SCP Guides

Raising capital for a startup in Nigeria: Venture capital funding v angel investment

When it comes to funding a new project, startups are presented with a myriad of options. The abundance of choices can be both exciting and overwhelming, as each funding avenue brings its unique set of advantages and disadvantages. In this guide, we delve into the diverse landscape of funding options available to startups, exploring the distinctive characteristics that make each option stand out. Whether you’re seeking angel investors, venture capital, crowdfunding, or other alternatives, understanding the nuances of each option is crucial for making informed decisions that align with your startup’s specific needs and goals.

What is a Venture capital funding?

Venture capital (VC) funding involves raising capital from specialized investment firms known as venture capital firms. VC firms are established with the purpose of investing in high-potential startups and early-stage companies with significant potential for returns. These firms raise capital from various sources, such as high-net-worth individuals, institutional investors, corporations, and government entities, to create a fund.

VC firms define specific investment criteria based on industry focus, stage of the company, investment size, and growth potential. They evaluate startups and early-stage companies based on factors like market opportunity, scalability, competitive advantage, team expertise, and revenue potential, as a result, they could be categorized as follow:

Venture capital can be categorized into different types based on various factors. Here are some common types of venture capital:

It’s worth noting that these categories are not mutually exclusive, and venture capital firms often invest across multiple stages or sectors, depending on their investment strategy and fund objectives.

What is an angel investment?

Angel investment refers to the process of individuals, known as angel investors, providing financial support to early-stage startups or entrepreneurs in exchange for equity or convertible note in the company. In simple terms, a convertible note is a loan that convertible to equity in the startup.

Angel Investors typically invest in the seed or early stages of a company’s development, when the business may not have generated significant revenue or established a track record.

Pros and cons of using venture capital

From a Founder’s perspective, VC funding offers more in terms of the worth of investment. Venture capital firms have considerably more to invest since their funds are typically pooled from various sources. Conversely, this may mean bigger stakes in the start up.

Here are some key benefits of using venture capital funding:

  1. Better financial resources – VC funding allows entrepreneurs to secure substantial funding, often beyond what traditional financing options can provide.
  2. Expertise and Guidance – Venture capitalists bring more than just capital to the table. They often have extensive experience, network and industry expertise, which they can share with the startup or entrepreneurs. Venture capitalists can provide strategic guidance, mentorship, and access to their networks, connecting startups with valuable resources, partners, and customers.
  3. Validation and Credibility: Securing venture capital funding can act as a strong validation of a startup’s business model, market potential, and growth prospects. The due diligence process conducted by venture capitalists can provide credibility and enhance the reputation of the startup. This can help attract other investors, strategic partners, customers, and talented employees who may be more inclined to collaborate or work with a venture-backed company.
  4. Flexibility in Exit Strategies: Venture capitalists typically have a vested interest in the success of the companies they invest in, and they actively work towards creating value and generating returns. They are well-versed in various exit strategies, such as IPOs, acquisitions, or secondary market sales. This flexibility in exit options provides entrepreneurs with potential liquidity and an opportunity to realize substantial gains when the time is right.

However, there are some downsides to venture capital funding from a founder’s point of view:

  1. Loss of Control: Venture capitalists typically require a significant ownership stake in the company in exchange for their investment. As a result, founders may experience a loss of control over key decision-making processes. This loss of control can limit the autonomy and independence of the entrepreneur.
  2. Dilution of Ownership: Venture capital funding involves issuing equity to investors, which dilutes the ownership stake of existing shareholders, including founders and early employees. As subsequent funding rounds occur, the ownership percentage of the initial stakeholders may decrease.
  3. Pressure for Rapid Growth and Exit: Venture capitalists typically have a finite investment horizon and a desire for high returns. This often leads to pressure for rapid growth and a shorter time frame for achieving profitability or a liquidity event. The focus on short-term gains may conflict with the long-term vision or sustainability of the startup.
  4. Limited Investment Focus: Venture capital firms often specialize in specific sectors, industries, or stages of the company’s lifecycle. This specialization can limit the availability of funding for startups operating in niche or non-mainstream sectors.
  5. Time-consuming and Competitive Process: Securing venture capital funding is a time-consuming and highly competitive process. Entrepreneurs often need to dedicate significant time and resources to pitch their business, negotiate terms, and go through the due diligence process. During the process, Expect investors to deep dive into the company’s business model, financials, market, products, management, and operating history, among other things.

Pros and cons of angel investment

Angel investments offer several advantages for both the startup and the angel investor. Here are some of the pros of angel investment:

  1. Early-stage funding: Angel investors are willing to provide funding at the early stages of a startup when traditional funding sources like banks or venture capital firms may be hesitant to invest.
  2. Flexible investment terms: Angel investments are often more flexible compared to traditional funding sources. Angel investors can negotiate investment terms based on their preferences and risk tolerance. They can tailor the terms to align with the unique needs of the startup, including the amount of funding, equity ownership, and repayment structures.
  3. Long-term partnership: Angel investors are often committed to the long-term success of the startup they invest in. Unlike some institutional investors who may have shorter investment horizons, angel investors are more likely to provide ongoing support and guidance throughout the growth journey of the startup. This long-term partnership can be valuable for startups looking for sustained support and expertise.
  4. Potential for future funding: Angel investors not only provide capital in the early stages but can also act as a bridge to additional funding sources. Their initial investment can help the startup achieve milestones, demonstrate traction, and attract interest from venture capital firms or other institutional investors for subsequent rounds of funding.
  5. Less administrative burden: Angel investment comes with lesser documentation and administrative formalities. They often Angel investors often have less stringent reporting requirements compared to institutional investors.
  6. Simplified Due Diligence: Angel investors often have a more streamlined due diligence process compared to institutional investors. While they still conduct assessments of the startup’s business model, market potential, and team, the evaluation process may be less formal and bureaucratic, resulting in fewer documentation requirements.

It’s important to note that while angel investment offers many benefits, it also has its drawbacks and risks. Some of the drawbacks are:

  1. Limited capital availability: Angel investors typically invest smaller amounts compared to venture capital firms or institutional investors. While this early-stage funding can be critical, it may not be sufficient to support significant growth or the long-term needs of the startup.
  2. Risk of investor interference: Some angel investors may want to play an active role in the startup, which can lead to conflicts if their ideas or strategies differ from those of the entrepreneur.
  3. Risk of failure: Startups face a high risk of failure, and angel investments are no exception. Many startups fail to achieve the anticipated growth or profitability, resulting in a complete loss of investment for angel investors.
  4. Lack of expertise or value-add: While some angel investors bring valuable expertise and industry connections to the table, not all angels possess the same level of knowledge or hands-on experience. Some investors may not be actively involved or may not provide the expected value-add beyond capital.
  5. Limited exit options: Angel investments are illiquid by nature, meaning they are not easily converted into cash. Unlike publicly traded stocks, there is no secondary market for angel investments, and investors often have to wait for an exit event, such as an acquisition or initial public offering (IPO), to realize a return on their investment.

Angel investment remains the most flexible option for startups looking exert much control over the business.

The choice between venture capital funding and angel investment depends on various factors that are specific to the business’s needs and circumstances. Some of the key factors to consider include:

  1. Funding Requirements: Assess how much funding your business requires. If you’re seeking a larger investment, venture capital funding may be more appropriate, as angel investors typically provide smaller amounts of capital.
  2. Scalability: Consider whether your business has demonstrated the potential for significant growth and scalability. Venture capital firms are more inclined to invest in businesses with proven scalability, while angel investors may be more open to supporting early-stage ventures with high-growth potential.
  3. Control and Decision-Making: Evaluate your willingness to give up control over key business decisions. Angel investors often have a more hands-on approach and may require some level of influence or involvement in the company. In contrast, venture capital investors may expect more significant control and governance rights as part of their investment.

Understanding these factors will help guide your decision-making process and determine which funding option aligns best with your funding needs, growth potential, and desired level of control.


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