Founder Resources: How Can I Get My Startup Funded by Venture Capitalists (VCs)?

By: MassLight Team

A startup is a young and innovative company that is in the process of developing a business model to solve a problem or meet a demand in the market. Startups are typically characterized by their ability to rapidly scale and grow, as well as their focus on innovation and disruption of existing markets. They often operate in emerging industries, such as technology or biotech, and have a high degree of uncertainty and risk associated with their success. Startups often require significant investment to get off the ground, and are typically led by a small team of passionate and dedicated founders who are committed to building a successful and sustainable business.

A venture capital (VC) group is a type of investment firm that provides funding to startups and early-stage companies in exchange for equity ownership. VC groups typically invest in companies that have high growth potential and are in emerging industries, such as technology, biotech, or fintech. They often provide more than just capital, but also mentorship, strategic guidance, and access to their network of contacts to help startups grow and succeed. VC groups are known for taking on a high level of risk in their investments, with the expectation of high returns on their investment in successful companies. They typically invest in multiple startups to diversify their portfolio and manage risk, and usually aim to exit their investments within a few years through an acquisition or IPO.

Venture Capital Resources for Founders

Startups want support from venture capital (VC) groups for several reasons:

  1. Access to capital: Startups often require a significant amount of capital to develop their product, hire a team, and scale their business. VC groups can provide the necessary funding to get the startup off the ground and support its growth.
  2. Expertise and mentorship: VC groups have a wealth of knowledge and experience in working with startups and can provide guidance and mentorship to the founding team. They often have a network of industry experts and successful entrepreneurs that they can connect the startup with, which can be invaluable in helping the startup navigate challenges and make key business decisions.
  3. Validation: By securing investment from a reputable VC group, startups can gain credibility and validation in the eyes of customers, partners, and other investors. This can help the startup to attract additional funding and talent, and ultimately contribute to its success.
  4. Strategic partnerships: VC groups often have extensive networks and can help startups form strategic partnerships with other companies in their industry. This can open up new markets, customers, and opportunities for the startup to grow and succeed.

Overall, working with a VC group can provide startups with much-needed resources, expertise, and support to help them navigate the challenges of starting and scaling a successful business. Here, we break down the most important steps for eligibility—and success—in the startup world.

Business Plan

Developing a solid business plan is a crucial step for any startup seeking funding from a venture capital (VC) group. A well-written business plan not only provides an overview of the startup's goals and strategy, but also helps the founding team identify potential risks, opportunities, and challenges that may arise in the early stages of the business. The business plan should also include financial projections, which demonstrate the startup's potential for growth and profitability over time. According to a survey conducted by the National Venture Capital Association, 95% of VC firms require a detailed business plan before considering an investment. Therefore, it is essential for startups to invest time and effort in developing a comprehensive and persuasive business plan that can help them articulate their vision and secure funding from a VC group.

Target Your Investors

Identifying potential investors is another crucial step for startups looking to secure funding from a venture capital (VC) group. Researching VC firms that invest in your industry or sector is important because it increases the likelihood of finding investors who have a genuine interest in your business and can provide relevant industry knowledge and connections. There are a number of online databases and directories, such as PitchBook, Crunchbase, and CB Insights, which can help you identify VC firms that match your startup's profile. Referrals from your network, such as industry experts, mentors, and other entrepreneurs, can also be a valuable source of information and may help you to get in touch with potential investors more quickly. In fact, according to a report by the Kauffman Foundation, referrals from trusted sources are the most common way that startups connect with VCs, accounting for up to 50% of all introductions. Therefore, it is important for startups to leverage their network and use online resources to identify potential investors and increase their chances of securing funding from a VC group.

Venture Capital

Pitch Deck

Creating a compelling pitch deck is a critical step for startups seeking funding from a venture capital (VC) group. A pitch deck is typically a 10-15 slide presentation that summarizes the most important aspects of the startup's business and explains why it is a worthwhile investment opportunity. The pitch deck should include information such as the business model, market opportunity, competitive landscape, financial projections, and the founding team's background and expertise. According to a study by DocSend, investors spend an average of just over three minutes reviewing a pitch deck, so it is important for the presentation to be concise, visually appealing, and easy to understand. Additionally, the study found that the most successful pitch decks were those that focused on the problem the startup was solving, the size of the market opportunity, and the traction the startup had already gained. Therefore, startups should focus on creating a pitch deck that clearly communicates these key points, and makes a compelling case for why the VC group should invest in their business.


Reaching out to investors is a crucial step for startups looking to secure funding from a venture capital (VC) group. However, it is important to note that building a relationship with investors takes time and effort. A well-crafted pitch deck alone may not be enough to secure investment, so startups should aim to build a rapport with investors and establish trust. This can be done through various channels, such as email, social media, and networking events. For example, startups can use LinkedIn to find and connect with potential investors, attend industry conferences and events to meet investors in person, or even use crowdfunding platforms to build a community of supporters and demonstrate traction. In addition to building relationships, startups should also be prepared to answer questions and provide additional information that investors may request. According to a report by McKinsey, investors typically ask for additional information beyond what is presented in the pitch deck, so startups should be prepared to provide more in-depth analysis and data to support their business case. Therefore, reaching out to investors is a critical step for startups seeking VC funding, but it requires ongoing effort and a willingness to build relationships and engage with potential investors on a personal level.

Venture Capital (VC) Funding for Startups

Due Diligence

Preparing for due diligence is a crucial step for startups looking to secure funding from a venture capital (VC) group. Due diligence is the process by which investors evaluate the potential risks and opportunities associated with investing in a particular startup. This process typically involves a detailed review of the startup's financials, business plan, and team, as well as any legal or regulatory issues that may impact the investment. Therefore, startups should be prepared to provide the necessary documentation and answer any questions that investors may have during this process. This can include financial statements, legal agreements, product development timelines, and other key documents that demonstrate the startup's viability and potential for growth. According to a report by PitchBook, the average time it takes for a startup to complete due diligence is around 72 days, and it can be a time-consuming and complex process. Therefore, startups should be well-prepared and organized before entering into the due diligence process, and should have a clear understanding of the types of questions and requests that investors are likely to make. By preparing for due diligence, startups can demonstrate their readiness and professionalism to investors, and increase their chances of securing funding from a VC group.

Negotiate Terms

Negotiating the terms of an investment is a critical step for startups seeking funding from a venture capital (VC) group. Once the investors have conducted due diligence and are interested in investing, they will typically present the startup with a term sheet outlining the terms of the investment. This document will detail the amount of funding, equity stake, valuation, and any other conditions or requirements for the investment. Startups should carefully review the term sheet and consider seeking legal or financial advice to ensure that they fully understand the terms and implications of the investment. They should also be prepared to negotiate any terms that they are not comfortable with or that may impact their ability to operate and grow the business. According to a report by KPMG, the most common areas for negotiation in a term sheet include the valuation, board composition, and liquidation preferences. Startups should be clear about their goals and objectives for the investment, and be willing to push back on terms that may not align with these goals. It is important to note that negotiations can be complex and time-consuming, and may require multiple rounds of discussions before an agreement is reached. However, by negotiating the terms of the investment, startups can ensure that they are getting the best possible deal and setting themselves up for long-term success.

Overall, it's important to remember that getting investment from a venture capital group is a competitive and challenging process. You need to have a strong business plan, a clear pitch, and a solid team to make your startup stand out from the rest.

Ready to bring your startup to the next level? Apply to MassLight’s next batch. MassLight supplies capital and a dedicated tech team. We take equity in return. Have questions? Refer to our FAQ page.

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