Startups: 5 reasons SME’s fail to secure VC funding

Social Entrepreneurship

Venture capitalists reject far more deals than they accept, with just six percent of startups being funded by either an angel investor or a VC, and rejection rates in the UK are estimated to be as high as 54%.1,2

In this competitive landscape, the venture capitalists at Oxford Capital have shared insight into why they wouldn’t invest in your business and what could be holding businesses back from securing funding in 2024.

Mark Bower-Easton, Head of Distribution at Oxford Capital, shares the common reasons businesses fail to secure VC funding:

  1. Lack of scalability:

“Venture capitalists gravitate towards highly scalable business models poised for rapid growth. Lack of scalability and growth potential raises concerns for venture capitalists aiming for investments in businesses targeting expansive, growing markets to yield substantial returns. Businesses dependent on manual processes or possessing limited geographic reach, thus struggling to accommodate growth without significant bottlenecks, do not align with venture capitalist investment objectives.”

  1. Unproven market demand:

“We prioritise opportunities backed by solid evidence of customer interest and market validation. Insufficiently refined or sizeable market opportunities, coupled with a business’s lack of understanding of the target market, pose uncertainties and can be detrimental for investment decisions. Unrealistic valuations and poor business planning, such as uninspiring or unrealistic business plans and pitches, are some of the top turn-offs for venture capitalists.”

  1. Weak or inexperienced management team:

“Investors seek leadership teams with expertise, vision and resilience to navigate the intricacies of entrepreneurship. The absence of a proven track record, requisite skills, drive, temperament, and experience within the team poses challenges for securing venture capital funding. VC funding and the restructuring of the business’s capital required can get complicated. Some owners don’t and directors simply don’t have the range of skills required to be able to handle VC investment.”

  1. Competitive risks:

“In order to attract venture capitalists, startups need to offer a compelling value proposition. This means that the startup needs to offer something unique that is appealing to investors. We scrutinise markets for competitiveness and saturation, where gaining a competitive advantage can prove difficult for new businesses. There is a reluctance to invest in businesses lacking a unique selling point or clear strategy for differentiation amidst intense competition.”

  1. Investor mismatch:

“It’s key when securing funding to thoroughly research and approach the right type of VC firm for your business or startup. By understanding the specific areas of interest and investment criteria of different VC firms, entrepreneurs can strategically target those investors who align with their business model, industry, and growth stage. This targeted approach increases the likelihood of securing funding as it demonstrates a clear understanding of the investor’s preferences and how the startup fits within their portfolio strategy.”

Ultimately, securing VC funding requires more than just meeting a criteria. Businesses must articulate a clear vision, showcase their potential for rapid growth, and highlight the value proposition they bring to the market. Moreover, building trust and rapport with investors through transparent communication and a solid track record can significantly enhance confidence in the investment opportunity. By aligning your strengths with the expectations of VCs, businesses can lay the groundwork for successful investment partnerships.

About Neel Achary 19140 Articles
Neel Achary is the editor of Business News This Week. He has been covering all the business stories, economy, and corporate stories.