Early-stage ventures are very young firms with limited operational resources and are usually in the development, startup or survival stages. The seasoned firms are usually in rapid-growth or maturity stages (Leach & Melicher, p.21-22). Seed financing is represented by the funds required to determine if an idea can be a viable business opportunity. This is usually necessary at the development stage of a venture. Other sources of financing are startup financing, first-round, second-round, liquidity stage, mezzanine and seasoned financing, depending upon the ventures life cycle stage. Onset Ventures is a top-tier seed investor which has raised three funds till now. The partners at Onset have analyzed and set six principles, based on which they provide seed financing to a startup venture. The principles address the skill set and experience of the entrepreneur, continuously evolving business model, validation of business model followed by hiring the CEO, the funds spent only to add value perceived by the capital providers, product’s Unique Selling Proposition and the skills of personnel hired. These principles have been refined over time and lead to the development of incubation process through which the company develops, refines and pursues or rejects business ideas. During the first phase, pre-seed phase of incubation process, Onset analyzes if the business concept can be an attractive investment. Based on the outcome of the pre-seed phase, it proceeds to the seed phase and provides seed financing to the business. Onset analyzes the possible risks and tries to address those risks during this phase. The five risks are market, technical, operating, pricing risks, as well as the risk related to the operational capability of the business team. Onset has a comprehensive process of screening the ideas and identifying profitable ventures but it has lost the opportunities of making more profits due to tight funding of the ventures and by being too careful and risk-averse. II. Facts of the Case A. Stated Facts Onset Ventures was set-up with an initial $5 million fund in 1984 and subsequently raised $30m (Onset I) and $67m funds (Onset II). Out of these funds, two-thirds have been invested in seed and follow-on investments, and the rest is kept as reserves in Onset II. In 1996-97, the size of an average VC fund increased by 40% to $71 billion. The company plans to raise $80m-$95m fund, it’s the largest fund till now. Onset has provided seed financing of $1m for the company TallyUp to develop a viable software product. Onset operates on a model of five business principles and a specific incubation process of pre-seed phase and seed phase to screen the business ideas. The company’s minimum target IRR of a fund is 30% over 12 year cycle. Onset puts in a company around $1m in seed round, $1.5m in the next round, and $2m in the third round. Onset I gave positive IRR within 4 years of its inception (appendix 1) and Onset II took only three years to give positive IRR (appendix 2). The average number of investment has increased in subsequent funds, i.e. $2.5m in Onset I, $3.5m to $4m in Onset II and expected $4.5m to $5m in Onset III. B. Implied Facts Over the last 13 years, Onset has invested mainly in seed-stage and early-stage financing. Onset II has performed better than Onset I (appendix 3). III. Problem Definition A. Source Problem How many funds must be raised for Onset III? Whether Onset should invest an additional $1m into TallyUp for ...
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