A: For the business seeking funds …the usual advice is to start looking for your investors well before you need the money. 6-12 months is not out of line with the time it takes to actually complete an equity deal. It can of course be a lot quicker but that will depend on the information available, evidence, clarity and validation of the key facts. Being well prepared beforehand so there are no surprises and you know what you are likely to be asked will always speed the process.
At Minerva we try to set expectations and help the business become investment ready. Never be afraid at your first real meeting with your potential investors to be assertive and ask them to list the information they need in advance of a meeting or ask them at the end of one “what are the next steps- what do you want me to do?”
For the investor it will often depend not just on the information available but the time you are prepared to spend investigating the opportunity. The benefit quite often of working with the members of the Minerva Business Angel Network is that you can often draw upon other people’s knowledge to get to the right questions quicker and better understand the strengths and weaknesses and ultimately the risk! Once the decision is made to invest then it can still take a while to get the legals agreed but that should just be a matter of functionality and procedure. Minerva will assit in that process if requested.
Business owners are bad at describing themselves and their businesses, so you will invariably find that the real thing is very much more interesting than the paper version – and when you have taken the trouble to turn up on site they will often open up with commercially sensitive information that they would not put into the public domain. So, the more miles you do the better informed you will be, and the faster your rate of progress.