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What can I learn about venture capital?

Many people know about venture capitalists that help provide the funding for startup companies in Silicon Valley and other areas. In reality, only a small portion of venture capital is directed at seed money for startups. The rest of it is directed at companies in various phases of growth that need capital to fuel a new expansion or to turn their business around. Venture capital comes from individual investors or venture capital firms who agree to infuse new money into a business in exchange for an equity stake in the business going forward. Continue reading...

What is the minimum investment in a typical venture capital fund?

Minimum investments in venture capital funds tend to be vast sums of money. They tend to be for $1 million or more but can be as low as $250,000. As with hedge funds, the minimum investment is very steep and suitable only for accredited investors and qualified buyers. A typical minimum investment in a VC fund varies between $1 to $5 million, but it can be over $25 million. Most of the investments in venture capital funds are made in terms of commitments: you commit a certain amount of money, and when a venture capital fund finds an appropriate investment, it makes a “call” on you to deposit the money with them, perhaps in increments over a period of several years. Continue reading...

Who are venture capitalists?

Venture capitalists may have been entrepreneurs themselves who are now helping newer companies achieve success in return for large equity positions in the business. They may also work for investment banks. They form firms which manage a portfolio of venture capital investments. Venture capitalists are firms whose business model is to infuse money into companies which do not have access to the capital markets, or do not want to turn to the open market, in return for equity in the business. Continue reading...

What kind of venture capital funds exist?

Different venture capital firms focus on different types of funding. Some are more attuned to late-stage funding for proven companies who still have not gone public, while others prefer to help startups with bright futures. There are large venture capital firms, which might invest in any start-up company, as long as they think that the company has potential. There are also more narrow VC firms specializing only in one or a small number of industries, such as clean energy, or semiconductors. Continue reading...

What Was the DAO?

The DAO was somewhat of an experiment in corporate governance and structure built on the open-source Ethereum platform, and the ripples of its fall are still felt in the Ethereum world. DAO stands for Decentralized Autonomous Organization, and it was a crowdfunded business or venture capital fund that raised $150 million in a month-- in fact, it was the single-largest crowdfunding campaign ever. It was so big that about 14% of the total Ether in existence at that point was invested in the project, and it was listed on all the major cryptocurrency exchanges. Continue reading...

Why do Companies Opt for ICOs?

Initial Coin Offerings are ways for new cryptocurrency or other technology companies to raise capital and put their coins into circulation. For companies too small to attract the attention of a big investment bank, this may be the best option for “going public.” In initial coin offerings, as opposed to using venture capital and initial public offerings of stock in regulated markets, the new company doesn’t actually give up any of their equity (i.e., control) in the company to third parties. Continue reading...

What are ICOs?

ICO is an acronym for Initial Coin Offering, and it is the primary way that new companies can use blockchains to raise capital. Many entrepreneurs have gotten their start in the last decade through crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, where anyone can contribute funds to help an idea get off the ground. Obviously, such funding methods were bound to reach new heights when peer-to-peer blockchains came onto the scene. Blockchains allow transfers of value anywhere in the world without regulatory... Continue reading...

What is Burn Rate?

Burn rate is a term for negative cash flow, or the rate at which a company burns through capital, especially a startup company. Burn rate is used frequently in the world of startups and venture capital. Using a burn rate, investors can see how much longer operations can be sustained with the capital at hand, and this length of time is called a runway. Startups will normally need at least a few months before they start generating enough revenue to have a positive cash flow. Burn rate is normally expressed as the monthly negative cash flow. Continue reading...

What is Off-Balance-Sheet-Financing?

A company might use this maneuver in order to keep their debt to equity levels in check. The most frequently used types of off-balance-sheet-financing are joint ventures, research and development partnerships, and operating leases. Continue reading...

What is the Capitalization Ratio?

The capitalization ratio measures a company’s leverage, or the amount of long-term debt it holds relative to long-term debt + shareholder equity. Essentially, it is a measure of how capitalized a company is to support operations and growth. Continue reading...

What is Capital Accumulation?

Capital Accumulation is the act of acquiring more assets which will generate more profits or other benefits to the company or economy. Capital accumulation is sometimes discussed in relation to rumors that a company is preparing to acquire another company. This could be the case for one or two reasons. One would be that the company has actually been buying up shares in the target company for some time. Continue reading...

What is Capital Structure?

Capital structure gives a framework for a company’s makeup and how it finances its operations, because it includes long and short-term debt plus common and preferred equity. Capital structure is a mix of a company's long-term debt, specific short-term debt, common equity and preferred equity. Often times, investors will want to look at a company’s debt-to-equity ratio as a telltale of what their capital structure is. The higher the debt-to-equity ratio, the more that particular company is borrowing to finance operations versus using cash flow or assets on hand. Continue reading...

What is Working Capital?

Working capital is computed by subtracting a business’s current liabilities from its current assets. Current means that the assets and liabilities exist within the current year. The appropriate amount of working capital will vary from business to business. Some businesses have a need for a large amount of working capital, and some can maintain a healthy balance sheet with relatively little working capital. Whatever the situation is for a particular business, the approximate calculation for the amount of working capital that they have to use is arrived at by subtracting current liabilities from current assets. Continue reading...

What is a Capital Account?

The Capital Account in a company is where paid-in capital, retained earnings, and treasury stock is accounted for. In macroeconomics, the Capital Account shows the national net change in ownership of assets. In accounting and bookkeeping, the Capital Account tracks the amount of Capital on hand at a company, which is the sum of the paid-in capital, the retained earnings, and the value of the treasury stock. Paid-in capital is the money collected from investors during an IPO or other stock issue. Continue reading...

What is Paid-Up Capital?

Paid-up capital is the money (‘capital’) collected by a company from issuing shares of their stock. In other words, its money raised from issuing and selling stock. Paid-in capital is not money borrowed, but rather money invested in the company by shareholders. A company will generally issue shares of stock with a par value and an offer price, and paid-up capital represents the difference between total dollars invested and par value of the shares. Continue reading...

What is the Capital Market Line?

The Capital Market Line is a complex concept, but put simply, it is a calculation meant to give the investor/analyst a range of potential returns for a portfolio, based on the risk free rate and the standard deviation of the portfolio. The Capital Market Line is a part of the capital asset pricing model (CAPM) that solves for expected return at various levels of risk. It takes into consideration a portfolio’s risk assets and the risk-free rate. Continue reading...

What Does Market Capitalization Mean?

Market Capitalization refers to the total ‘market-size’ of a company, calculated by the number of shares outstanding multiplied by the stock price. Investors should take care not to consider a company’s market capitalization as an accurate reflection of the company’s actual size by assets. Companies with very large market capitalizations can still operate with net losses, Twitter being an example. Continue reading...

What is the Debt to Capital Ratio?

The debt-to-capital ratio is a measure of a company’s leverage that looks at total debt compared to total capital (shareholder equity + debt). This measure of leverage is not a globally accepted accounting practice, therefore it is important for analysts to learn exactly what is being included by the company as their debt and equity in calculating the ratio. Generally speaking, a higher debt to capital ratio indicates that the company is financing more of its operations and needs through the debt markets versus with equity. Comparing debt-to-capital ratios amongst companies within the same sector or industry can be a useful exercise. Continue reading...

What is Mutual Fund Classification According to Market Capitalization?

One way of classifying mutual funds is by the market capitalizations of the companies they invest in. Mutual funds can invest in stocks and bonds of foreign corporations, or corporations in the biotechnology industry, or with any other objective they may have. But one way to manage it is by size—to capture market exposure for companies of different sizes. The size of a company is defined by the amount of market capitalization it has, which is the number of shares outstanding multiplied by the share price. Some indexes and funds will adjust market cap rankings to give weight to “free float,” which is the amount of market capitalization that is freely trading, and is not held by other companies, governments, or founding families. Continue reading...

What does Capital Gain Mean?

A Capital Gain refers to the profits or gains made from selling a security at a higher price than the original purchase price. In stock trading, if an investor sells a stock for more than they bought it for (or the price inherited), the profit realized is a capital gain. The same applies to gains made in real estate. To note, assets held within tax-deferred accounts, like IRAs and 401(k)s, do not trigger capital gains when sold for profits. It only applies to taxable assets, like stocks held in a brokerage account. The capital gains tax is the tax paid on net capital gains in a given year. Continue reading...