You have the very best idea for a new product. This product is guaranteed to change the world. You just know it! Your business plan is ready. The only thing missing to get you to rapid growth is money. What to do? Should you look for investors for your startup? Or not?
My advice: if growing using your own resources is possible, go for it! Bootstrap! That’s how we always grew Yoast. It is the least risky because you grow gradually and never invest money you do not have. But at the same time, the growth (especially in the beginning) will not be very rapid.
If you dream of rapid growth, you can sell part of your company to investors. They put money into your company and then receive a share in return. This is what we do with Emilia Capital. This is not a loan, so you don’t have to repay the money. However, you will lose part of the ownership of your company.
Make sure to bring in investors who can help you grow your company. Could they help you with introductions? Could you learn from their advice? Are you willing to learn from their advice? Look for angel investors or private equity parties who know about your market and complement your expertise. It’s also nice if you “connect” personally because you will have to continue working with these investor(s) for a long time. And that can be pretty difficult.
With our ‘own’ portfolio companies, I see how an investment can make a difference. In addition to the money we have invested, we give these startups a substantial international network and experience in what works (especially in what doesn’t work). I really see the added value of investors in this.
But also remember: the most successful startups may well be the ones you never read or hear about. They have gradually grown – with their own money – and generate large turnovers year after year. And… the entire company is still 100% their own. They are bootstrapped heroes!