The Point: The Family Office as Entrepreneur Capital Source is an avenue rarely investigated, until recently. Why? The Family Office structure is one that is a relatively new “player” in the capital source space. So what do you need to do as an entrepreneur in order to approach a family office and successfully secure capital? In this post, we’ll explore family offices as Entrepreneur Capital Source… Enjoy!
When you are looking into the best way to raise venture capital for your entrepreneurial effort, you need to keep in mind that there are two main options when it comes to raising capital – Angel investors and institutional investors. Angel investors are wealthy individuals who provide small amounts of money to start a new business with the intention of generating a much larger return later on. While these investors do not normally require any particular terms nor have control over organizational operation when providing capital, they are also extremely impatient and lack understanding of the technology and risk issues that you are going through in building your new company as an entrepreneur. Most angel investors will prefer to see a business plan and more importantly, a projected financials so they can get a full picture of the business you are attempting to build.
Family offices on the other hand, run more like private equity firms where joint ventures between entrepreneurs and them as business partner generally require an initial investment. Typically, this relationship is formed because it allows family offices to tap into the entrepreneurial mindset of their entrepreneur partners and receive returns that are superior to other capital instruments. Most family offices that run like a private equity firm prefer to provide capital to small to mid-sized organizations rather than large corporate companies because of the obvious benefit of being personally involved in the business and being able to contribute ideas and help direct the business (Again, don’t overlook the returns!) They also are able to provide a direct exit path from the current project to providing capital to future projects. In order to raise family office capital funding requires the entrepreneur to again submit a formal business plan along with a well-written equity prospectus and a complete financial statement so the family office knows exactly what kind of return they can expect.
Family offices provide a great way for relatively inexperienced entrepreneurs to obtain the experience needed to raise large sums of capital and have a smart-money partner along with them. Because the entrepreneur receives small investments from family offices and not from institutional investors, they typically view paying very good returns on these investments as a small price to pay in return for the capital received to accomplish goals. The key to success is in the collaboration and relationship building between the entrepreneurs and family offices. Family offices are really just an extension of a venture capital outlet, allowing entrepreneurs to access the wealth of the family office entrepreneurial team at a much lower hurdle.