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How the Shift in Startup Valuation Can Pose Financing Problems

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If you’ve been reading up on startup valuation, you might have heard the line, “valuation is an art, not a science.” After all, investors consider how the business faired in the past and how it’s projected to perform. Not to mention, factors like market position, team, tech, and so many others also come into play.

However, with a new emphasis on growth valuation, businesses have been valued based on their growth potential instead of their financials or brand recognition. And this has caused major problems for startups and VCs alike.

What’s the problem with startup funding?

Startups are at their best when scaling quickly and generating large amounts of revenue. They can only do this for so long before they need to start thinking about expansion.

This is where growth capital comes into play. Growth investors are committed to helping a company grow its business and scale quickly if they are involved in financing a startup. In return, they are looking for high returns on their investments. This allows startups to hire employees, pay rent, buy materials, and buy new equipment while growing their businesses.

They may be unable to do this with their funds because they have limited experience or budget. They may not have the option to go public or sell equity to investors to raise capital either.

Jacked up startup valuation in 2021

As the economy recovered from the onset of the coronavirus disease pandemic in 2020, 2021 was a breath of fresh air for players in the economy.

For the first time, many were ready to move on and fuel up various industries that stood still in 2020. According to TechCrunch, this resulted in free-flowing funding and a rise in startup valuation.

For instance, VC funding almost doubled from $335 billion in 2020 to $643 billion in 2021. In addition, there were 586 new unicorns in 2021 compared to 167 in 2020. Though the funding seems awesome for founders, it could spell disaster in the long run.

For instance, the once-inflated startup valuation can be a big problem with 2022’s geopolitical issues, inflation rates, and normalizing tech conditions.

How VCs can help solve the problem

Venture capitalists are adapting to the changing landscape of funding for startups. They are now looking for earlier-stage investments that are more focused on a company’s growth potential. The new standard for valuing companies is based on their ability to generate revenue and grow their business.

VCs are now looking for companies with proven growth models, strong customer traction, and strong sales teams. This is a change in the investment approach. They used to only look for the best possible financial return on their investments. Now they are looking for promising growth companies that can generate revenue and achieve massive growth. This new standard for valuing companies is based on the ability of the company to grow.

Evolving investor expectations and the future of funding for startups

VCs now expect startups to be more liquid. This means they will need to be able to raise large amounts of capital from the public markets at any time. This is a significant shift in the investment approach. VCs used to only look for the best possible financial return on their investments. Now they are looking for promising growth companies that can generate revenue and achieve massive growth.

The public markets may not be able to provide the liquidity these companies need. This means venture capitalists must step in to provide liquidity for their portfolio companies.

In the end, it’s all about investors now looking to fund startups that can withstand the test of time. After all, it’s not about the art of seeing the startup’s potential anymore; it’s more on the science of what it has actually done before.

And for other stories, read more here at Owner’s Mag!

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Unlimited Graphic Design Companies Of 2023 + Promo Codes (Updated)

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Looking for an alternative to a freelance graphic designer? Are you trying to scale your business using your existing team? A new wave of companies who call themselves “Unlimited Graphic Design Services” are disrupting the creative industry, providing a solution to what is usually an expensive and unpredictable task. Here’s what their offerings have in common:

  • Monthly subscription model
  • 24-48 hour turnaround time
  • Work with their vetted team of designers
  • Unlimited design requests
  • Unlimited revisions
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Cancel anytime

Which Provider Should You Choose?

We’ve done the homework and curated a list of Unlimited Graphic Design providers for you and also negotiated special deals on your behalf. You can see them all below and decide which one fits your business based on your needs.


Unlimited Graphic Design Providers

What Does Unlimited Graphic Design Mean?

These unlimited graphic design services have a monthly subscription business model. That means you can sign up and cancel whenever you like. What sets them apart from your typical freelancer, agency, or in-house designer is you gain access to a workflow that is designed to be quick and to the point.

You’ll communicate with their team through Trello, email, or an online platform. The option given is dependent on the company you choose. For example, only a small selection of services provide a custom built online platform for their customers.

Once you’re connected to their workflow, you can begin submitting as many design requests as you want. Although they all claim “unlimited”, it generally means you can “create” unlimited design requests. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll work on them all at once. Usually, they just work on one design at a time. When one completes, they start the next design.

The usual turnaround time is between 1 – 2 days, and that’s just for the first draft. It doesn’t mean your entire request is complete. If you don’t like it, you can request as many revisions as you want, and that will take more time. So it can take up to a week to actually get the design complete if you have a lot of revisions.

Another thing to keep in mind is content. You need to be able to have everything ready and provide all the content needed in order for their designers to get started.

How Does On-Demand Graphic Design Work?

Most graphic design services listed above offer clients a bespoke design platform. For instance, Penji’s design tool is an all-in-one platform where designers, account managers, customers, and their team members can communicate and collaborate. 

Although the steps in working with a graphic design company are similar, we’ll use Penji’s design software to share the step-by-step graphic design process.

1. Log in

Once you’ve selected the subscription plan, log in to your design tool and access your dashboard. Most of these tools are user-friendly with a minimal learning curve and prioritize user experience. 

This example of Penji’s dashboard shows a list and thumbnails of ongoing design projects. The menu at the top shows the Active, Completed, Drafted, and On-hold projects.

Submitting a design brief is the first step in the on-demand graphic design process. To submit, click the +New Project button at the upper right side of the dashboard. 

2. Fill in the title

Think of a relevant project title that will describe the design accurately. Writing an accurate title will make browsing through ongoing projects easier once you have a long list. 

For instance, if you’re creating a company logo, you can write “Logo design” and specify the company or industry beside it if you’re handling multiple brands.

3. Choose from design categories

The next step is to choose from the many design categories. Most unlimited graphic design services have around 100+ design categories. Penji has 120+ design categories. Choose one that fits your project. 

4. Write a design brief

This step is crucial when working with on-demand graphic designers, as this will make or break your project outcome. Writing a thorough, clear, and well-thought-out design brief makes it easier for designers to understand exactly what you want. 

Penji’s design platform has a few reminders on the left side when writing design briefs. Ensure you follow the tips for a better design outcome. 

5. Attach files and images for inspiration

Some customers can’t express themselves clearly through written instructions. You can attach files and images to support your written descriptions with visuals. Attaching sample logos also helps lead designers in the right direction. Attaching your competitors’ logos is also a way to make yours better. 

You’ll also need to choose the source file type in this step or let designers pick for you.

6. Choose a brand style guide

Subscribing to unlimited graphic design services means you can request any visuals for multiple brands. Penji’s design tool lets you save and categorize your brand style guides in folders. This way, you only have to choose a branding guideline for designers to follow. 

Once you’ve chosen the associated brand, click the Create project button to start the process. 

7. Wait 24 to 48 hours

Although most on-demand graphic design services’ turnaround is 24 to 48 hours, some companies may take more than two days. 

Wait for the first draft and ask for revisions until you’re 100 percent happy with the design. Download the source file, and you’re good to go!

Why Should You Sign Up for Unlimited Graphic Design Services

Subscribing to unlimited graphic design services is more convenient than hiring freelance designers. Here’s why:

  • Work with vetted designers and choose from various skill sets. There is no need to search for another designer fit for a particular project. The company will assign you the most suitable designer. 
  • No need to worry about additional fees as you only have to pay fixed monthly rates and get unlimited designs. Revisions also come at no extra cost. 
  • You don’t have to worry about graphic designers going MIA and abandoning crucial projects. Each design project is managed by an account manager who will check if deadlines are met on time. 
  • Signing up and canceling subscriptions with on-demand graphic design services is easy. You can sign up if you need a stream of designs while setting up shop and cancel anytime without incurring cancellation fees. 
  • Fast 24 to 48-hour turnaround, which prevents any bottlenecks in your marketing campaigns. 
  • Request to change assigned designers if you’re unhappy with their work at no additional cost. 
  • Organize your projects and brand style guides if you request multiple brand designs. The custom design platforms make managing projects efficient and convenient. 

Are they worth it?

If you have a lot of design needs, they’re definitely worth it. Being that it’s a monthly recurring investment, you’ll need to make sure that you have the need for an ongoing graphic design service. This graphic design service model is comparable to outsourcing a designer yourself, except much of all the management work is done by the company. The quality of designs and turnaround time also tends to be significantly better when outsourcing a designer yourself.

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How a Startup Incubator Can Accelerate Your Business

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In today’s fast-paced and competitive business landscape, startups often find themselves navigating a maze of challenges that can hinder their growth and potential.

This is where the concept of a startup incubator comes into play as a guiding light for emerging ventures. A startup incubator is more than just a physical space; it’s a dynamic ecosystem designed to nurture and propel early-stage ventures toward success. 

In this article, we’ll tackle some of the most common questions surrounding incubators. For instance – what is the role of a startup incubator? How does it differ from an accelerator?

And most importantly, how can it optimize your business? 

Let’s begin!

What is an incubator in a startup ecosystem?

In a startup ecosystem, an incubator refers to a supportive environment or program designed to help early-stage startups grow and develop.

Incubators provide a range of resources and services to entrepreneurs, typically for a fixed period of time, with the goal of nurturing and accelerating the growth of their businesses.

Here’s the usual process of how an incubator supports a startup:

Onboarding

Startups who applied and were accepted are welcomed into the incubator with an orientation session. During this phase, startups get an overview of the program’s structure, expectations, and available resources. They also meet their mentors, advisors, and fellow cohort members.

Mentorship and Guidance

Startups are paired with mentors who have relevant industry experience or expertise.

Regular mentorship sessions provide guidance, feedback, and insights to help startups navigate challenges and refine their strategies.

Workshops and Training

Incubators organize workshops, seminars, and training sessions on various aspects of entrepreneurship. Topics covered during the startup incubator program may include:

  • Business planning
  • Marketing strategies
  • Product development
  • Legal and regulatory matters
  • Fundraising

Access to Resources

Aside from training sessions, startups can also gain access to resources such as:

  • Office space
  • Co-working environments
  • Internet connectivity
  • Meeting rooms

Some incubators provide access to shared equipment, startup software, and other tools needed for product development.

Networking and Events

Incubators often facilitate networking events, pitch sessions, and demo days where startups can showcase their progress to potential investors, partners, and the broader community.

Business Development

Startups work on refining their business models, products, and market strategies. They receive support in identifying their target audience, creating a value proposition, and developing a sustainable revenue model.

Funding and Investment

Incubators may provide introductions to potential investors, venture capitalists, and angel investors Startups also learn about different funding options and how to pitch their ideas to secure investment.

Graduation

Successful completion of the incubator program results in a “graduation” for startups.

Graduated startups may continue to receive support through alumni networks, ongoing mentorship, or access to incubator resources.

Startup Incubator vs. Accelerator

team of people

A startup incubator and a startup accelerator are both support programs designed to assist early-stage startups, but they have distinct characteristics and objectives. Here’s a comparison between the two:

  • Focus. Incubators typically have a broader focus and cater to startups in various stages of development. They often work with startups that are in the ideation or early development phase. Accelerators, on the other hand, are more specialized and typically work with startups that have a viable product or service and are ready to scale rapidly. They focus on accelerating growth and reaching key milestones quickly.
  • Stage. Incubators are well-suited for startups that are still refining their business models, conducting market research, and building their initial product or service. Accelerators, meanwhile, are best suited for startups that have a minimum viable product (MVP) and are seeking to refine their business model, gain traction, and secure funding to scale.
  • Mentorship. A startup incubator provides mentorship and guidance, often with a focus on helping founders refine their business ideas, develop prototypes, and validate their concepts. On the other hand, an accelerator’s mentorship is often geared towards specific aspects of growth, such as scaling operations, marketing, fundraising, and product-market fit.

Startup Incubator Examples

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If you’re looking for the best startup incubators in the world, here are a few you of the most popular ones to consider.

1. Y Combinator

Situated in the USA, Y Combinator is considered one of the best startup incubators which has played an instrumental role in fostering the growth trajectories of some of the most renowned startups globally. The Y Combinator program spans a duration of three months, during which startups receive a funding injection of $500,000, albeit subject to certain conditions.

Subsequently, founders are immersed in a sequence of mentoring and refinement initiatives that culminate in the prestigious Demo Day. Here, founders showcase their concepts to an audience comprising investors and handpicked media representatives.

Mentees: Airbnb, Dropbox, Coinbase, Gitlab

2. Techstars

Techstars directs its energy toward nurturing startups rooted in technology. Since its inception in 2006, Techstars has been a driving force behind the growth of numerous startups. Annually, they select more than 500 fledgling companies, providing them with up to $120,000 in investment and the invaluable chance to partake in mentorship programs.

Backed by an impressive funding sum of $21.3 billion, Techstars stands out as a reliable choice for technology-oriented startups. Within its portfolio of activities, Techstars hosts several high-profile events and initiatives, including Startup Week and Startup Weekend.

Mentees: Uber, DigitalOcean, SendGrid

3. 500 Startups

500 Startups operates as a dual-purpose platform, functioning as both an accelerator program and a seed fund dedicated to startups. Positioned primarily as a venture capital entity, they proudly proclaim a management portfolio worth $2.7 billion. Their primary interests converge on sectors where technology, innovation, and capital growth converge harmoniously.

Their extensive investment history spans more than 2,600 startups worldwide, underscoring the maturity and comprehensiveness of their accelerator program across diverse markets. 

Mentees: Grab, Canva, Credit Karma

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need an incubator for my startup?

If you’re in the early stages, lack experience, and could benefit from structured guidance, resources, and mentorship, an incubator might be valuable. However, if you’re aiming for rapid growth and have a clear roadmap, an accelerator could be more appropriate. 

Do startup incubators provide funding?

Yes, many startup incubators provide funding as part of their support package. However, the funding offered by incubators can vary widely depending on the specific program, location, and the terms of the agreement. Some incubators offer direct funding to startups, while others may connect startups with potential investors or provide resources to help them secure funding elsewhere.

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Startup Central

10 Best Startup Software for 2023

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Every new business owner wants to keep costs as minimum as possible. This will allow them to do more with the limited budget they have. If you are one of them, the following startup software can significantly help:

1. Hootsuite

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An online presence is a necessity for new businesses. Hootsuite can help you create content and get more followers quickly and easily. It is one of the most popular startup software, with a user-friendly interface and affordable pricing plans. 

It has a free plan that allows you to schedule 30 posts across any social media platform. Not only that, Hootsuite will help you monitor the Return On Investment (ROI) of all your social media campaigns. This will let you know which works and which doesn’t. Its three other plans start at $49 per month.

2. Google Analytics

Google Analytics screenshot

Understand your website better with Google Analytics. This startup software will let you track the traffic coming to your website. This will allow you to tweak whatever strategies you have in place as it tells you what needs improvement.

You can use Google Analytics free of charge as long as you don’t exceed 5 million impressions a month. It will help you understand your customers’ journey and improve your marketing ROI. It will provide insightful data that can aid you with your marketing strategies. 

3. SendPulse

sendpulse screenshot

Excellent communication with your customers helps build stronger connections and build loyalty. Whatever messaging channel you choose, SendPulse is a superb startup software. It includes lead generation tools as well as promotional channels such as email, SMS, social media, and messenger chatbots. It also offers a free CRM tool and many others features.

SendPulse has a free plan ideal for startups, but if you want to upgrade, there are three premium plans to choose from. Prices start at $7 up to $11 per month.

4. FreshBooks

freshbooks screenshot

Once your business is running, you’ll be needing an accounting and invoicing software. That’s when you’ll need FreshBooks, an app that automates invoicing, bookkeeping, payment tracking, and many other financial tasks. In just a few clicks, you can view your financial status through its Profit and Loss Statements (PLS) feature, do taxation summaries, and check expenditure reports.

FreshBooks offers four pricing plans which start at $6 per month and up to $22 for the premium plan. If you need more services, they offer a custom plan in which you’ll need to contact them for a quotation.

5. HubSpot CRM

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Primarily a CRM (Customer/Contact Relationship Management ) tool, HubSpot CRM is a must-have startup software. It lets you manage contacts, sales, pipelines, lead generation, and digital marketing, among many others. It consists of multiple tools or ‘hubs’ that you can buy separately. 

HubSpot CRM offers three pricing plans that start at $45 per month and can go up to $1,200 monthly. It may seem expensive, but if you consider what this startup software can do, you’ll know it’s worth every penny. 

6. Penji

penji screenshot

Starting your business involves advertising and marketing. And to do this effectively, you’ll be needing graphic design. It can elevate your business in ways you can’t even imagine. For this, you need Penji, an unlimited graphic design service that lets you request all your visual assets. 

For as little as $499 per month, you can request logos, digital ads, social media graphics, and many other branding collaterals. They have two other plans, plus a 30-day money-back guarantee that lets you decide without making a huge commitment.

7. Piktochart

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According to statistics, infographics are the fourth most-used type of content marketing. They can increase traffic to your website by 12%. To create interesting and engaging infographics, you can use Piktochart. With this startup program, you can add videos, charts, interactive maps, and many other elements to your infographic and embed them on your website or blog.

Piktochart offers a free plan that’s suitable for startups and medium-sized businesses. If you want to enjoy more of its features, you can get any of its premium plans that start at $14 a month.

8. WordPress

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Join the over 455 million websites that use WordPress, the world’s most popular website builder. It is an open-source content management system, which means it’s free to use. You can build the website of your dreams using this startup software’s plugin architecture and template system. It can help you create a website with responsive design, SEO, social sharing, and many other features. 

Aside from the free plan, WordPress has four premium plans with pricing that starts at $5 per month and up to $45 a month if you pay annually. 

9. Salesflare

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Another CRM tool ideal for startups, Salesflare automates many repetitive tasks to make handling your business easier and faster. It can help with your email applications, social media accounts, company calendars, and many other processes. It also provides you with crucial data such as sales funnel analysis, quota management, sales funnel analysis, and many others.

Salesflare offers simple and affordable pricing. It has three pricing plans that start at $29 per month and go up to $99 a month. It also has a free trial that lets you try the software without a credit card.

10. MailChimp

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If you’re thinking of strategies to add to your marketing campaigns, you need to add email marketing. It is one of the most effective but can involve a laborious process. To make it easy, use MailChimp, a marketing platform that lets you manage and communicate with your clients, customers, and prospects. With it, you can customize your emails, generate leads for your database, and perform many other email-related tasks.

MailChimp has a free plan if you want to try out the service first. However, its three premium plans offer many valuable features you won’t get from the free plan.

Final Thoughts

Growing your business can be an exciting yet arduous endeavor. There is a multitude of concerns, issues, and tasks you need to take care of. Fortunately, there are startup software that you can get to make your life easier. Whether free or paid, these are absolutely helpful and worth looking into. 

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