Are you gearing up for a funding round? Then it might be a good idea to prepare a data room for the process.
Think of a data room as a virtual filing cabinet – but better. A virtual data room is a crucial component of your business fundraising efforts.
Because of this, it is important that you start preparing a data room so that you have the best shot with potential investors.
This blog will cover the following:
- What is a data room and why it’s important
- How to prepare a data room for your funding round
- What to include in a data room
Let’s get straight into it!
What is a Data Room?
A data room is like a virtual storage cabinet that holds all your business's important documents and information.
This space can be physical or virtual and securely holds sensitive information to be shared with authorised parties.
It's crucial to make sure that everything in your data room is organised, easy to navigate, and contains all the necessary information to convince investors to give your business a chance.
Large important data is also easier to manage in a well-designed data room, and this can smooth out the process for everybody involved.
Data rooms often play an essential part in a company's due diligence process and can be home to financial transactions, tenders, audits, and more.
If done right, a data room should showcase your company’s strengths and shiny performances. If done perfectly, a data room will show your company in the most compelling light and will have investors willing to take a shot with you!
How to Prepare a Data Room for Your Funding Round
Preparing a data room for your funding round can be an overwhelming process, to say the least. But don't worry, here is a step-by-step guide on how to do so:
Identify Key Information
Before you start collecting and organising documents for your data room, you need to identify key information that investors are on the lookout for.
Deciding what should be in your data room can be rough. You don’t want to have too much or too little; you only want to include the necessary information that matters to your investors.
What you put in there will vary depending on your company and what funding stage you’re in. Some common items to include are financial statements, company documents, intellectual property, ownership information, and incorporation and legal documents.
The truth is that the list of what you can include can go on and on, which is why you need to identify the key information and documents that are most relevant to your company.
Collect and Organise Files
When you are done identifying key information, it’s time to collect and organise files. It’s crucial that all files are up-to-date, accurate, and formatted correctly.
How you organise the files in a data room matters. No investor or authorised party wants to sort through a mess of files that will only waste their time! Properly sourcing and organising files properly can prevent this.
What To Include in a Data Room
- Business plan and overview
You need to include a business plan and overview so investors can understand your company better.
A business plan outlines your company’s vision, mission, and goals. Including these can help investors see the potential in your company.
- Corporate structure and ownership information
The next thing you want to include in a data room is your company’s corporate structure and ownership information.
This can include information on the legal structure of your company, like the names and roles of shareholders.
It’s important for investors to have a clear understanding of your corporate structure and ownership as this can impact the terms of any potential transaction.
- Financial statements, projections, and budgets
Any investor will be interested in the financial statements, projections, and budgets of a company. Include financial statements such as your balance sheet, income statement, gross margins, and comparable valuations.
Also, make sure that any future projections and budgets for future periods are also in the data room. Remember, always be transparent with your numbers!
- Capitalisation table and equity ownership
A capitalisation table (cap table) outlines your company’s equity ownership structure.
Include all information about founders, equity owners, investors, and employees. Including this information can ensure that you have a clean slate with new investors.
- Tax and legal documents
Include all relevant tax and legal documents investors will be interested in. Tax information is especially important to include as it is always a priority for potential investors.
- Contracts and agreements with partners, vendors, and customers
Investors want to have a clear understanding of anybody who is involved with your company as this can impact the value of your business. Include any contracts with partners, vendors, and customers for 100% transparency.
- Intellectual property information and patents
It’s critical to include any intellectual property your company has such as any patents, trademarks, copyrights, and domain names.
- Employment agreements and HR policies
Investors will want to know about a company’s employees before investing in it. Include any employment agreements and important HR policies such as health and safety policies and benefits policies.
- Customer and market analysis
Potential investors want to understand the customer and market that your company serves. Include relevant data that shows you have a large addressable target market.
- Sales and marketing plans and materials
Including relevant sales and marketing plans such as customer case studies will help investors understand your sale and marketing strategy better.
- Operational information and procedures
Investors want to know how your company functions, so include any relevant operational information and procedures.
- Risk assessments and mitigation strategies
Include risk assessments and mitigation strategies so investors are aware of these before investing in your company.
- Key performance metrics and reports
Key performance metrics and reports such as revenue growth reports and customer engagement levels provide insights about your company.
- Due diligence materials and other relevant information
A data room needs to include any other important due diligence materials and relevant information such as product service and technology.
Ensure Accuracy and Consistency
Ensure every single document you include in a data room is 100% accurate. You can constantly update documents to make sure they are still relevant.
Categorise Into Relevant Folders
Categorise files and documents into relevant folders so investors can find information quickly.
Review for Sensitive Information
It’s important to review all documents and files for sensitive information before uploading these to a data room.
Secure and Password-Protect Data
Data room security should be a number one priority. Ensure data is secure with a password required for entry. Also, limit access to only people who need to access it.
Grant Access to Investors
Provide access to investors in a timely and efficient manner. You can have a system that monitors what team members are looking at or working on to keep track of access.
Provide Clear Instructions
Provide clear instructions to investors when they are first accessing a data room. The best practice would be to thoroughly walk them through how to access it so that they will not struggle in the future.
Regularly Update the Data Room
Documents are only relevant if they are up to date. Regularly update a data room to ensure that every document is still useful and relevant.
Data rooms are essential for any business that wants to share important information with investors.
An effective data room keeps sensitive information safe, is easy to navigate, and can accelerate the fundraising process by impressing investors.
Managing a data room can be challenging. However, by following this step-by-step blog, you can ensure you create an effective data room and speed up your funding round!
The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.