Sparrow Advisory

Start-Up Valuation for Capital Raising

The question of start-up valuation is one that founders struggle with, especially in the early stages. If you’re pre-profitable — or even pre-cashflow — how can you figure out what your company is worth?

Business valuation is never straightforward – for any company. For start-ups with little or no revenue or profits and less-than-certain futures, the job of assigning a valuation is particularly tricky. For mature, publicly listed businesses with steady revenues and earnings, normally it’s a matter of valuing them as a multiple of their earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) or based on other industry specific multiples. But it’s a lot harder to value a new venture that’s not publicly-listed and may be years away from sales.

One way is to think about “value” as something that exists beyond monetary terms.

“Start-ups, by definition don’t have a long track record of revenue, earnings or cash flow (if any) so much of the valuation exercise is conducted by looking at the marketplace of comparable companies and understanding how the industry for a type of start-up values the companies within it,” Georgene Huang, CEO and Cofounder of Fairygodboss, says.

If you are trying to raise capital for your start-up company, or you’re thinking of putting money into one, it’s important to determine the company’s worth. It will be unfortunate for a good business model to not able to get funding or for a bad business model to be able to get the funding.

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