June 23, 2017

Democratize Venture Capital with NIN.VC

6/23/2017

The concept of Entrepreneurship dates back to the 1700s, and has evolved ever since. Most people simply equate it with starting one’s own business. For some, it refers to Venture Capital backed startups and their kin, but economists believe it is much more than that. An Entrepreneur is the one who is willing to bear the risk of a new venture, if there is a significant chance for profit. Entrepreneurship is also a necessary ingredient for stimulating economic growth and employment opportunities in all societies.

Disruptive technology is the first step towards Entrepreneurship. A disruptive technology is an innovation that changes an existing industry and also helps create a new market and value network, displacing an earlier technology or a way of doing business. E.g. NIN.VC, Venture Capital provides financing to early stage emerging companies with high growth potential in exchange for equity / an ownership stake. The risks VCs take investing in disruptive technologies or business models yield higher returns their limited partners (or investors) require. As these companies grow, they create employment and jobs for an Economy in return. The total GDP of United States in 2016 was approximately $18 trillion, out of which 7.5% was technology, which accounted for 6.9 million jobs. 

Since the beginning of the 20th century, Venture Capital has been the domain of wealthy individuals and families. A typical LP base in a venture fund would be institutions, pension funds, endowments, family offices, etc. However, the 2008 Financial Meltdown led to a liquidity crises for Entrepreneurs, Companies, LPs, VCs, and everyone. Fewer IPOs in the market means no exits for VCs, no returns for LPs, and as a result venture funds were on a decline. No new funds means less startup funding, low employment, and slow economic growth. Thus on April 5, 2012, President Obama signed, The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the JOBS Act), which enables Crowdfunding for all Americans; and that's how NIN Ventures (or NIN.VC) came into existence. 

Crowdfunding is a practice of funding a project or venture by raising contributions from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. Since 2014 the crowdfunding industry has grown from $16 billion to an estimated $34 billion in 2015 and is doubling or more every year, and according to the World Bank estimates, crowdfunding will have a global market of $96 billion by 2025 - 1.8 times today’s global Venture Capital industry. Crowdfunding is spread across several types of funding models including rewards, donation, equity, and debt / lending. The two most popular types of Crowdfunding methods are Reward and Equity. For rewards based Crowdfunding, entrepreneurs pre-sell a product or service to launch a business, and some times even in return for gifts or thank you notes. For equity Crowdfunding, the backer receives share of a company, usually in exchange of the money pledged. For NIN Ventures (or NIN.VC), it would be limited partner interest in the NIN Ventures Technology (QP) Fund. 

However, there is a major flaw with Crowdfunding in general; and that is what NIN.VC is solving. 
"I come from an Entrepreneurial family so I can speak on their behalf. Entrepreneurs are brave and courageous bunch that are determined to change the way an existing industry functions. On that journey they need lot more than just financing. They need guidance or domain expertise, help with PR/marketing, recruiting, viable exit strategy, more often follow up financing, etc., which Crowdfunding portals are not able to support.

On the other hand Crowdfunding exposed investors to a whole new asset class, which the normal population never had the knowledge or expertise to invest in. About 99% of startups fail, on top of that low minimum investments like $1,000 does not give them a say or a board seat, putting investors at high degree of risk.

At NIN.VC we solved all of those issues. NIN.VC provides diversification, we take board seat on all our investments and lend the necessary support that an Entrepreneur needs to build a business, like they would get at a traditional Venture Capital fund. And are also in a position to gauge and be a part of the valuation process when it comes to addressing dilution and follow up financing rounds. However, the most IMPORTANT part that investors cares about is the ability to direct invest and enjoy direct returns, which is not the case with a traditional venture capital fund."

NIN.VC is a Crowdfunded Technology Venture Capital firm that is offering membership interests under the JOBS Act & Regulation D of the US Securities Act of 1933. NIN.VC is a unique and first of its kind attempt to bring Venture Capital retail and give people the freedom to directly invest in a fund with an amount of their choice, which also leads to a better financial reward system. This offering is being made via general solicitation and general advertising, which is permitted by Rule 506(c) as contemplated by Title II of the JOBS Act. This rule came into effect Sep 23, 2013 and we were the first ones to go live with a website and videos about our fund. NIN Ventures also became the first venture fund to be seen on a billboard, which was followed by in taxi ads and other social media facilitated marketing. Learn more about us on FacebookTwitterLinkedInNIN Ventures TV, etc. 

NIN.VC invests in series A & B rounds of 3D printing, the 4th industrial revolution, cloud computing, financial services, education software, and other disruptive technology companies. During the postwar period, recessions and recoveries, were mostly matters of business cycles. When demand recovered, GDP growth resumed, and employers hired again. But for the past two decades, this pattern has been broken. Innovation and investing in new technologies and startups is the solution to job creation. Here are the top few technology companies and their employment data to gage their impact on the Economy:


With NIN.VC, we would like to truly democratize venture capital. Most people have a traditional portfolio (i.e. stocks, bonds, and money market), but NIN Ventures Technology (QP) Fund is an opportunity for "accredited" individuals / firms to invest in venture capital for a minimum amount of $100,000 using multiple investment options like self-directed IRAs, defined benefit plan, digital currencies (E.g. Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin), or a regular checking / savings account. An accredited investor is an individual with an income of more than $200,000 per year, or a joint income of $300,000, in each of the last two years and expect to reasonably maintain the same level of income OR have a net worth exceeding $1 million, either individually or jointly with his or her spouse, excluding the primary residence, qualifies as an accredited investor. For an Entity, any trust, with total assets in excess of $5 million qualifies.

Recently, the SEC approved Title III JOBS Act, Equity Crowdfunding for non-accredited investors, which allows any U.S. citizen, regardless of income, to make direct investments via a Crowdfunding portal. However, investment in a fund like ours is still limited to accredited investors. Given funds are a less riskier asset class compared to Crowdfunding in companies, perhaps it’s time to revisit their investor eligibility, alter the definition of an accredited investor, and make Crowdfunding available for everyone.

About Ms. Nin Desai: 
Ms. Desai heads NIN.VC, a Crowdfunded Technology Venture Capital firm. Her experience spans all facets of mergers and acquisitions, and corporate finance including public offerings and private placements from private equity to investment banking and investment management. Her corporate finance transactions include RACK, LOOP, LQDT, DBTK, AMIS, SLRY, VOCS, OWW and others. Her M&A deal sheet includes the sale of Financial Profiles to EISI, Buyseasons to Liberty Media, sale of Sircon to Vertafore, and others. She is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and has a technical diploma in E-commerce by IBM, holds Series 7 and 63 licenses from NASD. She holds an B.B.A and M.B.A in Finance / International Business from Loyola University of Chicago, and most recently attended leadership program in Private Equity and Venture Capital at Harvard Business School. 


Ms. Desai has been awarded 2015 CEO Of The Year – Illinois, for innovation and contribution to the Venture Capital & Private Equity industry by Aquisition International magazine and Private Equity Fund Manager to Watch for 2017 by Corporate America. NIN.VC has been the recipient of several awards including Wealth and Finance International Magazine's "Best Technology Venture Capital Fund - Illinois" for the Alternative Investment Awards, the "Best Crowdfunded Technology Venture Capital Fund - US" for the Fund Awards, and “Leaders in Private Equity – Illinois” by Corporate Vision magazine to name a few. 

Ms. Desai also chairs the Harvard Business School Private Equity and Venture Capital Group of Chicago and is a member of Women's Association of Venture and Equity (WAVE). She also sits on the Illinois Venture Capital Association (IVCA) Legislative/IVCA PAC Board and Events Committee. She enjoys golf and piloting light aircraft in her spare time. 



June 6, 2017

Funding Options for Entrepreneurs

6/06/2017

Venture Capital provides financing to early stage emerging companies with high growth potential in exchange for equity / an ownership stake. The market is flooded with various funding options, so how should an Entrepreneurs approach fund raising? Because Angels and VCs have been around for a while, they naturally have been favored, but since 2014 the Crowdfunding industry has grown from $16 billion to an estimated $34 billion in 2015 and is doubling or more every year, and according to the World Bank estimates, Crowdfunding will have a global market of $96 billion by 2025 - 1.8 times today’s global Venture Capital industry.

Crowdfunding is a practice of funding a project or venture by raising contributions from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. If you are an Entrepreneur looking for funding (seed / angle) to take your idea / product to market, Crowdfunding is a great option – reward or equity. It acts as a proof of concept for an Entrepreneur before they spend their valuable time or approach a VC. On the other extreme, if you are an experienced or serial Entrepreneur looking for capital, Crowdfunding again is a good alternative as long as they can avoid a messy capital table. However, taking a disruptive technology to market is not easy, on that journey Entrepreneurs need more then just financing, which NIN.VC or VCs in general are able to provide:

1. Financing
Money is green everywhere; Crowfunding, NIN.VC, or Venture Capital are all great source of funding, except NIN.VC or Venture Capitalists have skin in the game via their funds, which means they themselves are invested in the fund and indirectly in their investments, so they tend to take more interest in working along side the Entrepreneur. Unlike Crowdfunding portals who charge a minimal fee to Entrepreneurs to upload their business plans on their portals, and leave the due diligence / rest to Investors and Entrepreneurs discretion.

A good Company and Entrepreneur almost always get funded and receive follow up financing from their prior investors. VCs typically tend to do deals in syndicate, which could include various combinations of other VCs or Crowdfunding Portals.  However, a lot of that depends on the Company ownership, deal structure, the situation, and Entrepreneur’s preference.

2. Skin in the game support
If you take the top few billion dollar startups and average the age of those Entrepreneurs at the founding, its less than 30 years when they embarked on the journey of changing their industries. At that stage, an Entrepreneur needs lot more than just financing, for example, domain expertise, PR & marketing, recruiting, an exit strategy, and NIN.VC or VC’s in general are able to provide them all that with the help of our network of partners; which may not be the case with Crowdfunding platforms.

3. Exit Strategy
Once any investment is made, the Investor starts thinking about an exit. How and when will they see a return on their investment? Private companies generally attain an exit via an IPO or M&A transaction. NIN.VC or VCs in general have the knowledge and expertise to guide the Entrepreneur through that process, which is the kind of support Crowdfunding portals again might not be provide.

We are now living in exiting times and on the verge of a financial revolution, where not only the funding sources are changing, Entrepreneurs now have options with exits as well. With Loyal3, Click IPO, etc., Entrepreneurs can opt to go retail vs. solely relying on traditional Investment Banks or Institutions when it comes to an IPO.



NIN.VC is also a unique and first of its kind attempt to bring Venture Capital retail, it allows people the freedom to directly invest in a fund with an amount of their choice, which leads to a better financial reward system. NIN.VC provides diversification; we take board seat on all our investments and lend the necessary support that an Entrepreneur needs to build a business, like they would get at a traditional Venture Capital fund. And are also in a position to gauge and be a part of the valuation process when it comes to addressing dilution and follow up financing rounds. However, the most IMPORTANT part that investors cares about is the ability to direct invest and enjoy direct returns, which is not the case with a traditional Venture Capital fund.

NIN.VC has the best of both worlds. We’re a hybrid between a traditional Venture Capital fund and a Crowdfunding portal. Another feature that is unique to NIN.VC is transparency. Investors can attend our monthly calls, check our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, NIN Ventures TV, etc. for more recent activities at NIN.VC. Learn more about how NIN.VC is different / better from an Investor’s perspective in Alternative Crowdfundingwith NIN.VC and Future of Venture Capital: Crowdfunding.

About Crowdfunding and NIN.VC:
Crowdfunding is spread across several types of funding models including rewards, donation, equity, and debt / lending. The two most popular types of Crowdfunding methods are Reward and Equity. For rewards based Crowdfunding, Entrepreneurs pre-sell a product or service to launch a business, and some times even in return for gifts or thank you notes. For equity Crowdfunding, the backer receives share of a company, usually in exchange of the money pledged. For NIN Ventures (or NIN.VC), it would be limited partner interest in the NIN Ventures Technology (QP) Fund. To learn more about various Crowdfunding models, read Crowdfunding Matrix

NIN Ventures Technology (QP) Fund is currently available to "accredited" individuals / firms for a minimum amount of $100,000 using multiple investment options like self-directed IRAs, defined benefit plan, digital currencies (E.g. Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin), or a regular checking / savings account. NIN Ventures invests in series A & B rounds of 3D printing, the 4th industrial revolution, cloud computing, education software, and other disruptive technology companies.
* An accredited investor is an individual with an income of more than $200,000 per year, or a joint income of $300,000, in each of the last two years and expect to reasonably maintain the same level of income OR have a net worth exceeding $1 million, either individually or jointly with his or her spouse, excluding the primary residence. For an Entity, any trust, with total assets in excess of $5 million qualifies.

June 3, 2017

Challenges Entrepreneurs Face Taking Disruptive Technologies to Maket

6/03/2017

An Entrepreneur is the one who is willing to bear the risk of a new venture, if there is a significant chance for profit. Entrepreneur is a disruptor who markets the disruption. A disruptive technology is an innovation that changes an existing industry and also helps create a new market and value network, displacing an earlier technology or a way of doing business. On that journey an Entrepreneur faces numerous challenges:

1. Acceptance
Change is the only constant in life, yet many resist it. Every time an Entrepreneur embarks on the journey of taking a disruptive technology to market, s/he faces skeptics and negative energy from the industry, competition, and often times people in general. But courage, strength, and determination that are inheritant qualities of an Entrepreneur can help over come the adversity.

2. Legal & Regulation
Playing by the rules and industry compliance is extremely important while running any business, not just with the SEC in general or FDA when it comes to healthcare.  However, often time regulations turn out to be the blessing required for a disruption in an industry. E.g. JOBS Act and Crowdfunding for the Venture Capital industry. With NIN.VC, we now have the best of both worlds. We’re a hybrid between a traditional Venture Capital fund and a Crowdfunding portal.

3. Revenue Model
Ideas are dime a dozen, but how do you make money off of them should be an Entrepreneur’s number one priority, as those returns need to flow back into the business, which is what employees and investors ultimately want. Most businesses suffer because they do not have a strong revenue model.

4. Marketing
An Entrepreneur needs to create awareness when it comes to taking their disruptive technology or product to the masses. While word of mouth is more powerful than any medium out there, advertising and positive press plays an important role in sales. However, reading between the lines is the strategy everyone has adopted (or need to adopt) in this fake news environment.

5. Recruiting
You are what you eat. Similarly, a team is the backbone of any company. It is very important for a startup to find the right people who understand their mission, blend in with the company culture, and follow through on the founder’s vision. The right combination of people / team is the key to success for any business, because ultimately people build companies.

6. Competition & Risk Management
It is important for an entrepreneur to understand the market dynamics; the impact their product has on the industry and among other players or companies. The more disruptive the technology, the higher resistance an Entrepreneur will face from this group as they fight for their survival. The key is to channel the negative energy and use it as a fuel for motivation and indulge in a healthy competition to follow through on your vision.

7. Valuation
Startup valuation is more of an art than science and often times depends on the market momentum or what someone is willing to pay, keeping in mind the public comps and prior private company transactions. As long as the company has certain key ingredients like an amazing team, solid revenue model, good understanding of the competitive landscape, and an execution strategy to take its disruptive technology to market, it has the recipe for success.

8. Funding
The market is flooded with various startup funding options from Angels to VCs to Crowdfunding. So what approach should an Entrepreneur take? Because Angels and VCs have been the around for a while, they naturally have been the favored source when it comes to funding. However, since 2014 the Crowdfunding industry has grown from $16 billion to an estimated $34 billion in 2015 and is doubling or more every year, and according to the World Bank estimates, Crowdfunding will have a global market of $96 billion by 2025 - 1.8 times today’s global Venture Capital industry.

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising contributions from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. If you are an Entrepreneur looking for funding (seed / angle) to take your idea / product to market, Crowdfunding is a great option – reward or equity. It acts as a proof of concept for an Entrepreneur before they spend their valuable time or approach a VC. On the other extreme, if you are an experienced or serial Entrepreneur looking for capital, Crowdfunding again is a good alternative as long as they can avoid a messy capital table.

However, if you need someone to add value to your business, NIN.VC and Venture Capital is the way to go. If you take the top few billion dollar startups and average the age of those Entrepreneurs at the founding, its less than 30 years when they embarked on the journey of changing their industries. At that stage, an Entrepreneur needs lot more than just financing, for example, domain expertise, PR & marketing, recruiting, an exit strategy, and NIN.VC or VC’s in general are able to provide them all that with the help of our network of partners; which may not be the case with Crowdfunding platforms.

Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs share similar traits - both are required to take off against the wind, the end is unknown, and potential for disaster is evident, but Entrepreneurship requires brave and courageous bunch that are determined to change the way an existing industry functions. Are you a company or a CEO with a disruptive service or product? Visit us at nin.vc to submit a business plan.