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How To Get 100K From
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New Front

Feasibility



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*See notes below
*See notes below
*See notes below

Total funds in 11 seed and venture capital
funds, with EÌ involvement
Client companies engaged in significant R&D
projects (of above · 100k per annum)
EÌ÷s equity and venture capital
investment in Ìrish Enterprise
Our investment in science and tech
infrastructure in the 3rd level/research
and enterprise sectors
Ìnvestment in strengthening the
leadership capability of Ìrish enterprise
New tech companies
started each month

Nopartofthispublicationmaybereproduced,storedinaretrievalsystem,ortransmittedinanyformorbyanymeans,electronic,mechanical,photocopying,recording,scanning,orotherwise,withouttheprior
writtenpermissionoftheauthor.Requeststotheauthorforpermissionshouldbeaddressedtopeter@bullethq.com.
LimitofLiability/DisclaimerofWarranty:Whiletheauthorhasusedhisbesteffortsinpreparingthisbook,hemakesnorepresentationsorwarrantieswithrespecttotheaccuracyorcompletenessofthecontentsof
thisbookTheauthorshallnotbeliableforanylossofprofitoranyothercommercialdamages,includingbutnotlimitedtospecial,incidental,consequential,orotherdamages.
Forgeneralinformation,pleasevisitourwebsiteathttp://www.bullethq.com
1.Thisgraphicshowswhenprogrammedeadlinesfall,andhowlongwholeprocessshouldtake.Acolouredmonthmeansthatthefinalapplicationdeadlinewillfallatsome
timeduringthismonth.

2.Thismeansthatideallyyoushouldhaveyourdocumentsreadybeforethe1stofeachindicatedmonth.ChecktherelevantEÌ/CountyBoardsitesclosertothedatefor
confirmeddates.

3.Deadlinedatesareneversetuntilafewmonthsbeforehand,sothegraphicisbasedonassumptionsmadefromcorrespondencewiththegovernmentbodiesandthe
experiencesofourselvesandothersinthestartupcommunity.Thedateswill,therefore,besubjecttochange,butthisgraphicgivesagoodideaoftheoptimumtimestogo
forfundingaswellashowlongittakes.

4.Wekeepacloseeyeondeadlineupdatesandanyotherinfofromthegovernmentbodies,whichwewilleditintothedocumentastheybecomeavailable.Forthesakeof
brevitywehadtoleaveoutalotofextrainfoonthegrantprocessanddeadlinesandjustincludethemajorfindings.We÷dbemorethanhappytoprovideextrawisdomon
yourspecificcase,soifanyonelookingfortailoredadviceshouldcontactpeter@bullethq.comandwe÷llsetyoustraight.
08#
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Foreword #

Startups are adventures you undertake without a map. As a
founder, it's your job to navigate your company through a
treacherous and shifting landscape. Who are your customers,
where can you find them, what features do they want, how much
will they pay and where will you find the talented staff you need?
Being a founder means picking a quick but careful path through
these endless unknowns, hoping to reach a profitable destination
before you run out of cash. As a founder, you know this already.
It's the mission you signed on for. What you find frustrating is
getting mired in the funding maze before you even get started.

We live in exponential times, where it's possible for a lone
programmer to create a useful app in days and get it into the
hands of millions of people before a venture capitalist has time to
return an email. The capital required to start a business has
dropped, and in the case of digital businesses, has plummeted.
Nonetheless, getting your hands on that initial capital can be a
major hurdle. We're lucky in Ireland to have so much startup
funding available, relative to our population. However, much of it
is ultimately public money, and accessing it involves dealing with
some inevitable bureaucracy, essential for public accountability if
nothing else. Unfortunately, many young startups end up lost in
this grant funding landscape, instead of the market landscape
where they belong. There are too many companies surviving from
grant-to-grant, focusing their energy on unlocking the next drip of
public funding. Although they feel like similar challenges, working
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to please a grant administrator instead of your customers is in
fact a path to failure.

This guide, and perhaps its future editions, is a map through
the grant funding landscape, so that you can get on with the
business of bringing your products to market. You can use it to
get as much capital as possible, or to weigh the benefit of a grant
against the opportunity cost of pursuing it. Play the generous
grants system to take your business to the next level, whether
that be seed funding, venture funding or profitability. Grants are
there to be used by entrepreneurs, who will be truly responsible
for bringing wealth and employment back to Ireland. - Sean
Blanchfield, CEO of Scale Front http://scalefront.com/


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Introduction


When myself and John started Bullet, we wanted to share
our experiences from the outset, warts and all. We launched
Bullet with a total spend of about €1,400 and about a year and a
half’s hard work, really hard work. Some of the new skills we
learnt in that year were: regulatory tax, UI & UX, design, PR &
marketing. We didn’t improve these skills we’d to learn them
form scratch.

From the outset we wanted to bootstrap the business. It
made us focus a lot on the customer, and we’d also learned how
constraints make for a smarter startup. In that time we’ve
managed to automate accounts, something people have tried to
do since the abacus. We created an application that thumps
Sage’s €50 million ‘Sage One’, and easily out-dances Xero’s
€100 million bookkeeping tool.

The key constraint we encountered in the early days was
time. Even in leanest bootstrapped companies you need money
to keep the lights on and the credit card companies at bay and
ideally that money has to come from a source that won’t distract
you too much. Without the money from the government would
we be here? Of course, we’re determined to take on one of the
biggest industry incumbents in Europe. Could it have been more
stressful? Certainly. That being said, we think the whole funding
process could be executed in a simpler way, and the purpose of
this e-book is to fix it’s biggest problem: fragmentation.
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If you think filling in some forms to get money from the
Government is painful, wait till you’re raising money. Wait till
you’re trying to convince customers to hand over their hard-
earned cash. Wait till you find out that amazing product you built
doesn’t fit the market you’re selling it to. That’s hard. As Dylan
Collins says: ‘Man up’.

We’ve spent about a month putting this little book together
with the help of many, so we’d like to thank all those involved.
There is a great community of people out there happy to help
with any kind of question, and it’s a community all of us here at
Bullet are proud to be part of. We hope this document takes
some of the stress out of navigating the grants scene, and helps
you to keep focus on your customer. Always question, always
learn, and don’t die while there's music inside.


The landscape, and assumptions we’ve made

This e-book is tech focused. The calendar infographic is
based on data we have obtained from direct correspondence
with the Dublin City Enterprise Board, Enterprise Ireland and the
New Frontiers programme, as well as our own (and the
community’s) experiences. While some of these bodies haven’t
set exact dates for future application deadlines, we worked from
past deadline dates and ballpark predictions from the bodies
themselves. This means that we can be 95% all dates are correct,
but it’s impossible to be sure when exactly each deadline will be
set.
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We also worked under the assumption that displaying the
quickest possible route through the grant landscape would be
more useful to more readers. This means that the infographic
shows how fast you could max out grants if you wished to fund
your business asap. That is obviously not to say that all grants
must be spent immediately, but for instruction purposes it is
clearer to present the information in this way.

Due to length constraints we haven’t been able to include
details for all the County Boards, so some info will only apply to
startups in Dublin. We do have all this info available, so anyone
based outside Dublin can contact us and we’ll set you straight
(peter@bullethq.com).

When picking dates we anchored everything around the
New Frontiers Programmes, they offer by far the best cash flow
for bootstrapping (sadly, less than 50% of what it use to be).
We’ve kept away from R&D, and BES (or whatever it’s called
now) schemes as they’re complex, and you’d be better off
working with a consultant on these. We’ll tackle them at a later
date.

We’re looking at putting together community meetups to
explain some of the things we can’t in this doc, if you think that
would be of interest let us know (peter@bullethq.com).



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About Bullet

Bullet is an online company that focuses on automating
tasks to insure startups focused on growth can focus on exactly
that: growth. Bullet was founded in 2010 by John Farrelly
(@johnnyleitrim) and Peter Connor (@peterconnor). BulletHQ
comprises two products; Bullet Online Accounting and Payroll
https://www.bullethq.com/index.page (a fully automated
accounting and payroll system for growth focused startups) and
Bullet Formations https://formations.bullethq.com (a free online
product that allows companies get their formations documents
complete in 3 minutes). Bullet has grown to a team of 6, all active
in helping founders to be smarter at starting up.



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Funding Checklist

Here are some of the things you need in place to before you
can apply for some/all of the grants. Set aside about a month or
month and a half to look after the 4 points below (We’re in the
top 5 easiest countries to set up a company - so stop cribbing).

Do in this order

1) Registered as a limited company. You can get your free
company formation documents here
https://formations.bullethq.com/ .
2) Be registered for all taxes - Here’s simple guide to that
http://goo.gl/3unyd . Yep, I said simple.
3) Have tax clearance certs for all founders getting a grant. See
link point 2.
4) Have a corporate bank account setup. Give this 1-7 weeks.

You’re getting money for free, don’t ever forget that. If you think
dealing with agencies is hard, wait till you have to deal with VC’s
(who are gambling their careers on you). If you hit a wall with
someone or have a personality clash, just look for someone else
in the organisation.

They don’t like you pivoting mid-programme, so if your business
pivots don’t tell them unless you’ve got traction in that new pivot.
Crazy I know; the beginning of your journey into business should
be 100% focused on product market fit. I’ve yet to meet anyone
that has hit that nail on the first go. If you don’t get your fit right,
no amount of funding or marketing is going to help you. So stick
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to the original business plan that they like, and don’t budge. As
you get higher up the ranks this will change. Think of it as a good
thing, you can keep the same business plan and pitch.

Focus on job creation, you’ll get asked a lot about this.
Remember this is so the politicians can defend the spend, so it’s
just part of the agencies rep’s job. Sure it’s a ridiculous question
to ask a startup, so answer it with great plans for hiring 20 people
from the Gaeltacht (joke).

Don’t piss people off. A lot of the grants are connected to each
other. If you have a go or annoy someone, you’re closing the
door on everything else. So bitch at your co-founder, not at your
co-funder. 95% of our experiences have been good ones. As
always, if you keep hitting a wall then the problem is you.

You’re not meant to be working while you're claiming grant
money, but seeing as we don’t live in Poundland and your
customers don’t work to EI’s timeframe you might have to do a
bit of consulting. Keep it to yourself.

‘I can’t believe they won’t let me spend 20k on marketing’. Good,
you're a muppet if you think that’s a good idea. If you can’t learn
to build traffic then you’re never going to succeed. And if you
think some marketeer can, then remortgage your house and pay
for it yourself. Marketing is hard to learn and you’ll fail a lot, but it
can be learned. We’ll be writing a lot about early stage growth
and demystifying some of the nonsense out there on the web
(like these posts on ‘How Lockitron made millions with their own
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crowdfunding platform’, http://goo.gl/8nho6 or ‘DropBox: the
viral lie sold to every startup’ http://goo.gl/t8i5S.

We’ve left the contacts details generic, in case people leave or
move. In the workshops we’ll drill into this a bit more.


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List of Funding Activities

Dublin Business Innovation Centre
Link: http://ow.ly/iURV1
Funding source: Enterprise boards assisted by Enterprise
Ireland
Grant type: Getting your business plan “EI ready”

Bullet’s Tip: ‘The feedback is that you shouldn’t hold your
breath when dealing with DBIC. Bullet hasn’t used them so we
can’t speak personally. EI pay to have your business plan vetted
by DBIC, so if you're looking to go the whole nine yards with EI
the sooner you can get the ‘EI Trust Stamp’, the better. So use
them, but don’t wait.

Feasibility Study/ Innovation Grant
Link: http://ow.ly/iURZs, http://ow.ly/kMYCh or your local council
Funding source: Enterprise boards and Enterprise Ireland
Total amount receivable: 50% of costs excluding VAT capped
at either €7,500 with enterprise boards or €15,000 with
Enterprise Ireland
Timeline & Key dates: All costs must be claimed within 4
months of approval which is 1 month after application for
decision. The board meet once a month (9 times a year). Claims
must be made within 4 months of board approval date

Bullet’s Tip: ‘We hear great things about the feasibility
grant, it’s approved fast and doesn't have a lot of the crazy
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restraints some of the other grants have. There is zero payback,
so great to prove a concept. Due to the way EI run their funding
in a concurrent manner, a lot of people jump over Feasibility
Study and are then too far gone to claim it.’

Refundable Priming Grant
Link: http://ow.ly/iUS3c or your local council
Funding source: Enterprise board
Total amount receivable: 50% of costs excluding VAT average
amount €15,000
Employment Grants: 7k per employee (you don’t have to pay
back)
Timeline & Key dates: Claims must be made within 6 months
of Board approval date 1 month after application for decision.
Board meet once a month (9 times a year). It’s for businesses
less than 18 months old. Costs covered are capital and/or salary
costs. Where a priming grant includes salary costs the first
installment is made within 2 months of board approval date and
the second installment along with all other approved expenses is
paid 6 months later from the date of the cheque from the first
installment. There must be a break of a minimum of 18 months
between the drawdown of a Priming Grant/ Loan and an
application for a Business Development Grant/ Loan

Bullet’s Tip: ‘This grant ain't too easy to get and has a lot
of rules, but the 7k per employee is good (although you get half
the 7k up front and the rest at the end of 6mts which is crazy,
employees have to be full time). You’ll need to register yourselves
as employees with tax clearance certs of the company so don’t
forget to look at our checklist above. There are lots of rules in this
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grant that don’t make a lot of sense. For example, as a tech
startup you really just need runway for yourselves, so it’s
probably more suited to traditional businesses (‘shifting stuff in
boxes’), but the employment grant will give you runway.

Innovation voucher
Funding Source: Enterprise Ireland
Link: http://ow.ly/iUS6M
Total amount receivable: €5,000
Timeline & Key dates: applications in March and September
2013 (maybe again). Decision process usually 4-5 weeks. If you
don’t get this you can go for 50-50 co-funded Fast Track
applications which may be submitted anytime. Decision process:
10 days.

Bullet’s Tip: ‘We love these guys, a quick two pages
application and you get 5k to spend with a 3rd level institution.

We’ve had (and heard of) some terrible experiences with lazy
colleges. The best two in our experience are DCU
(http://www.dcu.ie/) and Dun Laoghaire (http://www.iadt.ie/en/).
You can get about 3 innovation vouchers, we used all of ours. I
can’t speak highly enough of the DCU crew, you should also
check out their seminars. Top class. http://techspectations.org/.’

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New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development
Programme
Funding source: Enterprise Ireland
Link: http://ow.ly/iUSac
Total amount receivable: succession to phase 2 includes
€15,000 grant
Timeline & Key dates: 2 programmes run per annum start
dates 6 months between (usually March, September). Application
decided on within 2/3 weeks of the closing date for applications.
Phase 1: Group of 25 for 2 months, 14 get through to Phase 2
which runs for 6 months (you get your money here). Phase 3: 10
participants from Phase 2 get picked for the last 3 month phase.

Bullet’s Tip: ‘This is by far the best way to get money. You
do a 2 month intro course and then 10 get picked to go to phase
2. From there you get 15k over 6 months (last phase you don’t
get money). It’s a huge lifeline for a startup. You attend school
(you’ll know what I mean) once a week and you’ll get some
training around everything from sales to accounts.

Seeing as market fit is the most important thing for a startup,
it’s a shame they just don’t focus on that. Have the sales trainer
and marketer work with you for the 6 months till you get it nailed.
Could you imagine how much value it would give you as a
founder if you spent a day a week with someone coaching your
selling technique on live sales calls. If would force you to find out
about product fit faster, build up your confidence and get you
customers.

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Refundable Business Development/ Expansion
Grant
Link: http://ow.ly/iUScI or your local council
Funding Source: Enterprise board
Total amount receivable: 50% of costs excluding VAT average
amount €20,000
Timeline & Key dates: Claims must be made within 6 months
of Board approval date. 1 month after application for decision.
Board meet once a month (9 times a year). For businesses older
than 18 months.

Bullet’s Tip: ‘We put out the word to get some feedback
on this grant, but didn’t hear anything, so don’t have much to
add. Any tips shoot them to peter@bullethq.com’.

Competitive Start Fund
Funding Source: Enterprise Ireland
Link: http://ow.ly/iUSfo
Total amount receivable: €50,000 for a 10% ordinary equity
stake
Timeline & Key dates: applications will open each quarter and
close one month later

Bullet’s Tip: ‘This is a really popular fund to go for, and the
feedback is that you need to apply about 3-4 times (with pitch) to
get a spot. That’s not always the case, but it’s what we’re
hearing. The form (online) which you have to fill out is a pain in
the ass. It times out and messes up all your formatting. Also, the
scoring and feedback isn’t very consistent. So say you get
rejected on attempt one, the feedback (which is a great idea) will
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be ‘...Change X to Y’. So you pitch again and get rejected, the
feedback will be ‘...Change Y to X’. I know it’s silly, but it’s a great
deal 50k for 10% of ordinary shares with no crazy rules, and all
for relatively little work. *I know technically this isn’t free money,
as you’re giving away equity.

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What the experts say

In order to make the smartest funding decisions it’s always
good to get some impartial expert opinion on board. We asked
some of the wisest and most battle-hardened figures on the Irish
startup scene for their input. We came up with four questions we
think would be most useful to startups - what we wish we had
known. We based our questions around how much money is
needed and how best to deal with equity holders, Angels and
government bodies.


Michael Birch
@mickbirch
Bio: Computer programmer
and entrepreneur. Co-founder
of Bebo and Birthday Alarm.



Cash strapped startups often use equity as a means to get
other people on board. This can lead to terrible problems
when you realise the person is the wrong fit. What would
be your advice to get around this?
‘Getting the right investors is critical. Do everything you can
to get to know investors before agreeing to investment, ideally
they should add value in addition to the capital, but at the very
least they should not prove difficult. Ask about other investments
they've made and reach out to the CEO's / founders of those
companies yourself to understand what role
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they played post investment. If you can arrange to speak with
them on the phone it's surprising how honest they'll be.’

With up to €100,000 available from enterprise boards,
should you go with Angels after obtaining this funding or
wait until you need more money?
‘It's best to obtain money when you don't need money.
Waiting until you're out of money again is not a strong position to
be in, unless you've really proven the product in the meantime.
Product development always takes longer and requires more
money than you expect.’





Sean BlanchField
@seanblanchfield
Bi o: Technology founder,
investor, mentor and startup
community organiser. Co-
founder of DemonWare, Front
Square and Scale Front.



With up to €100,000 available from enterprise boards,
should you go with Angels after obtaining this funding or
wait until you need more money?
‘Yes, for most digitally-based ideas €100K is loads to get it
to the next level (seed funding in the 500K-1M range). An ideal
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team is 2 people, which isn't much to cover. There are generally
minimal fixed costs. We do this a lot at Scale Front, and probably
find that it takes about €30-€50K (although we are very efficient
about it).’


Cash strapped startups often use equity as a means to get
other people on board. This can lead to terrible problems
when you realise the person is the wrong fit. What would
be your advice to get around this?
‘A good shareholders agreement/articles of association will
mean that non-voting share options can be given out, with a
vesting schedule (including a cliff). Alternatively, a special class of
non-voting shares with a reverse vesting schedule can achieve
the same economic effect. This means that if someone doesn't
work out, the board can vote to eject them, and they leave with
only what they've earned in so far. For advisors, the equity
amounts should be minimal (1-2%), and this should really be for
key folk from the target industry, who can help drive sales or
channel partnerships. Expectations of what help they should
provide should be made clear from the outset, plus it should be
clearly communicated that failure to significantly help may result
in their shares being reclaimed to be put to better use elsewhere.
Other kinds of advisors will often help for free, out of philanthropy,
or for a chance to invest later on.

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Mike Butcher
@mikebutcher
Bio: European Editor for
TechCrunch. Co-founder and
shareholder of TechHub.



With up to €100,000 available from enterprise boards,
should you go with Angels after obtaining this funding or
wait until you need more money?
‘Startups in Europe are typically underfunded compared to
their ambitions. US Startups are typically per-funded. So raise as
much as you can within reason, while remembering that too
much money can also kill a company- scarcity can be the mother
of invention. But give away as little of the company as possible at
the early stages.’

You can raise about 100k from the Irish government
through various schemes. Do you think 100k for the
average tech startup is enough to prove the product
concept, or should you look to raise more?
‘This amount should be enough to build a "minimal viable
product" - depending on what it is of course. That could be
enough to prove the concept and build interest amongst
investors for follow on funding, but is rarely enough to last
beyond that stage.’

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Eoghan McCabe
@eoghanmccabe
Bi o: First and foremost, an
aspiring inventor. CEO at
@intercom.



Cash strapped startups often use equity as a means to get
other people on board. This can lead to terrible problems
when you realise the person is the wrong fit. What would
be your advice to get around this?
‘All smart startups share ownership with staff, not just cash-
strapped ones. And this is very much a solved problem: standard
vesting provisions will make clear what happens when someone
needs to leave the company. The lesson here is actually: 1.
involve a lawyer from the very start, 2. work with lawyers who
work with startups.’


A lot of startups get frustrated with government bodies, do
you think that’s a fair sentiment or just startup impatience?
As a rule of thumb, if you expect anything of a government,
you will experience a feeling of intense frustration. That's why
capitalism was invented. So startups, of all people, expecting
anything of a government, are doing it wrong. Very wrong. In fact,
opposing the establishment is generally a great strategy—think
Uber and Airbnb.

If we're talking about the tax and regulatory institutions that
businesses need to work with, Ireland should know that they
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have it easy—city, state, and federal taxes and regulations in the
United States are a minefield. I miss the Revenue and the CRO.

If we're talking about Enterprise Ireland and other
governmental business development institutions, I would say that
free money in and of itself is great, and I'll take it any day of the
week, but it's approaching the problem in entirely the wrong way
and may even be counter-productive. If it was my call, I would
take the entire Enterprise Ireland budget and invest it in schools
and colleges to help them teach computer science to more
people and to do it better. This way, we'd have an environment
where technology could get made, which is the genesis of a
startup, rather than the other way around, where people can get
funded to make startups with no technology, and then get
frustrated at the government for their failure.


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Bill Liao
@liaonet
Bi o: Entrepreneur, mentor,
investor. Co-founder of XING
and CoderDojo, CEO of Finaxis
AG, Partner in SOS ventures


With up to €100,000 available from enterprise boards,
should you go with Angels after obtaining this funding or
wait until you need more money?
Simply put, if you are spending more than 100k on your
tech startup you are probably doing it wrong. I recommend 50k
to start and try to get cash flow and traction as soon as possible.
If you run into an actual constraint that requires more cash then
try to find the money you need from the fewest sources you can.
More investors is not better.

Gone are the days when it really mattered that you had a big
name angel on your board. People only really care about traction
and real traction is expressed in cash from happy customers and
so real traction is accretive investment is always dilutive.

Also, many Angels and other bodies do not follow on their
investments if you need to raise growth capital at a later stage
and so they stop delivering value after one investment This
means that subsequent investors can be put off because the
original investors are not stepping up.

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When you raise capital spend as little as you can to get as much
traction as you can and do not fret about the valuation of the
company so much as stability of your investor base and their
ability to stay with you as you make mistakes. Lots of smaller
investors do not necessarily make for more stability.’

Cash strapped startups often use equity as a means to get
other people on board. This can lead to terrible problems
when you realise the person is the wrong fit. What would
be your advice to get around this?
People should work for a startup first and foremost because
they love the idea and the difference it makes in the world. It is an
amazing life experience to be part of something that dents the
universe and grows success on success and it is the one place
you can really learn how to become a talented entrepreneur.

Startups are also a dangerous game with huge risks and so are
not suitable for people who need huge rewards or have large
mortgages. If you are joining a startup to get rich then 95 times
out of 100 you are delusional. People who sell others on the
potential upside of the equity are selling snake oil without realizing
it, and those who join for dreams of fortune are there for the
wrong reasons.

Startups are hugely rewarding and super stressful and no one
really knows who generated the most value at the end, so as long
as you have enough cash to keep the lights on and to keep
everyone from eating cat food that is all the remuneration a cash
strapped staff member in a startup should reasonably expect.

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Equity based rewards have one purpose and one purpose only
and that is to reward loyalty. I repeat, to reward loyalty. Nothing
more, nothing less. The more loyal a person working for you is
the more equity they deserve over time. Longer terms of service,
greater productivity, outstanding work output are all examples of
loyalty.

Now, any equity grant needs to have features that claw it back if
the person is disloyal. Novel forms of disloyalty are: not working
effectively, not putting in the effort and not getting along with the
team. Leaving the company early is also not loyalty.

There need to be agreed provisions in any equity agreement that
result in vesting over time and clawbacks for bad leaver scenarios.
You may also wish to consider non- voting stock with explicit
exclusions of minority shareholder protections that convert if the
company gets acquired to ordinary shares.

Whatever the arrangement is make sure that you do not get
stuck in a "bad marriage" because it’s probably illegal to kiss and
makeup.


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Harry Largey
Bi o: Startup mentor. Co-
founder of CloudMover.



Cash-strapped startups often use equity as a means to get
other people on board. This can lead to terrible problems
when you realise the person is the wrong fit. What would
be your advice to get around this?
‘Firstly, no business will get off the ground without the right
people on board. Any investor will be keenly interested in the core
team and their ability to come up with the right business offering
and execute against it so it’s important that the core team has
the ability to deliver on this. Given the importance of having the
right people on board, it is vital that the role you want to be filled
is thoroughly defined, and that time is spent making sure that
there is the right cultural and business fit within the team. As a
good rule of thumb, if you have any doubts, don’t make the hire.
Using equity for an early hire or a co-founder may be the only
way to get them on board if there is no cash available. If this is to
happen, make sure the equity agreement covers all eventualities
e.g. what will happen if there needs to be a subsequent parting
of the ways. It is natural to avoid talking about nitty gritty
situations because everyone is optimistic at the start, but the time
spent writing the right equity agreement to cover all eventualities
will be priceless further down the line if things don’t work out.’

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With up to €100,000 available from enterprise boards,
should you go with Angels after obtaining this funding or
wait until you need more money?
‘Customers are much more valuable than investment. After
spending €100,000 wisely, a business should be sure about its
opportunity to engage a specific market sector with a specific
solution. Too often, the “investment culture” creeps in and
distracts a business from proving out its core reason to exist.
More money should only be taken when its needed to avoid
wasting it, or taking on an unnecessary level of founder dilution.
Focusing on early customer traction will ensure money is spent
wisely and will convince canny investors that this culture will
ensure that their investment money is also well spent. That being
said, a business will need cash to grow. Investors should be
picked as wisely as co-founders or early team members, as they
will be critical to the businesses success.’

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Dylan Collins
@MrDylanCollins
Bi o: Irish Government’s
Startup Ambassador. Founder
of DemonWare, Jolt Online
Chairman of Fight My Monster



With up to €100,000 available from enterprise boards,
should you go with Angels investors after obtaining this
funding or wait until you need more money?
Depends on what else you need. Some startups need a
type of expertise which enterprise/govt funding can't provide. If it
were me, I'd chase all of it and see what the term sheets looked
like (there's a difference between promises and actual cash
materialising). Bear in mind you'll probably need at least twice the
amount of capital you think you do right now.

A lot of startups get frustrated with government bodies, do
you think that’s a fair sentiment or just startup impatience?
A bit of both. But to be fair to govt bodies, startups get
pretty frustrated with other investors too. Frankly, if you can't
work through the paperwork to secure grants or low-hanging
funding, then you've little chance of dealing with any serious
problems which you'll face. So man up.






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John Egan
@iamjohnegan
Bi o: Irish Government’s
Startup Future of Banking
expert. CEO at Archipelago.
Irish Ambassador at Sandbox,
World Economic Forum and
ICUE.


Cash strapped startups often use equity as a means to get
other people on board. This can lead to terrible problems
when you realise the person is the wrong fit. What would
be your advice to get around this?
My advice is never marry your first girlfriend. If it's your first
time raising money, take it from whoever you can get it from,
build something and get out of there. The experience you have,
the network you create and the skills you accumulate will be vital
when you go back to start your next company.

The next time you raise money, know who, when and where your
principal investor will come from. Understand what your
obtainable market is and what size investor that makes you
relevant to. Establish who invests in your space at series 1 & 2
stage and establish why any potential angels would be an
adequate fit with them in mind.


A lot of startups get frustrated with government bodies, do
you think that’s a fair sentiment or just startup impatience?
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Governments shouldn't orchestrate enterprise, only facilitate
it. So long as they're not in the way of enterprise, start-ups
shouldn't be concerned with them.




Will McQuillan
@willmcq
Bio: Partner at Frontline
Ventures


You can raise 100k from the Irish government through
various schemes. Do you think this is enough for the
average tech startup to prove the product concept, or
should you look to raise more?
Especially from a technology startup perspective this is
more than enough. There has been a big shift in the mechanics
of startups. The lean methodology and open source technology
have meant not only is it cheaper and faster to build your product
but it is also cheaper and faster to sell your product. With 100k
you’d expect to see the product getting traction be it beta testers
or elsewhere. Another aspect to consider is that most technology
startups will have a CTO co-founder, this should help keep saving
costs low too.


With the 100k available from enterprise boards should you
go with Angels after obtaining this funding or wait until you
need more?
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You should never wait to raise money. The best time to raise
money is when you don’t need it. The best strategy would be not
to go looking directly for money as this can often scare investors
off, but to establish relationships with potential investors looking
for advice. This can also work in your favour as when you tell an
investor you’re not looking to raise money right now, their
defensive walls go down, they are more likely to give you advice
and the power is on equal footing between you and them.


Certain startups may initially target a domestic market
with plans to expand abroad i.e. US and UK. If this is the
case, should founders seek investment abroad or
domestically?
The main thing here is to realise there are certain funds in
the US that will engage in Seed/Series A funding rounds,
however due to geographic reasons they aren’t as hands on
when engaged in the development of the business as would be a
domestic investor. The US funds such as IA Ventures, True
Ventures and others will look to see an investor based in Ireland
leading the investment making sure that they’re fully committed
to the startup’s success. However the UK wouldn’t see
geography as much of an issue. British Funds are more than
willing to invest across borders, Frontline itself is located in both
Dublin and London.




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That’s all folks
Well, that’s a wrap on that. We’ve tried to make the grant
process as clear as possible. We’re planning on running
community workshops to answer all your questions and give you
some information that we can’t publish here. If you’re interested
drop me a mail (peter@bullethq.com) or get me on LinkedIn
(http://ie.linkedin.com/in/peterjamesconnor/) and I’ll let you know
dates.

We hope that helps you somewhat. Don’t forget to tweet
this out under the hashtag #bullethq and let you’re fellow
founders know about it.

And don’t forget to check out our guide and calculator on
how you can get the taxman to pay for a sales guy. You’ll find
this at http://goo.gl/SIuwy, or ask to speak to one of our growth
team.

Thanks
Pete & John

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Requests to the author for permission should be addressed to
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For general information, please visit our website at https://www.bullethq.com
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