When it comes to South African startup Investing, there are two major forces driving recent changes: it’s becoming cheaper to start a startup, and startups are becoming a more normal thing to do.
While previously, there were only two options available to recent graduates (get a job or go to grad school), now there’s a third – start your own company. This is a big change, one that creates a social shift in today’s generation; one that we’re only at the beginning of. So we can expect to see a lot more startups popping up.
This first factor is directly related to the second major driver of change: startups are becoming cheaper to start. The decreasing cost of starting a startup is one of the reasons startups are becoming a more normal thing to do.
With startups needing less money, founders will increasingly have the upper hand when it comes to investors. While they’ll still often require corporate finance services or even business plan consulting services when it comes to growth funding just as much of your energy and imagination as they have in the past, they just won’t need as much of your money. And since founders now have the upper hand, they’ll end up retaining an increasingly large share of the stock, and control of, their companies. Which means less stock and control for investors.
But does this mean investors will make less money? Not necessarily.
Since the total amount of startups available to investors is increasing, so is the amount of desirable startups that will make money for investors. A rule of thumb in the business is that there are about 15 companies a year that will be really successful, and while a lot of investors treat this number as some sort of constant, it shouldn’t be.
Currently, the limiting factor on the number of big hits is the number of sufficiently good founders starting companies, and that number is likely to increase. There are plenty of people who would make great founders that will never end up starting a company, but as it becomes cheaper and more normal for startups to begin, more and more of those people will become founders, increasing those 15 big hits a year to 50 or even 100.
What about South African Startup Investing returns? Will they be pinched by increasingly high valuations?
In actuality, investors have the opportunity to make more money now than you did in the past. That’s because high returns don’t come from investing at low valuations, they come from investing in companies that do really well. So if there are more big hits each year, the best investors should have more hits as well. Investors and firms that can attract the best startups will do even better since there will be more of them to attract.
Will the number of big hits grown linearly with the total number of new startups? Probably not, and here’s why:
- With the decrease in cost of starting a startup, more people are willing to try and fail. This isn’t a bad thing – it’s common in technology for an innovation that decreases the cost of failure to increase the number of failures, yet leave you net ahead.
- As more startups begin, there’s bound to be a clash of ideas. While the number of good ideas is not the reason there are only 15 big hits a year, with so many founders getting into the startup game, there will be multiple companies doing the same thing, at the same time.
So, how does this affect South African Startup Investing?
One thing these changes mean is that there will be more opportunities for investors at the earliest stages of a startup, because that’s where the volume of our imaginary solid is growing fastest. This opportunity means an opportunity for new investors, because the degree of risk an investor or firm is comfortable taking is one of the hardest things for them to change. Angel investors, in particular, stand to obtain a huge advantage through these changes, giving the ability to make angel-sized investments quickly during the beginning stages of a startup.
Different types of investors adapt to changes differently. By anticipating these changes and adapting to them, you’ll look bold as an investor and will open yourself up to new opportunities. Keep in mind that founders are your customers, so adapt yourself to do something that they want.