Georgi Gullia Shares Insights on Startup Funding

Smart People Saying Smart Stuff Part 6: Georgi Gullia

Startup investing. It’s a sexy space to play in, if you have the cash to do so. However, it’s not the most intuitive environment to those looking from the outside-in. Amidst all the terminology (angel, seed, etc.), many startups may feel like identifying their funding states is the hardest part of growing their business.

To simplify the conversation, we invited our friend Georgi Gullia, director of business development for top-notch accounting firm Cherry Bekaert. Georgi quickly laid out a high-level, easy to understand snapshot of the various levels of startup funding. It all adds up to an insightful sixth edition of Smart People Saying Smart Stuff. (Catch up on old episodes here.)

It all starts with the seed

Seed capital, also known as seed money. According to Georgi, this is where it all starts. At this stage, someone has an idea or a product, but they don’t have the means to bring it to life. Who do they turn to? “The three f’s: family, friends and fools,” Georgi joked.

This level of funding is characterized by a business in its infancy, seeking funding through informal financial agreements via pre-established personal relationships. The amounts exchanged here normally range from the tens of thousands to the lower six-figure spectrum.

Funding has its own ABCs

After gathering seed money, businesses then move into reciting their funding alphabet, tackling Series A, B and C funding. The next level after seed money is Series A, a level still focused on strengthening startups in early stages. Typically, Series A funds are raised to propel rapid growth, such as enlarging a sales force. The company has a promising idea but needs help from an operations standpoint. Standard Series A funding rounds range from $200,000 to $1 million.

Next, you have series B funding. At this point, the business objective shifts from building a foundation toward establishing profitability. This comes in the form of shoring up or expanding key business operations and on average results in funding between $1 million and $10 million.

Finally, for those startups having solidified their operations and reached a profitable state, expansion looms as the next step. And that’s where Series C funding comes in. The amounts raised here vary drastically, but objectives are typically similar and focused on major growth.

Georgi Gullia of Cherry Bekaert on startup funding

Atlanta builds its VC community

Georgi also discussed the struggles the Atlanta startup community faces in the way of venture funding. Traditionally, venture capitalists have set up shop in Boston and Silicon Valley. Even in today’s digital society, geographic proximity can play a major role in funding accessibility.

However, Georgi believes Atlanta’s funding community is on the rise. Already, Atlanta has implemented key incubators to supplement the lack of funding, providing the resources many startups need to get their feet firmly under them. Local incubators include ATDC, Atlanta Ventures, Startup Atlanta, Tech Square Labs alongside collaborative startup spaces such as Atlanta Tech Village, Opportunity Hub and more.

This, in addition with rising venture capital firms such as BIP Capital and connectors like Venture Atlanta, helps provide ongoing buzz and optimism for the Atlanta startup community.

Smart people saying MORE smart stuff

Huge thanks to Georgi for sharing her funding insight with our team. Hooked on our Smart People Saying Smart Stuff Series? We’ve got you covered. Next up, we’re speaking with Serena Ehrlich of Business Wire to discuss how to optimize press release content for search.

Smart People Saying Smart Stuff Part 1: Jen Martin

Smart People Saying Smart Stuff Part 2: Justin Grimsley

Smart People Saying Smart Stuff Part 3: Jason Cooper

Smart People Saying Smart Stuff Part 4: Tyrone Webb, Jr. 

Smart People Saying Smart Stuff Part 5: Dawn Brun

By James Cochran – November 29, 2016

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Posted in : Planning and Budgeting