The Founders' Dilemma: How to raise capital and is it worth it?

Practical guide with implementation materials and real case studies to accelerate your fundraising journey.

Register

No previous fundraising and financial experience is required.

You need the course if the following sounds familiar:

  • I am not sure what's the right time to start fundraising.
  • I do not know how to start reaching out to investors and/or where to find them.
  • I want to find a dream co-founder that will share my interests.
  • I have no idea how much to raise at which valuation, and if the VCs vision is more important than the money they offer.
  • I want to continue operating my startup without devoting all my time to fundraising.
  • I don't know which fundraising processes and materials are required at each stage.

You will benefit from this course if you are:

  • Pre-seed startup who does not know any investors and has no idea how to approach the fundraising process.
  • Beginner raising capital from professional investors for the first time.
  • Founder who tried to raise capital in the past 3-12 months, unsuccessfully, and knows he/she needs to change the strategy.
  • Innovator with great ideas but no business or finance background.
  • Co-founder Who does not know how to align his or her interests with those of their partner and define responsibilities.

What is included :

  • 6 Lessons. Each 1 hour long, with three parts: educational videos, case study and materials.
  • 6 Case Studies. Real-life interviews with startup founders.
  • 30 Files. 30 comprehensive and practical resources that help you implement all the knowledge into practice.
  • Lifetime aсcess*. To all course materials, interviews and videos on the Startup Station educational platform. *starting from the Standard package.


Speakers for the case studies

Alexander Yampolskiy, Security Card. Globally recognized cybersecurity innovator, leader, and expert. Co-founder and CEO of Security Scorecard, one of the world's most trusted cybersecurity brands. The company has received numerous awards, including World Economic Forum 2020 Technology Pioneer, 2020 Deloitte Technology Fast 500™, Fastest Growing Cybersecurity Company, and more.

LinkedIn

Stephen Butler, StreamLoan. CEO and Co-Founder of StreamLoan, a serial entrepreneur, 5 prior startups, recent exit: the 2013 ionGrid acquisition by NetApp. Stephen has significant experience across strategy, build, and deployment of enterprise software at Fortune 500 companies extending to White House/Executive Office of the President, HP, Visa, MasterCard, Allstate, Kaiser, P&G, and over 50 Fortune 500 organizations.

LinkedIn

Robustiano Tubio, Tymit. Robustiano is currently CFO at Tymit, a FinTech company, which raised £7mn in equity + £12mn in debt. Before that, he worked in investment banking in Santander in Argentina, Brazil and the UK. He has spent most of his career providing solutions to institutional customers funding, yield enhancement, and hedging arrangements.


LinkedIn

Oleg Dmitriev, Serial Enterpreneur. 20+ years of experience in developing new technologies and products: from software development to mechanical engineering, and to launching rockets. Supported a few startups with cash and advice, leading to a successful exit and have previously raised over £3m of equity funding and over £0.5m of grant funding.


LinkedIn

Course Curriculum

Lesson 1: When is it the right time to start raising capital and from whom?

Lesson 2: How to find a dream co-founder and seal the deal?

Lesson 3: How to pique investors interest and get a second investor's meeting

Lesson 4: Valuation: a negotiating tool, a financial fact, or a wild guess?

Lesson 5: What a 'good' term sheet looks like?

Lesson 6: How to Retain Control after Fundraising.

After you take the course, you will be able to:

  • Decide on when to start fundraising and how much money you need to start a company;
  • Determine if venture capital is the right choice for you and select the best financing vehicle.
  • Negotiate a fair win-win deal with your co-founder;
  • Position your startup to get investors' interest quickly and prepare for fundraising;
  • Credibly value your company and use the resulting valuation in investor negotiations;
  • Align your interests with investors;
  • Create a supportive board of advisors who will help you reach your business goals;
  • Retain control of your company for as long as you need to.

Materials you will get:

  1. Lesson 1
    1. Overview of financing stages.
    2. Comparison diagram of different startup funding sources.
    3. Sample startup budget.
    4. Startup budget worksheet.
  2. Lesson 2
    1. Sample co-founders agreement.
    2. Step plan how to determine co-founders equity and a sample equity split model.
    3. Checklist of what should be included in a co-founders agreement.
    4. Stock options valuation guide.
  3. Lesson 3
    1. The structure of a 2-minute pitch.
    2. Examples of pitch decks that raised money.
    3. Investor readiness checklist: to check if you have everything ready for fundraising.
    4. Criteria for evaluating investors.
    5. Resources for investor research.
    6. Examples of investors' intro and follow-up emails.
    7. Strategies for how to connect with the right VCs.
  4. Lesson 4
    1. Pros and cons diagram of two valuation approaches.
    2. Step plan outlining how to implement each valuation approach.
    3. Three examples illustrating how to increase your company's valuation by 50%+.
  5. Lesson 5
    1. Fundraising materials checklist.
    2. Term sheet completion checklist.
    3. Standard Seed Term Sheet (US and UK versions);
    4. Standard Series A Term Sheet (US and UK versions);
    5. Pros and cons of main startup financing vehicles: Equity, SAFE and convertible debt.
    6. Strategies for selecting the vehicle for your startup.
  6. Lesson 6
    1. Sample board structure.
    2. Sample board responsibilities.
    3. Step plan on how to conduct a successful board meeting.
    4. Effective board meeting agenda.
    5. Five scenarios that may lead to losing control of your company and how to prevent them.

Testimonials

"We are a couple of engineers going through lot's of trials and errors trying to launch our startup so meeting with Victoria was priceless in terms of getting a fresh unbiased perspective on our business model and getting advice on how to move forward.

I highly recommend Victoria to anyone who is interested in turning a startup idea into a successful business plan."

- Vyacheslav Myron

"Victoria is a rare find in the startup world. She's brilliant with startup financial strategies and has this no-nonsense work ethic that proves to deliver results. Victoria worked with a participant of 2020 Startups, a startup founder, and within a couple of months the founder raised capital. Victoria has done several workshops and speaking engagements at 2020 Startups and is always insightful and held in the highest regard by the audience."

- Mark Gold, Managing Director, 2020 Accelerator

"Victoria is very knowledgeable and explains complex topics in an easy understandable way. She took us through the financial modelling tool step by step based on a real life business idea. The model is not only crucial for planning, but also helped to sharpen go-to-market strategies! Highly recommended!"

- Angelika Kogler-Lee

"These workshops are extremely useful for all of us. Victoria is the kind of presenter/professional who inspires confidence. I'd recommend her to any startup trying to figure out how it needs to be organized, capitalized, and operated to have a good business model going forward. She focuses on fundamentals, which, too often, are sorely lacking in our ecosystem, and she knows her stuff backwards and forwards"

- Warren Friesner, Language Hero

"I have taken several Startup Station's courses with Victoria and I must say they are great! The topics and material Victoria goes through - I find it very very useful. You can tell Victoria has a lot of experience in the field. As an early startup, this is definitely the most valuable course I have tried so far, I highly recommend it!"

- Luis Medina, CodeLumen

Pricing:

Basic: USD 595

Includes:

  • Access to the webinar and all materials for 3 months.
  • 50% coupon to upgrade to The Startup Station classes - available as an upsell on the Thank You page:

Standard: USD 1195

Includes:

  • Basic package;
  • Lifetime access to the course
  • Astra Global intros to 5 VCs:
    • Arrange your one-pager and video pitch according to our instructions to market your startup most efficiently.
    • We provide you with a list of 200+VCs with all the info relevant for effective VC targeting: technology, industry, stage, revenue requirements. You can choose VCs that are relevant for you.
    • We introduce your startup to the specified number of chosen funds and inform you if they are interested.

Advanced: USD $1795

Includes:

  • Standard package
  • 1-hour review of the financial model's structure as well as of the underlying business logic to ensure that the assumptions are credible and that the model is built to reflect correctly the company's business strategy, marketing strategy, and all costs and
  • 30-min call to discuss the results.

Get started now!



DETAILED CURRICULUM

Lesson 1. When is it the right time to start raising capital and from whom?

During the lesson, we will focus on:

  • When should you start raising external capital?
    • Fears which cause you to start raising too early vs. too late
  • Bootstrapping and how much money do you need on average to start a business?
  • Types of capital: raising equity versus raising debt;
  • Top 3 fundraising mistakes;
  • Types of investors: friends & family, angels, VCs, strategics, family offices;
  • Pros and cons of each type of funding;
  • What drives VC firms: the VC funds economics.


Key skills you will learn:

  • When you need to start fundraising;
  • How to finance yourself, in the beginning, to become eligible for outside capital;
  • The differences between different sources of funding and requirements you must meet to qualify for them;
  • How to determine if venture capital is the right vehicle for you.

Case studies: "How did you finance yourself before fundraising" How long did you finance yourself for and how much money did you spend on average?

Materials you get to implement the discussed strategies:

  1. Overview of financing stages
  2. Comparison diagram of different startup funding sources
  3. Sample startup budget
  4. Startup budget worksheet

Lesson 2. How to find a dream co-founder and seal the deal?

During the lesson, we will focus on:

  • How to determine how much equity to offer to your co-founder;
  • Responsibilities: what will they do before and after funding? What is their value?
  • Capital requirements: do they have to invest? If yes, how much and under which circumstances?
    • In-kind vs cash
  • Time requirements: how much time do they work before/after funding?
  • Long-term prospects: what is their role as the company involves? Salary?
  • Control & voting: which issues do you have and not have to agree on?
  • Vesting period: how long does it take for their equity to vest? Is there a cliff period?
  • Unwinding process: what happens if they want to leave or if you want them gone?
Key skills you will learn:
  • How to look for a co-founder?
  • What are the three most important qualities in a co-founder?
  • How did you determine how much equity to offer a co-founder?
  • How to determine the capital and time commitments of each co-founder?
  • How to define the responsibilities of each co-founder?
Case study "How did you find and negotiate with your co-founder?"

Interview with Stephen Butler, founder of StreamLoan, about his experience of looking for and working with a co-founder.


Materials you get to implement the discussed strategies:

  1. Sample co-founders agreement
  2. Step plan how to determine co-founders equity and a sample equity split model
  3. Checklist of what should be included in a co-founders agreement
  4. Stock options valuation guide

Lesson 3. How to pique investors interest and get a second investor's meeting

During the lesson, we will focus on:

  • What investors are looking for and how to make your startup more fundable;
  • How to target the right investors and how to communicate with them so that you get a response;
  • Top five pitch deck mistakes and how to avoid them;
  • What to include in a 2-min pitch and first email to attract investors' interest; and
  • How to interpret investor responses and build lasting relationships.
Key skills you will learn:
  • How to identify the right investors;
  • How to create an investors pipeline;
  • How to position your startup to get investors' interest quickly; and
  • How to communicate with investors to get a response
Case study: How to raise USD 114 million from Sequoia Capital and Google Ventures.
Founders talk with Aleksandr Yampolskiy, CEO of SecurityScorecard:


Materials you get to implement the discussed strategies:

  1. The structure of a 2-minute pitch;
  2. Investor readiness checklist, to check if you have everything ready for fundraising;
  3. List of criteria for evaluating investors;
  4. List of resources for investor research;
  5. Examples of investors intro and follow-up emails;
  6. Strategies for how to connect with the right VCs;
  7. Examples of pitch decks that raised money.

Lesson 4. Valuation: a negotiating tool, a financial fact, or a wild guess?

During the lesson, we will focus on:

  • What does a startup valuation for an early-stage venture represent?
  • Pros and cons of main startup valuation approaches: scorecard and quantitative;
  • What drives startup valuations?
  • Key strategies to increase your company valuation;
  • Latest valuation trends and what investors are paying attention to in due diligence;
  • Founders dilemma: how do I not give up too much equity - being "rich" vs being "king".

Key skills you will learn:

  • Dynamics in the current VC investing landscape and realistic valuation ranges for companies at your stage;
  • How to think about your company's valuation and use it in investor negotiations;
  • Pros and cons of various valuation approaches and being able to select one for your venture;
  • How to defend your company valuation;
  • Which strategies you can use to increase your company valuation.

Case study: "From the Trenches: How did you negotiate your company valuation over several raises?"

Founders talk with Robustiano Tubio, CFO at Tymit, a FinTech company, which raised £7mn in equity + £12mn in debt: how to negotiate valuation with VCs.

Materials you get to implement the discussed strategies:

  1. Pros and cons diagram of two valuation approaches;
  2. Step plan outlining how to implement each valuation approach;
  3. Three examples illustrating how to increase your company's valuation by 50%+.

Lesson 5. What does a 'good' term sheet look like?

During this lesson, you will learn what a good term sheet looks like, what conditions are and are not standard, how to negotiate the term sheet and practical fundraising tips from founders who've raised $100M+ from top VCs.

During this lesson, we will focus on:

  • When do you need to have ready for fundraising?
  • Overview of three main startup financing vehicles;
  • Which terms are important to include in your term sheet?
  • Which term sheet clauses are "good" and "bad"?
  • Three reasons to walk away from a deal;
  • Five term sheet negotiating tips.
Key skills you will learn:
  • How to prepare for fundraising;
  • Pros and cons of each financing vehicle and the pitfalls most often overlooked by founders;
  • How to select the best vehicle for your startup;
  • How to effectively negotiate with investors;
  • Which terms are most important for your company to get right.
Case study: "Which clauses were the most difficult to negotiate?" "Looking back, what was the most important clause to get right?"


Materials you will get to implement the discussed strategies:

  1. Fundraising materials checklist;
  2. Term sheet completion checklist;
  3. Standard Seed Term Sheet (US and UK versions);
  4. Standard Series A Term Sheet (US and UK versions);
  5. Pros and cons of main startup financing vehicles: Equity, SAFE and convertible debt;
  6. Strategies for selecting the vehicle for your startup.

Lesson 6. How to Retain Control after Fundraising

In this lesson, we will discuss:

  • How to deduce the true intentions of investors?
  • Which terms are essential to negotiate to retain control? What is negotiable, and which terms are disadvantageous to you?
  • A board of advisors as a tool to manage relationships with investors:
    • Top three tips on creating a board of directors;
    • Who should be on a board of advisors?
    • What is the main purpose of a board of advisors, and how to utilize it to your advantage?
    • Key strategies in managing a board of directors;
  • Top five reasons why you may lose control of your company;
  • What to do if your position as a founder is threatened.
Key skills you will learn:
  • How to align your interests with those of investors;
  • How to do crisis management;
  • Strategies and mechanisms you can use to create a supportive board of advisors who will help you reach your business goals;
  • Policies and terms you need to put in place to retain control of your company for as long as you need to.
Case study: " What are most common mistakes founders make when creating and managing a board of advisors? Did your board of advisors help or make things more difficult for you?"


Interview with Oleg Dmitriev on common gaps in creating and managing a board of advisors and his own experience.

Materials you will get to implement the discussed strategies:

  1. Sample board structure;
  2. Sample board responsibilities;
  3. Step plan on how to conduct a successful board meeting;
  4. Effective board meeting agenda;
  5. Five scenarios that may lead to losing control of your company and how to prevent them.

Your Instructor


Astra Global/The Startup Station
Astra Global/The Startup Station

Elena Gusakova is the Founder of Astra Global, a global business development company. She has close to ten years of business development experience, helping leading consulting companies and UBS, Zurich to find new clients among investors, business owners and high net worth individuals. Throughout her career, she conducted over 100 top tier client events, focused on increasing business revenues. She initiated a project at UBS aimed at converting events into revenue generating activities, which was approved and implemented by the bank. She regularly advises other companies and her recent consulting client grew their revenues 3x in 4 years. At Astra Global, Elena focuses on facilitating collaboration between startups, investors, and corporations. Elena also advises startups on how to approach investors and make the first contact.

Prior to career in business development, Elena spent eight years working as a M&A lawyer at private equity funds, leading cross border deals with the total deal amount exceeding $600M. She has a deep understanding on investment processes, investors main concerns, and is an experienced negotiator. Elena has graduated from Academy of Labour and Social Relations, Law faculty, Moscow, with highest honours, and holds EMBA from Columbia and London Business Schools.

Victoria Yampolsky, CFA is a serial entrepreneur and an experienced business & finance executive with extensive startup experience. She is the President and Founder of The Startup Station, an education and consulting company specializing in modeling and valuing early-stage ventures.

The Startup Station helps startups articulate their business case to investors from the financial point of view. We create a detailed strategic roadmap, a robust financial plan and a resulting valuation that outline business logic, drivers, financial goals, and key metrics for their company. The Startup Station has worked with over 100 startups across 15+ industries ranging from manufacturing to technology, consumer electronics, medical devices to fashion, media & entertainment, and has helped founders raise over $30M in startup capital.

Victoria has also developed a comprehensive seven-course finance curriculum geared to entrepreneurs of early-stage ventures with little to no knowledge of finance. To-date more than 1,000 founders have completed the courses and learned the basics of accounting, financial modeling, valuation, and startup financing.

Victoria is a speaker and an advisor to multiple startups as well as a founder of several ventures in media and entertainment. Previously, Victoria worked for Deutsche Bank and was a technology consultant with CapGemini's Financial Services Division.

Victoria holds a Bachelor's Degree, Cum Laude, in Computer Science, with a minor in Mathematics, from Cornell University and an MBA, with honors, from Columbia Business School. Victoria is also on the Advisory Board of the Computing and Information Science (CIS) Department of Cornell University.


Frequently Asked Questions


How long is each lesson?
Each lesson is about 1 hour long and contains an educational portion, real-life interviews with startup founders, and materials. Each video is 3-7 minutes long.
How long do I have access to the course?
Basic Package: 3 months. Standard or Advanced Packages: Lifetime. All access is across all devices.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
Unfortunately, we cannot provide refunds, because when you sign up, you gain access to the class materials and can download them. We encourage you asking us any questions and reading the testimonials and the course agenda before signing up to help ensure that each particular course is useful to you.
How can you contact the instructor?
You can contact Victoria Yampolsky at [email protected]
Do you need to know any finance to take the courses?
No, no prior finance experience is required. We explain every concept and every term from scratch.

Pricing:

Basic: USD 595

Includes:

  • Access to the webinar and all materials for 3 months.
  • 50% coupon to upgrade to The Startup Station classes - available as an upsell on the Thank You page:

Standard: USD 1195

Includes:

  • Basic package;
  • Lifetime access to the course
  • Astra Global intros to 5 VCs:
    • Arrange your one-pager and video pitch according to our instructions to market your startup most efficiently.
    • We provide you with a list of 200+VCs with all the info relevant for effective VC targeting: technology, industry, stage, revenue requirements. You can choose VCs that are relevant for you.
    • We introduce your startup to the specified number of chosen funds and inform you if they are interested.

Advanced: USD $1795

Includes:

  • Standard package
  • 1-hour review of the financial model's structure as well as of the underlying business logic to ensure that the assumptions are credible and that the model is built to reflect correctly the company's business strategy, marketing strategy, and all costs and
  • 30-min call to discuss the results.

Get started now!