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April 29, 2015

Declaration of Independents: A New Venture Funding Model Without the Exit Pressure

Indie.vc is a new experiment (in the US) that provides equity like capital to founders in return for cash distributions from profits instead of needing to sell out or taking their company public.

The philosophy:
There’s a mythology that entrepreneurs need to take VC money to hit the big time. While it’s true that some companies really do need outside capital, there are many examples of great companies that have reached revenues of hundreds of millions of dollars, or even gone public, without ever taking in capital, or taking it in only at a late stage, when they’d already created a high valuation by bootstrapping the company.
...Like cement, the cultural foundation for new projects and companies sets early. Those who focus on raising outside capital and achieving fundable milestones have a very difficult time getting off that VC treadmill. Those who focus on creating value for customers and generating positive cash flow from the very beginning are able to make their own decisions independent of competing outside interests.
Can companies today who plan to stay independent and bootstrap their business be competitive in a world awash with Silicon Valley startups and Sand Hill Road cash? Can we build a new kind of startup community that values independence and a DIY work ethic?
The Methodology:
Traditionally, technology investors only get their money out when you sell out (another term for this is a “Liquidity Event”). An investment from IdVC doesn’t preclude you from selling, but in the event you stay independent, our investment will get paid out as distributions from cashflow over time.  
...Initially, we will get 80% of those distributions while the founders take 20% until our initial investment has been returned 2x. At 2x the model flips to 80% to founders, 20% to inde.vc until we’ve received 5x our investment. Distributions to indie.vc are capped at 5x. 
Only if and when you choose to raise more money from traditional investors or sell out do we become shareholders in your company.
More detailed summary of the terms are spelt out here. A model for how the cash distribution will work is here.

More about the "Declaration of Independents" by Bryce Robeters here.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private company transactions, valuations and financials in India. Click Here to learn about Venture Intelligence products that help entrepreneurs Reach Out to Investors, Research Competition, Learn from Experienced Entrepreneurs and Interact with Peers. Includes the Free Deal Digest Weekly Newsletter: India's First & Most Exhaustive Transactions Newsletter.
Venture Intelligence is the leading provider of data and analysis on Private Company Financials, Transactions (private equity, venture capital and M&A) & their Valuations in India. Click Here to Sign Up for the FREE Weekly Edition of the Deal Digest: India's First & Most Exhaustive Transactions Newsletter.