Develop2013: Raising funds (for games/games-related ideas) in the UK
Doing a startup, raising £
... in the UK
Intentionally self-explanatory powerpoint with no pictures, for you to
takeaway after the event.
Most new joiners to Ukie are startups or small
businesses of some kind.
Some are funded by publishers, some by
venture capital, some by grants, and some by
themselves ("bootstrapping")... and some too,
but not many yet, by crowdsourcing.
Indie, startup, business...
The big picture stuff...
Creating the right foundations for businesses,
Following Ian Livingstone's 5 Ps:
Pipes (decent broadband)
Property (intellectual: create it, keep it)
Pound... (raising finance)
If you can't bootstrap...
Kristian Segerstrale sez, go for VC. He would,
because a) he did and b) he's a VC now, but his
main point is:
"...The typical publisher value-add of
financing, marketing, technology and
distribution through retail channels doesn’t
translate well to the digital world."
Do you agree?
The quickie basics of starting up...
Got a founder or three? Choose wisely: it's a
bit like getting married. Assume a 4 year
Get a good accountant who knows about
grants and breaks. Get a good lawyer who
can give you financial introductions.
Startup contract-negotiation costs (with VC, say) will be about 10K at the
lawyers, and 5k at the accountants. Hopefully less!
Fundamentals: Biz Plan
There's a Biz Plan visual model, thanks
@thulme. Fill it in, write it up. It works!
Fundamentals: Pitch Deck
Who are you pitching to? Tailor the below.
The ~10-slide VC deck (Mark Suster is #1 <3):
Team, Problem, Solution, (demo), Market,
Competition, Traction?, Financial Projection,
Product Plan (spend plan), Team (XP),
Appendix if required.
10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 point font (like
We put pictures in ours, and had to explain 3D printing too, so ours was 13.
Fundamentals: Pitching (anyone)
How? Never read off paper. Sell! Be funny. Be
Elevator pitch (30secs, 3mins) down pat?
Be positive: skip that self-deprecation, Brits.
Be friendly, relax. They want to know you.
Follow up with a thank you. Then follow up
again, later. Stay in view. "Lines, not dots."
It's all so easy to say. Practice as much as you can. Doing talks on stage is
practice. Pitching to folks you don't care about is practice. Don't disappear
Types of funding
VC: For Big/Fast ideas. Will want equity and
preferences. What can they bring to the table
for you? You will have to form a Board,
because you will have Shareholders.
Angels: have different reasons for investing.
Will want equity. Use AngelList. SuperAngels.
Publishers: ...want your IP :-)
Crowdfunding: Seedrs (equity), Kickstarter.
Grants: TSB, tax breaks.
How many Nos? Expect... 50? 100?
Terms: who sets them, what are they?
Valuation: who sets it, for how much?
Pre-money? Post-money? Convertible note?
Dilution? Cap table?
Pro rata? First refusal?
Returns? What do they want to see?
Cold on games right now (because of Zynga), but it's cyclic.
How much will you give away?
Generally, a new startup taking Seed money
will exchange about 30% of the company
(equity) for the funds.
At Series A, you'll probably give away another
If you've had a F&F round, you may be another
And what if you need bridging rounds?
Many famous entrepreneurs had approx 3% of their company left by the time
they IPOd or were bought.
Funding: VC: (Some of) the Brits
London Venture Partners (games rockstars!) - David, David, Phil & Paul
EC1 (seed, 100k) - Julian
Connect Ventures (100-300k) - Sitar Teli
Initial Capital - Kristian Segerstrale
Passion Capital (seed, 150k) - Elaine & Stefan
Accel Partners - Sonali, Kevin
Index Ventures - Saul Klein, Ben Holmes (later/bigger)
Balderton - Harry Briggs/Roberto Bonanzinga
Eden Ventures (some seed) - Ben Tompkins
SOS Ventures (100k) - Bill Liao
Profounders - Rogan Angelini-Hurll
Wellington (some seed)
In generalish order of likelihood to want to see games/game tech/SaaS
Funding: VC: (Some of) the Euros
Lifeline Ventures - Petteri
Sunstone Capital - Nikolaj
EarlyBird - Ciaran
In no particular order. Berlin is where it's generally at, along with Copenhagen
Funding: VC: (Some of) the Americans
Spark Ventures - Nabeel
Andreessen Horowitz - Brian Cho, Frank Chen
Benchmark Capital - Mitch
Upfront Ventures - Mark Suster
500 Startups - Dave McClure, the sweary VC
DFJ Jain - Rio
... and a zillion others.
You'll need to fly a lot, though, and probably move there too.
"You have a great Team. We love the
Technology! Come back when you have
Traction, a million+ users."
"What's your user acquisition strategy?"
"How will you compete with X...?" / "What if X
copies you? What's your moat?"
Stay in touch. Have a good answer.
You will hear this sort of thing..
(Funding: Corporate Venturing)
Dena, Gree, Disney, etc.
Usually only purchase at larger valuations
(multiple 100m) after proof of huge success...
T-Ventures: where it fits with mobile?
Appearing: advertising agencies with
venturing arms, e.g. Mother, Wieden &
Standfast Interactive - not quite a VC, not
quite a publisher?
Easier to pitch, harder to find. Will flock in if
you have VC interest. EIS / SEIS compliance is a
major incentive for them.
AngelList (it's gameable, watch out for that)
CityMeetsTech, Capital On Stage
New SuperAngels: Wren, AngelLab, PlayFair,
Never pay to pitch.
50k and a desk for a few months?:
Seedcamp / Springboard
http://www.startupfactories.eu is helpful. There are plenty more across
Kickstarter, IndieGoGo: structure via Thomas
"You bring your own audience." Will cost £.
"If you've made 30-40% in Day One, you'll
make your Ask."
Famous people do better.
Seedrs, Crowdcube: for equity.
Quite good for figuring out if your idea has legs, before you have to go and
build it. Only Quite Good, because the funders are only a slice of the market...
Not going to tell you lot how to pitch a games
Funding: Tax Breaks
R&D breaks (now): technology & problem-
Production breaks (soon): creativity &
Don't be put off by the word "tax". It is a relief from corporation tax. Get your
accountant on it, but if you've chosen the right one, they will have done that
Funding: Prototype grants
TSB Competitions (occasional)
TSB SMART (cyclical)
Abertay Prototype Fund prototypefund.
Huge paperwork overhead, and often a need for academic-speak. We won
one, and failed five. If you can get help writing the application, do.
Bootstrap if/where you can (own money, f&f,
crowdfunding, grants, breaks). It's your
company. Grow at your own rate.
If you have something you can't afford to do
on your own: VC/Angels means you keep your
IP, but you lose some of "your company". You
will need to go Big, Fast.
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