I get many questions on how to raise money, and in the current business environment the best strategy is growing your business through cash flow. Institutional investors who are open to the game industry are primarily looking for companies that are at a later stage, have significant cash flows and customer bases and are already close to an exit. In fact, the venture capital environment has shifted for almost all enterprises, with a typical A-round (the first round of institutional investment) now primarily going to more advanced companies that already have traction. A few months ago, I wrote about Turning Your Customers into Venture Capital and the importance of that practice has been magnified in recent months.
You do not need investment to create a billion dollar company
I recently read Hamdi Ulukaya’s article in Harvard Business Review on how he grew Chobani (the Greek yogurt maker) into a $1 billion business without any external capital. This article drove home that financing from cash flow could not only be a way to create a nice, profitable lifestyle business but also create a billion dollar business that could IPO if it wanted to go that route. If you are not going to rely on a huge investment to build your company, though, you need to do everything the right way since you cannot just fall back on a big pile of cash. As Ulukaya wrote, “Too many entrepreneurs believe it’s impossible to scale a business without relying on VCs or other equity investors. That view is wrong. If I could grow a company from zero to $1 billion in less than a decade in a capital-intensive industry, many other businesses can too.”