Most start-ups can not attract financing from banks, so they have to turn to investment funds and take part in crowding projects. What is the interest of a private investor to invest in such companies?
Russian banks refuse to finance 80% of small businesses and almost all start-ups. Rejected companies turn to funds, to kraudinvestingovyh sites, and also resort to the help of private investors. In most projects that have been rejected by the bank, it’s not worth investing, but 20% of them are quite successful and in the future they can make a profit.
Such companies deserve an investor to buy a stake in them or to conclude an investment loan agreement with their principal shareholders. It is important to know how to minimize the risks of such investments.
Recommendation number 1. Invest in business no more than 20% of free capital
As the practice of investing in small businesses and start-ups shows, the form of the loan is clearer for investors – the yield and timing of payments under such contracts are fixed, which gives a clear idea of how much you can earn on such a project and when.
But investing in capital, it is necessary, on the contrary, to forecast the growth of the company’s value for several years ahead and to understand how and to whom then to sell the stake.
But a loan without collateral carries with it the same risks as buying a stake, so you should not invest in small businesses and start-ups more than 10-20% of free capital. Since investment in business is one of the most risky instruments, it is better to allocate a small part of the funds for these purposes, and invest the remaining savings in traditional instruments-stocks, bonds, bank deposits, and so on.
In this case, potential losses can be relatively painless to survive.
Recommendation number 2. Diversify your investments
Let’s imagine the story of two novice investors – Michael and Constantine. Both have 1 million rubles on their hands. Mikhail bought the stake in his business for the whole amount, but it did not work, the company went bankrupt, and he lost money. Constantine did the same. He found ten companies and lent each 100,000 rubles at 30% per annum.
One company went bankrupt, but the remaining ones returned loans with interest. Given the loss, Constantine earned 17% per annum.
The more diversified the investment, the lower the risk of losing money. Remember that, all other things being equal, investments in capital can bring yields several times higher than investments under a loan agreement.
True, each of these tools has its own entrance threshold. So, the minimum amount of investments in the capital of a limited liability company is 1 million rubles, so for diversification you will need to invest at least 5 million rubles in 5 different companies.
The minimum amount of investment under the loan agreement is much lower – through some crowdaming areas you can invest from 100 thousand rubles. Therefore, without sufficient experience or capital, it is better to invest 1 million rubles in 10 companies under a loan agreement.
So you reduce the risks and, watching the development of companies, get the experience necessary for more serious future investments. However, you can immediately start investing in capital by buying shares of growing companies, but the main thing is to diversify the risk.
Recommendation number 3. Invest in what you understand
If you work in the field of trade, to evaluate the online store for you will be easier than a mobile application. But even if you wanted to try a new industry, conduct a deep industry expertise. For example, few people now decide to invest in auto dealership business, which in the crisis has strongly subsided and will continue to recover for a long time.
But the medical industry, which for a long time existed at the expense of state financing, on the contrary, began to actively involve private capital. This is not surprising, because the MHI policy does not cover many services, which demand is steadily growing. In this regard, private medicine (dentistry, plastic surgery, MRI services) will develop at a rapid pace for at least 15-20 years.
Many of the projects that receive investments are related to children – gaming applications, private kindergartens and sports schools. One of them – online store children’s clothing Little Gentrys. For 2 years, he raised more than 100 million rubles and multiply increased revenue. Perhaps the fact is that even in a crisis people do not save on children.
IT-projects are traditionally considered attractive from the point of view of investment in capital. As a rule, they have few physical assets and can grow quite rapidly.
Recommendation number 4. Spend 40 hours on business analysis to increase profitability 6 times
What if you want to invest in an industry or business model that you do not understand? Start with a real business that you can “touch”. Choose a direction and start accumulating expertise, studying the market, communicating with entrepreneurs and other investors. Take the time to reduce the chance of errors.
Remember that kraudinvestingovye sites do part of the work for you – check the finances and owners of companies, they can easily describe the business. At some Russian sites, these services are free for the investor.
According to the Kaufmann Foundation, investors and funds spent more than 40 hours on the analysis earned 6 times more than those who spent less than 10 hours. And the availability of industry expertise increases yield by another 3.5 times. Even if you are helped by analysts kraudinvestingovoy site, do not be lazy to spend a week to sort out the key issues yourself.
Recommendation number 5. Share the risks with a friend, and even better with a professional investor
In countries where the market of private investment in business is developed, for example, in Canada, more than 60% of all transactions are in syndicates. The syndicate is a professional investor with experience of independent transactions. He understands business and usually gets a significant share of it, and then participates in management.
There are syndicators on the Russian market. Join a club of investors, find a syndicate, a few more colleagues and invest in the company together. Thus, you not only look at the business with the eyes of a professional, but also diversify the risk. To invest 1 million rubles in business together with four colleagues is always less risky than investing 5 million rubles to one.
Recommendation number 6. Agree on the rules of the game on the beach
When investing under a loan agreement, write down several conditions in the document. Agree on what the investment will go to, and require the company to regularly disclose financial statements.
If the borrower for some reason refuses to do this, or it turns out that the money is spent on something else, you have the right to call ahead of time the loan amount with interest back.
It would also be nice to sign an additional agreement on surety, where the general director of the company will act as the guarantor. So you will be insured against the risk of withdrawing funds from the company’s turnover in favor of the owners.
As for investments in capital, pay attention to the corporate agreement (LLC) or shareholder agreement (JSC). Many investors still do not believe that using these documents one can influence the owners of the company and all the more something to prove in court. It’s a delusion. Judicial practice is full of cases when for failure to comply with certain rules provided for in the contract, the perpetrators paid a penalty, and quite a lot.
With the help of a corporate contract and charter, it is possible to determine the procedure for managing a company, to establish control over the actions of management bodies, to approve a business plan and an annual budget, to agree rules for the distribution of profits and exit from society, and so on.
Also, in the corporate agreement, liquidation advantages can be identified that determine the procedure for repaying money to investors in the event of bankruptcy of the company.
Recommendation number 7. Do not invest if you are not willing to take risks
We work with any growing business, even if this growth negatively affects the balance sheet business. The main condition is that from quarter to quarter the company should have a positive revenue dynamics.
Investors often ask me: “How is it guaranteed not to lose money?”. And I answer: “Investments, whether it’s venture capitalization or kraudinvesting, is a high-stakes game, and if you decide to participate in it, be prepared for either big gains or big losses.”