Uber and Airbnb are now household names across the globe and are well-known examples of Unicorn startups. To achieve this unicorn startup status, a startup needs to reach the highly ambitious £1 billion mark. One recent success story of a unicorn startup in the United Kingdom is Marshmallow, which raised £61.5M in a single funding round in 2021. It is the first black-owned unicorn in the UK which uses big data and AI to provide personalised insurance.
In order to take an idea from the conceptual stage to a fully-fledged startup, you will first, of course, require funding from investors. To begin, you’ll need a startup valuation, which is essentially a figure that represents how much the company is worth in the market. You’ll also need solid justification for this figure. Because valuation at the beginning stages of your startup can not be based on the demonstrated financial performance, they are instead valued on how your startup will perform in the future. Investors will assess your valuation based on company management, strong team foundations, future earnings potential, market, innovation etc.
One important factor that investors consider during your first funding round (AKA seed round) is how your startup team is built. When preparing for your seed funding round, you must present an achievable business plan, including financial projections and a strong pitch. Shrewd investors will closely evaluate how your startup team is built, because having solid foundations is essential. SeedLegals can help you during this critical time by taking care of everything you need to close an investment from the legal documents required to online tools that help you manage the process, as well as access to expert advice.
There are numerous ways to secure funding to launch your new business, including crowdfunding, business loans, angel investors, venture capital, or government start-up schemes. There are benefits to each avenue of investment, but the most logical place to start is to explore what grants are available to you for funding your startup. There are often grant options available for university startups, especially when related to a specific field of scientific research. The application process for grants can be a little tricky to navigate. Start by speaking to a funding specialist who can help you approach funding and grant applications. While a grant may get you off the ground, it is unlikely to take you to unicorn status. You will need to attract investors as well in order to have the resources you need to make it big.
Although the term unicorn evokes a picture of a mythical and magical creature, startups that reach this status are born from very real investment, hard work, and an entrepreneurial mindset. Students across the United Kingdom are now approaching their education with a more entrepreneurial perspective. While funding is the essential first step, it will not be enough to take you to unicorn status. You need to develop an entrepreneurial attitude and become skilful at pitching.
Developing this entrepreneurial mindset means having a clear vision, creating simple solutions to a problem, and being a pioneer in your field. Demonstrating how your business model will make life easier for your consumers and prove that you have a strategy for fast growth, that you can stay ahead of competitors and have a strong business proposition.
If you have a fresh and innovative startup, the good news is that it is now easier than ever to navigate funding, generate your legal documents, hire teams and get investment-ready.