Perhaps one of the most important factors to consider when meeting investors is the startup valuation. We underscore two logical and rational approaches to enhance a clear understanding of the valuation process and to ensure you get the best-in-class result.

Valuation is simply the value of a company. Entrepreneurs need to put a value on their startups when raising money, and investors need to put a value on their investments to generate liquidity.

In theory, it may seem simple, but in practice the process of the startup valuation is proven to be rather challenging.

Often there is a sort of misunderstanding and a strong trigger to stir up emotions for both parties. Investors may get the feeling that a startup valuation is «too expensive», while entrepreneurs may think they are «too diluted».

We’d better skip this part for the time being...and rather get a deep dive into it at our investor readiness workshop on April 27th.

Workshop on "How does an investor think?" at Tech Startup Day 2017

What we would like to do now, is to focus on rational approaches and tools to estimate the startup valuation and therefore, help both investors and entrepreneurs to sort out this tough discussion.

How much is your startup worth?

One of the easiest and common ways to valuate a startup is to compare transactions by using «multiples». Multiples is a technique used to determine the startup valuation regarding the current data (revenue, growth, EBITDA, etc.). As most of the startups don’t make any profits for years, the best way to calculate the valuation - is to base it on revenue and growth.

The next step is to find the right tools. Here we go...

SAAS VALUATION TOOL

This tool is developed by Startups.be and it is based on the transactions of multiple Belgian, French and American SAAS companies. Thus, the tool is applicable only for SAAS businesses (subscription/recurring revenue model).

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Step 1: Download SAAS VALUATION TOOL via:

Step 2: Insert your MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) in the cell E9. 

Output 1: Calculate the amount you should raise.

Cells from E10 to E13 are going to give you an assessment of the amount you should reasonably raise.

Output 2: Determine your company’s valuation. 

Cells from E17 to E20 give you an approximation of the valuation of the company.

Output 3: Compare with other MRR.

Cell F9 gives you an indication in comparison with other MRR you will target in short term.

VALUATION BY SECTOR AND/OR BUSINESS MODEL

The second tool was published a few months ago by Avolta Partners, a French Fundraiser, and is based on the transactions that took place in France in 2015.

As these data are from a year+ ago and from a neighbour country, we can reasonably consider that the multiples should be approximately the same. Once again, our goal is not to present a scientific approach, but to help investors and founders to understand and estimate the startup valuation.

This tool will give you multiple valuations regarding the sector you are in and your business model. 

  • You can use this valuation in the following sectors: Fintech / Adtech / Media / IOT / eCommerce / Business Services / Consumer.
  • This tool is applicable to the following business models: Subscription / Commission / Performance / Hardware / Audience / Research.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Step 1: Download the tool via:

Step 2: Insert your data.

Output: The file gives you different valuations. The goal is not to come up with an A valuation, but to give you multiple tracks that you could further discuss with potential investors.

The lowest valuation could be for startups with a low growth rate, less "moats" or without a dream team. On the opposite side, the "3rd quartile" could be considered for startups that have important "moats" (product, team and/or execution).

For instance, the FinTech & IOT sectors have higher revenue multiple rate, because of the "moats", and  the margin that can come out of such business models.

Afterward and some key disclosures:

  • These valuations are based on transactions.
  • In the SAAS model, we don't give a "post" or "pre"-money valuation, because it depends a lot on the "hotness" of the deal and on the shareholder agreement.
  • The presented valuation tools are only a "quick" guide to help you have a more "rational" discussion with investors. 
  • These valuations are only revenue based.
  • A value obtained in the table doesn't guarantee that you will raise funds (see remark 3). 
  • A value obtained in the table doesn't guarantee the final valuation or an amount you will raise. 
  • To raise a Series A round, you should ideally have a monthly growth of 15-25%; for a Series B 10-20%. 
  • These tools are applicable for startups that are already getting revenue, and for more "mature" rounds of funding (500+k€). 
  • Lower "seed rounds" (<300k€) are more based on the feeling, the net cash burn and you can refer to something as "rational". 

Got questions? Contact Thibaut Claes, innovation manager at Startups.be

Figuring out how to start with fundraising? Check out the upcoming investor readiness workshops in Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia and get your spot!