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Startup Stage 2
Startup Stage 2. Business has been formed... committed to action!
Again there are various sources of advice and support, some private, some public and some joint ventures between the two.
Business Incubators run programs designed to support the development of early stage entrepreneurial companies. They are hosted in the incubator facility which will have relevant human and technical resources supplied at an advantageous rate. Incubator management team will deliver support and use relevant contacts.
West London is well provided with such facilities although competition to get a place may be high:
The Doughnut Factory (www.thedoughnutfactory.co.uk) is open to any startup or small and medium private sector business in the creative and media industries. They offer flexible and well supported space from individual desks to full offices.
Imperial Thinkspace comprises 2 facilities today with another under development to be launched in 2016 (Imperial West, White City), see www.thinkspacelondon.com
Imperial's Centre House in Wood Lane (W12) offers flexible space next door to the Ugli building and tenants have the option of participating in Imperial's incubation programs.
Imperial Incubator in Exhibition Road (SW7) has office and laboratory space for innovative early-stage technology companies.
The WAYRA Academy www.wayra.org/en is an incubator (translates as 'changing wind') in W1 which provides financing, mentoring and access to technology expertise within Telefonica' accessed through a competitive application process.
So called 'Accelerators' provides intense advice and education together with the potential for seed investment and free support in a 'Bootcamp' style environment over a relatively short period (3 months). Typically targetting the phase after 'incubator'. Typically finishing with a pitch to finance providers for capital. The Springboard series is one example but we are not aware of any specifically in West London at this stage.
The BBC Worldwide 'Labs' project www.bbcwlabs.com is a business accelerator for digital media and technology startups.
The Local Business Accelerators initiative (www.accelerateme.co.uk) is a competition for businesses between 1 and 5 years old to win local advertising and mentoring supported by 500 local newspapers.
Financing options in addition to those identified at stage 1 can include:
- Accelerators who provide seed capital and the chance to present to VC's at the end of the period
- Seed funds and Venture Capital organisations seeking early stage or 'first round' investment. Pre revenue investment does happen but is understandably a challenge and likely to be supplied by a firm with a deep knowledge of that specific market. Fortunately it does seem that most VC's are seeking technology and media companies for investment due to the (relatively) low capital requirements and ability to scale.
- 'Supplier Barter'. A local supplier (for example of website design) may be persuaded to take shares in the business as opposed to cash for services provided in order to share in the potential upside.
- Crowdfunding. This relatively new form of finance utilises digital distribution in order for companies to offer debt or equity participation to private lenders and investors who register for the site. For early stage companies equity investment is more likely and Seedrs (www.seedrs.com), Crowdcube (www.crowdcube.com); Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com) are three examples that seem to be established. The crowdfunding organisation will act as the investors nominee and thus handle all administrative work but charges may be as high as 7.5% of money raised. Investor amounts can range from £10 to £100k+