OutReach Networks: First Venture Round
This introductory case explores the venture capital (VC) and discounted cash flow (DCF) methods of valuing early-stage companies. OutReach Networks is an unusual start-up company in that it was profitable early in its development and did not have to seek VC funding to support its growth. The company has grown quickly and may soon be a candidate for an IPO. In November 2011, an experienced venture capitalist approaches the founder with an offer to invest $30 million in exchange for 30% of the company. While the founder sees some benefit from the VC's experience in preparing the firm for an IPO and the funding enabling it to scale more quickly, he cannot understand how the VC has arrived at this offer. The founder believes the funding should be worth no more than 15% of his firm. Potential reasons for the disagreement over the valuation are (1) differences in the founder's and investor's view of the company's risk, (2) disagreement over the appropriate set of comparable companies, and (3) differences in the methods used to calculate the percentage equity stake. The case is appropriate for use in courses covering entrepreneurial finance or venture capital.