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Funding for Entrepreneurs from Underrepresented Communities

A recent webinar co-hosted by Lighter Capital and Founders First Capital Partners offered insight into how revenue-based financing (RBF) can be a good source of growth funding for entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities.

Kim Folsom, CEO and founder of LIFT Development Enterprises and Founders First Capital Partners, and BJ Lackland, CEO of Lighter Capital, discussed what makes RBF unique and attractive, and shed light on whey it can be an effective option for women and minorities. Then RBF-funded entrepreneurs Linda Amaro, CEO of Klarinet Solutions, and Adam Riggs Zeigen, co-founder, and CEO of Rock My Run talked about how this type of funding has been helpful to their growing businesses.

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New $15 million fund for Intuit QuickBooks developers

Today we're thrilled to announce a new $15 million fund to support Intuit developers and the QuickBooks platform. Working with Intuit, we launched the Lighter Capital Intuit Developer Fund for companies building apps on the QuickBooks platform, including QuickBooks Online, with its 2.38 million subscribers.

At Lighter Capital, we see strong potential in the Intuit developer ecosystem, and we want to help companies developing QuickBooks apps for small and medium-sized businesses get to get to the next level.

"As more SMBs turn to the cloud for core business functions and services, we believe we'll see increasing demand for developer apps to serve the QuickBooks Online community,” our CEO BJ Lackland told ProgrammableWeb. 

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How to pitch investors

8 tips for pitching startup investors

Scoring capital for your early-stage company can feel like winning the lottery—it can seem more about luck than skill. VCs and other investors are notoriously opaque, with decisions based on concerns you don’t know and can’t control: who they funded last year, their recent successes and failures, what industry reports they read over breakfast.

From a heartburn-induced bad mood to suspicion of anything that resembles a prior startup disaster, funders have myriad reasons to say no. So what factors can you control? How can you optimize your pitch to get them to yes?

Start by ensuring you’re nailing the basics. Here are eight tips to guide you.

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Answers to 4 Key Questions about Raising Startup Capital

Whether you're looking for angel investors or considering debt financing, understanding your funding options and the capital stack is key to scaling your company. We recently joined forces with Foundersuite to present a webinar on this topic: "How to Raise Capital in 2017 (and Beyond)". The presentation included tips on how to raise different types of capital, get introductions, find and connect with investors, build momentum, and close a round of funding.

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4 milestones to reach before raising your Series A

While seed funding is more abundant than ever (the number of seed-funded companies has quadrupled in the last four years), Series A funding is actually harder to get than it used to be. With a super-abundance of competent seed-funded companies, investors can afford to get choosy about their Series A bets.

Many companies want to raise their Series A before they're ready, but coming unprepared to such a competitive space can be detrimental to your company's future funding prospects or even harmful to your reputation. Investors who might have taken your business seriously six months down the road will write you off as someone who doesn’t take being prepared seriously. While there are few hard and fast rules about when to raise a Series A, there are milestones that will help you demonstrate to your future investors that you have traction and a road to profitability. Let’s take a look at four of the biggest indicators that your company is ready to seek its Series A.

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6 bootstrapping strategies from CEOs who made it to $100M ARR

In the world of tech startups, bootstrapping has a special cachet. Bootstrapped companies that make it big—say, to $100M ARR—without relying on venture capital or angel investors are looked on with something like awe. (Note that relying is the key word here--some boostrappers may take VC money, but only after they don’t truly need it.)

The founders of such companies are the Yodas of the tech startup world, full of hard-won wisdom and quotable advice. They know what it takes to grow a company to profitability the hard way. Here are some concrete strategies the founders of MailChimp, Atlassian, and Tableau have used to maximize their margins and grow without VC.

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How to tell if an investor is a bad fit

Pitching investors and knocking on doors for growth capital is an all-consuming process. Not only does it require countless coffee meetings, tedious pitch deck revisions, and many hours away from running your business, but you’re in a vulnerable and emotional position. You need capital, and your business can only survive for so long without it.

While it’s tempting to want to partner with the first investors who says “Yes,” it’s critical to partner with the right investor. After all, these are people who you’ll be working with for at least the next five to seven years.

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5 ways to survive startup fundraising

Launching a business is hard, but fundraising may be the most brutal part of the process. Investors are cutthroat-hard on the startups they evaluate. Like customers, they’re looking for you to solve their problems. But unlike customers, they’re on the hook for writing a massive check. And they’re skittish and beyond critical in their search for confidence in their investment.

To top it off, fundraising sucks up massive amounts of your time. It puts you in a spin cycle where you’re running from one meeting to the next. You’re putting in hours of grueling work and blowing through your workday—and when all is said and done, your efforts may lead you nowhere.

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5 problems with traditional fundraising—and 1 solution

Raising capital is hard, even if your startup has high profit margins and strong growth. In the best-case scenario, you secure financing after a months-long marathon of wooing investors, talking to banks, and collating reams of paperwork. But more likely, your months of work will leave you empty-handed—even if you have concrete numbers to back up your business’s trajectory.

Competition for funding is intense—less than 1% of American companies ever receive VC funding. Even traditional bank loans, considered by many entrepreneurs a fallback option, are hard to get for companies working with intangible assets like software.

Here are five problems with raising capital the old-school way, and one solution that’s starting to gain traction among tech startups.

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Webinar recap: two ways to skip a VC round with alternative funding

On April 4th, Boast Capital hosted a webinar featuring their CEO, Lloyed Lobo, and Lighter Capital CEO BJ Lackland. They discussed how entrepreneurs can skip a round of VC funding—thus preserving equity and ownership—using two methods of alternative financing.

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