Most pundits christen it as the ultimate gamble. It is also the fodder for the future. The returns can be ridiculously sweet if you hit it big. I’m talking about technology. Most of the top 10 biggest tech giants are barely 20 years-old. Within that time, they have turned modest investments into billion-dollar conglomerates.
Each of these tech giants will tell you of a very charming story of how they bet on the idea of the future. What most of them will never tell you is the number of similar startups that have since exited the market since they started. Before you activate that gallant mode, here is what you need to consider.
Understand the risks
Even experienced venture capitalists don’t have a perfect record. Most of them will be comfortable with anything above 50 percent. It means, for every $100 they invest in startups, $50 would land in a furnace.
Another statistic worth mentioning is that at least nine out of 10 startups close shop within the first five years. Half of those firms go down due to poor business strategy. Technology catches others napping and whitewashes them.
The risks are grievous. Unlike established companies that can shed some of their value then recover, once a startup closes shop, that is the end of the music. It doesn’t matter how much you have invested.
Know the law
When it comes to investing in startups, only wealthy people were able to invest. However, since the passing of the JOBS Act, almost anyone can invest. However, you must qualify to do so. The qualification is simple, an annual income of at least $107,000 or a marching bank balance.
At that level, you will qualify to invest $2,200 or 5 percent of your annual salary. As you work your way up the income ladder, you can invest more. To invest, you can invest in companies that SEC and FINRA clear for debt or crowdfunding.
However, an SEC or FINRA clearance is not a guarantee that the startup will succeed. Their role is to ensure that the companies are in legitimate business. You have to do your due diligence before you invest.
Get in your industry with your money
It is not mandatory to invest in tech firms targeting your area of expertise. However, experts recommend that you do. Part of suave investment is to interrogate company finances, products, and methods.
If you are a doctor, can you competently interrogate a financial technology product? Maybe not! If an analytics startup tells you they have the most exciting data catalog in the market, you probably should do some research to assure they are telling the truth. But where would you do that research? My point is this: Invest in an area that you have pertinent information and knowledge. It may be a hobby or your spouse who has some connections there. However, it should be something that interests you.
Start at the bottom
Be realistic about your chances. Most startups take at least seven years for them to pay out their angel investors. Popular checkouts are IPOs or buy-offs. Startup investments are therefore long-term investments because it takes quite some time to get a payday.
Getting reach quickly is a possibility, but the chances of it happening in the first three years are minimal. Therefore, you will need to spread your risk by investing in several startups.
The best place to start is through crowdfunding initiatives so that you can get the hang of it. You can choose from existing platforms . Some will allow you to invest more money than others do. Some will even offer you guaranteed returns on investments.
As you grow in stature and experience, you can move on to elite levels. Who knows, one day you might become a venture capitalist.
Startups investment is for the bold. You have to hope for the best but expect the worst. Invest what you are ready to lose.Comments »