As a tech founder, you’ve spent countless hours building and refining your product, working on your business model, and assembling a talented team.
You’ve been busy bringing your vision to life, but there’s one thing you might not have thought about yet: financial due diligence.
Whether you’re planning to raise capital or sell your business, financial due diligence is a crucial step.
It’s a thorough examination of your company’s financial health, which includes analyzing your financial statements, tax returns, legal documents, contracts, and more.
Financial due diligence is performed by potential investors, buyers, or lenders who want to ensure that they make sound investment decisions.
Financial due diligence can be especially important for tech startups because these companies often have unique financial characteristics.
Unlike traditional businesses, tech startups may have high burn rates due to their rapid growth and ongoing investment in research and development.
They may also have a higher level of uncertainty surrounding their future revenue streams, making it challenging to predict future financial performance.
Preparing for financial due diligence might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Get organized
One of the first things you must do is get your financial documents in order.
This includes your balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement, and other relevant financial documents.
Ensure that everything is up-to-date and accurate and that you have all the necessary documentation.
2. Review your financials
Once you have all your financial documents in order, review them thoroughly.
Look for any red flags or inconsistencies, and be prepared to explain them during due diligence.
You should also prepare a narrative that tells the story of your company’s financials, including any significant milestones, challenges, or pivots.
3. Get a professional opinion
Consider hiring an accountant or financial advisor to help you prepare for financial due diligence.
They can review your financial statements, provide feedback, and help you identify areas for improvement.
A professional opinion can give you added confidence when presenting your financials to potential investors, buyers, or lenders.
4. Be transparent
During financial due diligence, it’s essential to be transparent about your company’s financials.
Don’t try to hide anything or be evasive when answering questions. Instead, be upfront about any issues or concerns, and be prepared to provide supporting documentation.
5. Practice your pitch
Finally, it’s important to articulate your company’s financial story clearly and concisely. Practice your pitch, and make sure that you can explain your financials in a way that’s easy to understand.
Remember, financial due diligence is not just about the numbers but also about the story behind them.
Here are some key areas that potential investors or buyers may focus on during financial due diligence for tech startups:
1. Revenue streams
Investors will want to understand your company’s revenue streams and how they’re expected to grow over time.
They may ask for detailed financial projections, as well as information about your customer base, pricing strategies, and sales channels.
2. Intellectual property
Tech startups often rely heavily on intellectual property, including patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Investors will want to understand the value of your intellectual property portfolio and ensure that it’s adequately protected.
3. Capital structure
Investors will want to understand your company’s capital structure, including outstanding debt, equity financing, and stock options.
They may also want to know about potential dilution risks impacting their investment.
4. Financial controls
Investors will want to ensure that your company has robust financial controls to manage the business’s cash flow, expenses, and other financial aspects.
This may include reviewing your accounting systems, financial policies and procedures, and internal controls.
5. Litigation and regulatory risks
Finally, investors will want to understand potential legal or regulatory risks that could impact the business.
This may include reviewing pending litigation, regulatory compliance issues, or potential intellectual property disputes.
Preparing for financial due diligence can be challenging, but it’s a critical part of the investment process. By understanding the key areas investors may focus on, you can prepare your financials and other documentation to ensure a successful due diligence process.