A new kind of funding is on the upswing for startups — venture debt. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, now that venture capital is drying up, “companies of all sizes look to raise more expansion capital via this alternative form of financing.”
As success stories proliferate of entrepreneurs using this funding solution in their early stages, interest in it naturally increases. Yet, venture debt isn’t the right choice for every business.
“Venture debt can open up exciting opportunities, but the decision to take on these loans is complex,” says Jay Jung, founder and managing partner of Embarc Advisors, a corporate finance advisory firm. “Problems can crop up when startups take on debt, so it’s important to weigh all aspects of this approach carefully.”
Venture debt explained
Venture debt is similar to other types of loans in that a business founder borrows money from the lender (usually an institutional bank, private investor, or fund that specializes in venture debt) and pays it back with interest over time. Companies that have already raised venture capital but are looking for more money to fuel their growth in-between equity rounds i.e., runway extension, typically use it.
“Venture debt provides funds with a short payback period — usually between 18 months and three years,” Jung says. “Lenders work with companies based on what makes sense for them at any given point in time.”
Venture debt helps businesses bridge funding gaps. “Startups are expensive,” Jung explains. “In their early days, most businesses need to spend time building their products or services while figuring out their go-to-market motion, so they usually don’t have a lot of revenue coming in. At the same time, they still need to pay the bills: employee salaries, rent on space, and other overhead.”
Indeed, as one recent study has discovered, “47% of startup failures in 2022 were due to a lack of financing.” For this reason, successfully securing venture debt can mean the difference between a company’s success and failure.
Venture debt also offers startups the ability to grow their business. “It can be a great option for any business looking to expand its operations, hire more employees and make strategic investments in technology or marketing,” Jung says.
Traditional versus venture debt
“Venture debt differs from traditional loans in a number of critical ways,” Jung says. “Traditional lenders look at a business’s past performance when determining whether or not to approve a loan. But for many startups, there isn’t a track record of past revenue. Plenty of new businesses operate in the red for years.”
For this reason alone, a traditional loan may be out of the question for some businesses.
“With venture debt, business owners can leverage the startup’s profitable future,” Jung explains. “While a traditional bank usually makes founders guarantee repayment by staking their personal property as collateral, founders can give venture-debt investors the right to purchase shares in the future, which is called a ‘warrant.’ In this way, they can use equity stakes to entice investors and other possible lenders.”
According to Jung, venture debt attracts investors because these loans tend to have higher interest rates than traditional loans. “In my experience, interest rates for venture-debt loans usually fall between 9 and 20 percent,” he says.
Options for venture debt
Startups have three options when it comes to venture debt. The first of these is term loans. “These operate much like traditional loans,” Jung says. “The lender loans the startup funds that must be repaid with interest after a certain period.”
Another option is revenue-based financing, which is paid back through a percentage of future revenue. “These loans can either be short- or long-term,” Jung says. “The important thing is that these startups need to have an established track record of generating revenue.”
The third option is factoring. “With factoring, the lender buys your accounts receivables for less than their face value,” Jung explains. “This gives the startup immediate funds, while the investor reaps the difference between their purchase price and the full amount of the bill.”
However, Jung urges caution with this method. “I’ve seen businesses get mired in situations in which they are never able to finish loans based on factoring,” he says. “They fall into a vicious cycle of relying on the factoring company and never actually get ahead, so the true cost of this approach can be a lot higher than it might first appear.”
Maximizing your success
The benefits of venture debt are numerous. Not only can these loans help you get your startup off the ground, but they can also give you the funds needed to grow as a company and expand into new markets. In the current environment where valuations have declined, extending runway through the use of venture debt may allow a company to grow back into its valuation and avoid a down-round. Still, employing this kind of funding successfully requires care.
“If you are interested in pursuing venture debt for your business, then do your due diligence,” Jung advises. “In particular, success will depend on accurately assessing your business’s needs, choosing the exact right financing option, developing a solid plan for repayment, and following it ruthlessly.”
While these steps may seem daunting, entrepreneurs who appreciate their difficulty may well be on the right track. This is one domain in which overconfidence could prove disastrous, but the good news is that — according to Jung — there’s a way to mitigate this risk.
“If you don’t have a lot of experience with corporate finance in general and venture debt in particular, then consider getting advice from a specialist,” Jung says. “With the help of an experienced advisor, you can be confident in choosing the right option and moving your company forward with the maximum chances of success. It’s important to remember that obtaining financing is only the beginning. Managing the finance post-funding is just as important.”
Designing Secure Commercial Spaces Without Compromising Aesthetics
In the realm of commercial design, security and aesthetics often seem like opposing forces. Business owners and designers alike grapple with the challenge of creating spaces that not only captivate and inspire but also ensure the safety and security of assets and occupants. The good news is that integrating security features into commercial spaces without sacrificing visual appeal is entirely achievable. This blog post will delve into innovative design strategies that harmonise security with aesthetics, including a look at the best deadlocks for front doors in Australia, ensuring your commercial space is both beautiful and fortified.
Embracing Technology for Seamless Security
Modern technology offers a plethora of options for discreet yet effective security measures. For instance, advanced surveillance systems can be integrated into the architectural design in a way that they blend seamlessly with the environment. Smart locks and biometric access controls offer robust security without the clunky hardware, maintaining a sleek and modern aesthetic. Implementing these technologies not only elevates the security level of your commercial space but does so without disrupting its design flow.
Strategic Use of Materials and Design Elements
The choice of materials and design elements plays a crucial role in balancing security and aesthetics. High-strength materials such as tempered or laminated glass, for example, offer excellent security without compromising on the visual openness that glass provides. Similarly, incorporating natural barriers like decorative boulders or planters can serve as subtle physical deterrents while enhancing the space’s visual appeal.
Lighting: A Dual-Purpose Tool
Lighting is another powerful tool that serves both aesthetic and security purposes. Well-planned lighting can highlight architectural features and create a welcoming atmosphere while ensuring visibility and deterring unauthorised access after hours. Motion-sensor lighting, in particular, can be a discreet addition that enhances security without detracting from the design.
The Role of Deadlocks in Aesthetic Security
A critical aspect of securing any commercial space is the choice of locks, especially for front doors which are the primary entry and exit points. Deadlocks offer a high level of security, making them an essential feature for commercial spaces. However, selecting the right deadlock doesn’t mean you have to settle for a utilitarian look. Today, the market offers a variety of deadlock designs that complement any aesthetic, from modern minimalist to classic elegance. For those in Australia, choosing the best deadlocks for front doors involves considering both the security features and how the lock’s design integrates with your commercial space’s overall look.
Collaboration Between Security Experts and Designers
Achieving a balance between security and aesthetics often requires a collaborative approach. Security experts and interior designers need to work hand in hand from the early stages of the design process. This collaboration ensures that security measures are not afterthoughts but are integrated into the design in a way that complements the space’s aesthetic appeal.
Ready to get started?
Designing secure commercial spaces without compromising aesthetics is not only possible but essential in today’s world. Remember, the goal is to integrate security seamlessly into the design, enhancing the user experience and ensuring peace of mind for both business owners and visitors. With thoughtful planning and collaboration, your commercial space can be a testament to the harmony that can exist between security and aesthetics.
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