a company.
Funding through Ohio State
One of the benefits of starting a startup with Ohio State technology is having access to capital. Ohio State has developed a full funding continuum to support inventors in the development of concepts from early stage to end product or company. This funding continuum supports researchers and entrepreneurs through the commercialization process and reduces risk for those interested in investing in or licensing these technologies. Learn more about the funding available.
Friends and Family
One of the most common methods of raising initial capital for any startup is to raise capital from friends and family. Raising capital from friends and family can be fast and accessible way for generating initial capital for the business.
- Generally friends and family are accessible and approachable.
- Typically, friends and family do not require extensive time-intensive due diligence processing or investment wait times.
- It may be emotionally or socially uncomfortable to request capital from friends and family, and generate concern about the potential of not being able to return their capital if the business is unsuccessful.
Accelerators can be one of the earliest sources of capital for a startup and typically have s specific focus areas to include geography or industry. Accelerators often provide business formation support services that can help flesh out the business and acquire additional team members, customers, partners and investors.
- Typically accelerators are accessed through a web application versus contacting a specific person (like with venture capitalist).
- For many startups, the additional support accelerators provide can make all the difference.
- Accelerators usually invest in startups at a very early stage, and tend to take higher percent equity.
An angel investor is typically a high net worth individual that has allocated a portion of their investments to support entrepreneurs. Angel investors may be friends, family, or individuals unknown to members of the start up. Angel investors may be part of formal angel groups or invest individually.
- Angel investors can be easier to work since they are individuals verse a firm or corporation.
Many entrepreneurs do not have a pre-existing network of angel investors. Identifying angel investors and getting a meeting can be difficult.
Corporations may be potential investors and prospective customers for a startup. Faculty will often have relationships with corporations due to the nature of their work. These relationships may have formed from previous sponsored research, colleagues transitioning into industry from academia or others.
- Often a faculty member has demonstrated the value of their skills or technology to the corporate contact through a previous relationship.
- In addition to being a potential investor, these companies are often potential customers for a startup.
Depending on the nature of the business, raising capital from a corporation versus an institutional investor can potentially prohibit you from attracting their competitors as customers or investors in the future. This is certainly not always the case and is dependent on the nature of your business.
Venture Capital, Angel Groups, Family Offices
Venture capital (VC) is focused on funding startups and growing companies. These funds have various investment focus areas that can be organized based upon geography or industry. Angel groups and family offices often act similarly to venture capital funds.
VC firms are designed to invest in startups.
- There are fewer firms focused on the earliest stages of company growth and more firms that require a company has demonstrated a few successful business metrics.
- VC funds are designed to invest in startups, but not all angel groups and family invest in startups. It may take additional research to find those that do.