When startups seek investment from investors, they eagerly anticipate meaningful discussions and want to forge long-lasting connections to advance their funding round. However, as investors begin to inquire and request documentation, startups may encounter uncertainties in closing a deal.

How can they navigate these situations effectively? 

Investors devote significant time to evaluating startup deals. Investment discussions are complex and time-consuming. They are not Shark Tank pitches (where in reality only 40% of showcased startups actually secure investments after thorough due diligence took place behind the scenes).

This guide aims to equip startup founders with the understanding and strategies needed to navigate this process called Due diligence successfully and build trust with potential investors.

What is a startup due diligence?

Startup due diligence refers to the thorough investigation of the startup’s data, such as information about their product, team, and financials, carried out by angels or VC investors. The main goal of a startup due diligence process is for the potential investors to determine its potential and fit for them as well as give them a baseline to make an informed investment decision.

Startups seek financial support through capital injection and fundraising from investors. In return, investors aim to mitigate risks by evaluating if the company aligns with their criteria.  Depending on the stage of your startup and the complexity of the product, business model, and business stage, the due diligence can be more or less complex.

Even though early-stage investments are usually more dependent on factors such as the founding team’s capabilities and product potential, as there is likely not much yet to show, it’s always good to already show data that shows the success and market adoption of a startup’s product. And as the startup raises more and more capital, there are higher expectations in terms of traction.

Ultimately, a startup due diligence paves the way for a successful partnership between founders and investors with an investment being the end goal.

For early-stage startups seeking funding, properly preparing for due diligence can be the key to securing an investment and fostering a strong relationship with investors.

Essential preparedness for startup due diligence:

Organize documentation: Keep all company documentation organized & compile a comprehensive due diligence checklist. With everything in place, startups can confidently present their information to potential investors.

Set up & allow access to your data room: Prepare data and documents including pitching materials, marketing strategies, and sales plans, financial documents, legal files and tech information. For thorough due diligence, have clear and structured information. 

Keep documents up to date:  Regularly update financial statements, legal agreements, customer data, marketing materials, etc., as changes occur. Outdated or inaccurate information can cause delays during due diligence and may lead to investors losing confidence in your startup.

Prep your team: Perform internal reviews to identify and address potential issues before VCs find them. Prepare to answer questions from investors, demonstrating their belief in the company and ability to address concerns effectively.

Provide evidence of traction and product-market fit: Demonstrate traction and product-market fit with your KPIs or metrics. Provide qualitative feedback of customers, and product demos, and highlight industry trends supporting your startup’s growth potential and validating your business model.

Why is due diligence important for startups?

Why is investor seeding important?

Convincing investors:

Startups have the opportunity to present compelling reasons for investment to investors, emphasizing strengths such as a robust business plan, strong financial records, and promising growth prospects. Investors conduct initial checks for any potential concerns before proceeding with further evaluations. Through proactive preparation for due diligence, founders can exhibit credibility and a collaborative approach toward potential investors. Due diligence serves as a pivotal occasion to persuade investors of the suitability of the startup for investment.

Tracking progress:

Startups can leverage due diligence to effectively track their progress and showcase their growth to current and prospective investors. This entails efficiently organizing and overseeing metrics to monitor achievements and enhancements. By transparently sharing this advancement, startups can establish credibility with investors and enhance their trust in supporting the startup’s potential success.

Improving with feedback:

Startups benefit from due diligence because experienced investors offer valuable insights gained from building and growing businesses. They can pinpoint deficiencies and propose improvement strategies based on their expertise. This feedback is invaluable for startups, guiding them to address weaknesses and optimize their operations, ultimately enhancing their chances of success in the competitive market.

Securing many successful funding rounds:

Maintaining a comprehensive repository of information and data not only safeguards against potential investor concerns later on but also allows you to highlight the basis of your decisions. By clearly documenting research plans and assumptions, you can explain any changes in direction that may arise, ensuring transparency and trustworthiness &  paving the way for securing numerous successful funding rounds.

Trust & transparency:

Investor confidence is essential for startups because it shows that they are transparent, professional, and ready for investment. When investors trust a startup, they’re more likely to provide funding, which is crucial for growth and success. This confidence can also attract other investors and partners, helping the startup to thrive in the competitive market.

What is expected?

During due diligence, startups have a chance to get better. Some key elements to consider from this process include:

Investors requesting information:

Founders can expect investors to request data and information about their startups Investors seek this information to thoroughly assess the startup’s viability, potential risks, and growth prospects. Therefore, founders should be prepared to provide comprehensive and transparent answers to these inquiries, demonstrating the startup’s readiness for investment and commitment to success.

Product viability evaluation: 

Investors seek to assess the viability of a startup product during the due diligence process. They expect founders to provide detailed insights into how the product addresses market needs, its unique value proposition, customer feedback, and future development plans. Founders can instill confidence in investors and facilitate successful investment by preparing early on & showing their product-market fit.

Product demonstration:

Investors expect startups to provide product demonstrations to help them understand the product and its revenue generation potential. This could involve both physical and digital demos showcasing the product’s features, functionality, and value proposition. Investors seek clarity on how the product addresses market needs, along with traction. 

Updated information: 

Investors may request updated information or data during the due diligence process. Founders should be prepared to promptly provide these updates, demonstrating transparency and responsiveness to investor inquiries. By keeping investors informed with the latest information, founders can build trust and confidence in the startup’s ability to navigate challenges and achieve success.

Issues & challenges:

Startups often face several issues and challenges during the due diligence process:

Managing expectations and timelines: 

Startups often find it challenging to keep expectations in check and stick to timelines during due diligence. This process can take longer than anticipated, causing frustration and uncertainty among team members and stakeholders.

Data security: 

Many founders fear their data being misused by investors or shared with competitors. Some even demand NDAs to be signed. For later stage companies with complex tech they might be able to get investors to sign these, but in early-stage investments basically no investors will do that. Founders rather will have to decide which data to share with which investors.

Impact on morale:

Maintaining team morale and managing expectations becomes essential as due diligence progresses. The prolonged process can be draining for founders and team members, requiring effective communication and support to keep everyone motivated and focused on the end goal.

Complexity of documentation:

Startups often find it challenging to collect and arrange the many documents needed for due diligence. This can be especially tough if they’re new to the process or don’t have enough resources. It involves gathering financial records, legal documents, business plans, and other paperwork, which can be overwhelming without proper guidance or support.

Benefits of DueDash:

What is the best way now to start preparing for your due diligence and tracking all the above-mentioned elements in mind? You don’t have to look far. DueDash provides complete data preparedness & management functionalities. Several advantages include:

Comprehensive data management system: A single system that streamlines data collection, organization, and presentation & guides startups to set up and manage all their data eliminating the need for multiple inefficient platforms.

Real-time monitoring and progress tracking: Founders can easily monitor the progress which empowers them to make the best business decisions. With real-time access to key metrics and performance indicators, founders can respond quickly to changes in the market or internal operations.

Expedited due diligence with data rooms: Founders can use virtual data rooms to easily have Clear and organized data preparation that expedites the due diligence process with investors. When all relevant information is readily accessible and well-presented, investors can quickly assess the startup’s viability and make timely decisions regarding investment opportunities.

Centralized investor engagement: Centralizing investor engagement within the system incentivizes founders to keep their data up to date. Automated reminders prompt founders when information becomes outdated, ensuring that investors receive accurate and timely updates.

Detailed analytics: Founders gain access to comprehensive analytics, including which investors view their updates. You can track sent, delivered, opened, clicked, and commented data individually, thus getting all the data you need to make an informed decision on your next steps.

Building trust through data: Investors develop trust with founders through data-driven relationships. By providing transparent and reliable data, founders demonstrate their commitment to accountability and facilitate stronger partnerships with investors.

How to use DueDash for preparing for due diligence?

Account creation: Start by setting up your DueDash account or logging into your existing account.

Fill your data room: Familiarize yourself with the layout, such as the four data room levels and required documents, start filling all levels, and update whenever necessary.

Share with investors: Grant access to your data room and monitor updates.

Search: Search new Investors using the search functionality in the left menu. Apply filters to find relevant investors for outreach

Pipeline management: You can start approaching the deals in your pipeline which can be managed using manage deal cards across the pipeline.

Messaging: Send direct messages and communicate with the investors.

React to investor queries: Respond to investor questions and requests for additional information by allowing access to Data room levels or through inbuilt messaging systems.

Send out update: Decide who should receive the update and send it or schedule it.

Review analytics inside DueDash: Dive deeper into the analytics to understand the nuances of investor engagement. This data is crucial for refining your pitch and identifying the most interested investors for follow-up.

Keep data up to date: Check back at regular intervals to keep your data current and relevant.

Get started with your investor engagement today and have your data room ready 

Now that you know everything about startup due diligence, DueDash offers you the ability to easily set up your data room and track your data as well as update investors all in one place. Login into your DueDash account or sign in to get started