As the economy has been gaining strength, so have the number of entrepreneurs seeking private equity investments through pre-packaged structured private placement offerings, and negotiated venture and angel capital sources. A question that arises almost daily in my practice is how to determine a valuation for a development stage or start-up venture. Determining a valuation is instrumental to answering the overriding questions of what percentage of a company is being sold and at what price.
For business entities with operating history, revenue, profit margins and the like, valuation is determined by mathematical calculations and established mathematically based matrixes. For a development stage or start-up venture, the necessary elements to complete a mathematical analysis simply do not exist.
In the case of a pre-packaged private placement offering for a development stage or start up venture, valuation is an arbitrary guess, a best estimate. In the case of a negotiated investment with a venture capital or angel