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  • Writer's pictureShivani Deshmukh

2022 Comprehensive Guide to Venture Capital Method

The Venture Capital Method is a popular tool for business valuation. As the name suggests, it's used to value startup companies that are not currently generating revenues. The method is frequently used by entrepreneurs seeking funding from venture capital firms. Typically, this method is used while valuing a young company in a fast-growing industry where there aren't any suitable comparables.

Investors typically provide cash and long-term debt for an initial round of financing. This can also be used when investing in virtual companies and start-ups that have not yet gone through their first round of funding (Series A), or any company seeking other investors besides family or friends. Venture Capitalists provide investment capital in exchange for a stake in the company, usually through equity or a percentage of future profits.

The most common form of venture capital funding is seed money from investors, which is then followed by other forms of financing such as loans. Venture capitalists invest in companies that have the potential to grow and expand. The aim is for venture capitalists to acquire a stake in the company then develop it into something profitable and sell it off at some point in the future.

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What is the Venture Capital Method?

The VC method is focused on assessing the market size and growth potential of a company, as well as its financials. In other words, it's all about figuring out how much money you can make if you invest in a certain company.

The Venture Capital Method is a framework for sourcing, evaluating, and investing in early-stage technology companies.

The VC Method includes the following components:

Sourcing: Identifying target businesses and companies, startups that have the potential to become large, successful companies.

Evaluating: Assessing the viability of a business model. Evaluating each startup’s financial profile and growth potential.

Investing: Determining the appropriate amount of funding to invest in each startup. Putting money into a company (seed capital) to help it grow.

Exit: Selling the stake in the company to an acquirer. Trade sale, promoter buyback, or acquisition by another company.

Methods of Venture Financing


Equity financing involves issuing shares to investors in return for cash. The equity holder will receive dividends from the profits made by the firm and can buy more shares if they wish to do so.

Equity financing is often used by small companies that need more resources than they have available on their balance sheet.

Conditional Loan:

Conditional loans are like equity-financed loans where investors receive shares in a company in exchange for their cash contribution. The difference is that with this type of loan, there is an added element of risk since the investor's return on investment depends on the success or failure of the business venture that they are investing in.

For example, if a company fails to produce profits after six months, then it will lose its entire investment while if they succeed then it could earn back some or all its initial capital expenditure (Capex) through profits generated from operations.

A conditional loan is offered when there is a high chance that it will be repaid but there is a high risk involved as well.

For example, if you were buying an asset on credit card terms but it turned out that you could not pay it off in full, then you may have been offered a conditional loan to cover this shortfall. In this case, your first payment would be due on day one and then each month until you paid up all outstanding amounts plus interest charges (or at least enough for a grace period). If you couldn’t make those payments, then you would be charged interest on top of what was owed, and this would continue until the debt was settled or paid off (this could take many years).

Conditional loan financing involves a company selling debt on terms that require the borrower to make additional payments if certain criteria are met.

Conventional Loans:

Conventional loans are normally offered by banks or other financial institutions and require little collateral (such as property) because it is assumed that borrowers will repay their loans based on their ability to make repayments rather than needing collateral to secure the loan.

Conventional Loan Financing involves a company issuing debt or taking out a bridge loan at a favorable interest rate with favorable conditions such as no prepayment penalty or grace period for repayment of capital. Conventional Loan Financing is usually used by larger companies that don't want to issue equity because it dilutes current shareholders.

Income Notes:

Income notes are a form of unsecured debt issued by venture capital firms. They're often called "junk bonds" because they carry high-interest rates and lower-quality companies don't often issue them. They can be issued at any time during the life of a business, although they are usually issued early on to provide seed capital for a startup or first venture into a business before taking out bank loans or other forms of credit such as lines of credit or credit cards.

Income notes come in two flavors:

1. Convertible Notes: These are like traditional bonds but can be converted into equity if the company meets certain criteria, such as achieving certain milestones within a set amount of time (usually three years).

2. Non-Convertible Notes: These provide more risk to investors because they're not convertible into equity at any time.

Income notes are directly payable at the end of a predetermined period. Income notes have a maturity date and are secured by the assets pledged as security for the loan.

Income notes can be issued in one of three forms: secured, unsecured and hybrid. A secured note involves collateral being pledged against the note as security for repayment. Unsecured notes do not require collateral but there must be adequate credit support for the repayment of principal and interest payments on the note. Finally, hybrid notes involve both collateral and credit support but do not require that all principal and interest payments be made by a single entity or person; rather, any number of investors may make payment directly or indirectly through another party such as a bank or other financial institution.

Formula Used for Venture Capital Method

Applications of Venture Capital Method

The Venture Capital Method is a good way to estimate the value of a company that has not yet “taken off” or is in its very early stages. This method is important in two situations:

  • For investing in pre-revenue companies.

  • For investing in companies with high growth rates.

  • Making investments in established businesses with an existing product line and customer base.

How to Perform Venture Capital Method?

The venture capital method uses the discounted cash flow model, which calculates the value of an asset by discounting future cash flows back to present value using an appropriate discount rate. The multiple of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) can be used to estimate the value of the company by multiplying it by this multiple.

The Venture Capital Method is a method used to estimate the value of a pre-revenue company. It's based on two key assumptions:

  • The VC method assumes that investors will want to get a return on their investment (ROI) measured by the company's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA).

  • The Venture Capital Method assumes that investors will put 50% down at the beginning of an investment round, with the remaining payments made in installments over time.

For example, if you buy 10% of a startup for $10 million and they have no revenue yet but are growing like gangbusters then this means you're making your first payment immediately but won't need to make any more until after three years when they've reached $100 million in revenue. You can also apply this formula if there is an initial public offering or acquisition—you'd simply replace all references to valuation today with total capitalization or market cap plus debt minus cash on hand.

Examples of Companies Valued Using the Venture Capital Method

To get a better understanding of the Venture Capital Method, let's look at some companies that have been valued using this method.

Uber, Airbnb, and Snapchat were all valued using this method when they were first starting. These are just three examples of companies that have been valued using this method but there are many others including Instagram, Pinterest, and Spotify.

A Great Tool for Estimating the Value of a Pre-Revenue Company.

One reason this method is so helpful when valuing pre-revenue companies is that it doesn't require a cash flow projection. Instead, it uses a discounted cash flow (DCF) model that relies on the idea that future cash flows have a higher value than current cash flows.

In other words, if you could invest now at 10% interest and receive an equal amount of money in twelve months or invest now at 12% interest and receive the same amount of money in thirteen months, which would you choose? You'd choose to invest now because your money will be worth more once it matures into its full maturity value of $4500 at 13% instead of waiting two months for your investment to mature at 10%.

The Venture Capital Method works similarly—instead of calculating how much revenue is likely to come from an initial offering or another event like an IPO or acquisition, it calculates how much profit each dollar generates today. This way it can better estimate how much future profits are worth today based on their potential rate of return rather than relying solely on historical results.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Venture Capital Method

Advantages of the Venture Capital Method

1. It is a fast-track way to finance your dream project. It enables the startup entrepreneur to raise funds from investors, who are willing to invest in startups with high potential and risk.

2. The investors do not require any collateral for their money.

3. You can raise capital from multiple investors at the same time if you need more funds.

4. It enables the entrepreneur to access the expertise of experienced venture capitalists, who can help him/her assess the business plan, evaluate the market size, and make strategic decisions regarding his/her company.

5. It provides an environment where entrepreneurs can learn new skills and develop their entrepreneurial skillsets by working with experienced professionals in a structured manner.

6. Venture capitalists can guide entrepreneurs on how to manage their businesses effectively, which is not possible without them since they have experience in managing companies like yours or have been exposed to such situations earlier in their careers.

7. It also helps in creating jobs.

Disadvantages of the Venture Capital Method

1. An investor might evaluate your company without understanding your market well enough or may have unrealistic expectations of growth rates for small market size.

2. If your company does not have significant capital expenditures required before generating revenue (such as manufacturing equipment), then using a "cost to build" approach would be more appropriate than using cost for developing IP assets (which may require external resources).

3. The method relies heavily on assumptions about future growth and profitability.

4. It is a very long-term investment. The average period for a venture capital investment is between five and seven years, with an average of six years. Because of this long commitment, it may not be suitable for all businesses that need funding immediately.

5. Venture capital also comes with high fees and commissions. These fees can be anywhere from 3% to 8% of the value of your company, but they are usually higher than most lenders will charge.


The Venture Capital Method allows for getting a feel for how profitable certain ideas might be. Over time, an entrepreneur can incrementally improve the idea and make small adjustments as he goes forward. Over many incremental changes, the iterative process allows finding a product or service that people connect with on an emotional level and gives them what they want in high volume. One great example is Uber and how it has grown from nothing into one of the most valuable private companies just by listening to the market and acting back after action.

Key Takeaways

  • The VC Method is a simple and practical technique for valuing early-stage companies.

  • Valuation is based on four factors:

Factor 1. Terminal Value.

Factor 2. Pre-money value of the business.

Factor 3. Perpetuity Growth Rate.

Factor 4. Amount of invested capital in the company.

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