For companies looking to raise capital, there are many options on the table. From raising capital from friends and family and crowdfunding to private equity and venture capital, not every option is suited for all entrepreneurs. This article will explore the difference between venture capital and private equity, as well as some alternatives for companies looking to secure funding in the private capital markets.
What is Private Equity?
Private equity firms are investment firms that raise capital from accredited investors to make investments in private companies. In the case of private equity, these firms generally seek to take a majority stake in portfolio companies – which means that the firm will obtain greater than 50% ownership. Another characteristic of private equity firms is that they generally prefer to invest in established companies that have operational inefficiencies. The goal is to reduce these inefficiencies so that the company can turn profitable. If the firm sells a portfolio company or it goes public, it distributes returns to investors.
What is Venture Capital?
Similar to private equity, venture capital (VC) firms raise capital from accredited investors. However, they take a different role in the private capital markets. VC firms seek to invest in early-stage and startup companies with high growth potential. They often control less than 50% ownership and take a mentorship role. Once a portfolio company is acquired or goes public through an IPO, it can distribute returns to investors.
Alternative Capital Raising Opportunities
However, many companies find it difficult to secure VC or private equity funding. Since 2022, VC funding has dropped by more than 50% and late-stage investments have plummeted even more dramatically, down 63%. Still, there is hope for companies seeking to raise capital. During this time, the amount of capital being raised through JOBS Act exemptions had grown considerably, providing viable opportunities for entrepreneurs seeking capital. Through RegA+, companies can raise up to $75 million, and through RegCF, companies can raise up to $5 million. This capital can be raised from both accredited and nonaccredited investors, creating a wide pool of potential investors. At the same time, the minimum investment is typically much smaller, which allows everyday people to get involved with promising companies. It is also more cost-effective to raise capital through these alternatives than traditional VC or private equity firms, or going through an IPO.
Understanding these differences can help you identify what capital-raising options may be best suited for your company. However, if you need additional guidance, reaching out to a broker-dealer or securities attorney can help point you in the right direction for your capital-raising journey.