March 18, 2014 - In this three part series, I will focus on the nuances of venture debt when applied to life science companies. Up first, the “black box” of life science lending–insight for companies and investors about what happens internally once the typical due diligence package is received. Next, in Part 2, I’ll cover how debt can add value, with a focus on biotech/pharma, medical devices and diagnostics/tools.The last installment, Part 3, will focus on the potential downside(s) to debt, and situations that are best funded by equity.
March 5, 2014 - Many entrepreneurs have heard horror stories about taking on venture debt. Whether a lender fell asleep at the wheel, a borrower painted too rosy a picture about operating progress, and/or an investor had a change of heart, these horror stories tend to end the same way – with a lender sweeping cash, a borrower unexpectedly ceasing operations, vendors taking legal action, and Board members vowing never to do another venture debt deal.
March 5, 2014 - As a banker, I’ve spent far too much time in the weeds of Excel financial models for startup companies. Startup finance is not always the most fascinating work, and many founder CEOs are technologists who have no interest or experience with the “numbers” side of a startup. Yet, there are some very basic “Startup Finance” concepts that I think are imperative for entrepreneurial execs to grasp as they grow their businesses. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you understand all the inner workings of QuickBooks or GAAP revenue recognition – here are two key areas that will be crucial in growing your venture.
March 5, 2014 - Put simply, hedging is an exchange rate risk management strategy to protect against changes in foreign exchange rates. A lot of companies will only look to discuss hedging after foreign exchange rate movements have moved against them, hurting their bottom line. Understanding a few hedging basics may help your company get ahead of the game in deciding when to consider using hedging mechanisms, so you don’t have to find out for yourself.
February 24, 2014 - In the last installment of this series on venture debt, I wrote about the difference between traditional middle market lenders and “venture lenders” – who provide debt financing to pre-profit companies with little in the way of tangible assets. I also talked about the various financing solutions that venture lenders provide, such as loans that bridge to a startup’s next equity round, provide growth capital for new hires, etc. In this installment, I’ll talk about typical venture debt terms and the implications of each.
February 19, 2014 - There were 3,995 venture capital deals in the US totaling $29.4B in 2013, a 4% annual increase in number of deals and a 7% increase in dollars invested. Deals in Q4 2013 totaled 1,077 with $8.4B invested, which was a 4% increase in deals and 6% increase in dollars over Q3 2013 and represented a 1% increase in deals and 5% increase in dollars on a rolling four quarters basis. First time financings in 2013 represented 33% of deals and 17% of dollars, compared to 33% and 16% in 2012. Consequently, first time financings increased 3% by deals and 14% by dollars year on year.