When I finally got 3D4Medical off the ground, external investors and venture capitalists started showing interest. They’d get in touch with generous offers, and promises that together we could set my company up for exponential growth. Over time, as we got more and more deals over the line, more and more VCs were ready to pounce, and their offers began to skyrocket. But I had a gut feeling that told me to hold off. We clearly had good products but I wanted to see just how far we could get on our own. I listened to my gut and turned them all down.
Looking back, I dodged a bullet.
I’ve seen too many entrepreneurs sell out, only to wind up unhappy and, basically, employees of the investor or VC.
The longer you refrain from getting support from VCs and external investors, then the more you will own of your company. You owe it to yourself, and the future of your business to go as far as possible before getting external commercial investment.
Sell too soon to VCs and your business will become theirs, and not yours. Hold off from external funding and you increase the percentage that you own of your company. The larger this percentage is, the more control you will have. If you let VCs swoop in and take a majority percentage of shares, not only will your ownership of the company diminish, but you will lose the right to make decisions over your products or services.
It may sound daunting, but thriving without external investment is more doable than you might think. Rebel entrepreneurs tap every resource before turning to a VC – friends, family. It’s not easy to ask loved ones for help, but if you really believe in your business then you’ll be doing them a favour as you will be able to offer them a big return.
In the early stages of business, it is better to focus on innovation and not investment. A rebel entrepreneur may choose to make a deal with a VC, and if this is the case, then the agreement must be negotiated on your terms. While a rebel entrepreneur may sell to a VC, they never sell out. Otherwise, they lose their freedom and cease to be a rebel entrepreneur.
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