Million-Dollar Backseat Driver: The VC Misconception

Let’s get real about the deal with your equity.



To many founders, the idea of leveraging their equity to create funds is daunting. For some it feels like sacrificing control for the sake of a quick financial fix. For some it feels like accepting defeat. 

To get an idea of the emotions and thoughts of founders when faced with this conundrum just watch any episode of Dragon’s Den. In the heat of the moment the gap between over-ambitious valuations and investor assessments makes jelly of all but the steeliest of hardened founders.

But what is it that terrifies these habitually unflinching business leaders? I think I have an idea. Whenever we discuss funding with founders, concerns are raised, and there’s one that comes up time and again. When you’ve built something from the ground up, the thought of losing your grip on its direction is terrifying: founders don’t want to lose their company to endless demands of ROI and a VC that’s only focused on the exits.

It’s an understandable concern – no-one wants to let go of the reigns of their company after years as the driving force behind it. But that concern is unfounded in most cases – particularly ours. 

The sooner you get to grips with the idea that funding is about supporting your company, not losing it, you’ll be in a position to take advantage of some incredible resources. Let us lay some of those fears to rest with a frank discussion about the reality of startup funding with Oxygen Ventures.


We invest in leaders as much as businesses

Only you could make your company what it is. We know that businesses are sculpted by the people at the front, not the resources behind them. The reason we insist that the companies we invest in have a leader with at least a decade of experience in their field is because we put our trust in your expertise – it’s what leads to great insights.

And we’re not alone; no investor buys into a great idea unless there’s an expert at the helm. When investors say yes to your startup, they’re also saying yes to you. It means you don’t have to worry about the destination of your business because you’ll stay in charge, but it also means you need the same hunger and passion that got you where you are.

Leaders don’t come pre-fabricated, we know there are a million different ways genius manifests itself. So we don’t need to see an MBA and a Hugo Boss suit to know you’re the real deal (although the former won’t harm your chances). Trust yourself, you made your business what it is, you got our attention, and you’ll continue to blaze a trail long after investor backing.


We do guide, we don’t steer

Of course, you’ll get a financial boost with funding and, if it’s with Oxygen Ventures, that funding comes in one, upfront cash investment – not drip-fed pocket money. But with Oxygen Ventures you also get support with business-critical operations; everything from design and development, to finance and legal support, even marketing and customer service.

We also welcome you into a network of companies with the same digital inclinations, all of whom collaborate to create better businesses. They share the best ideas to give you the competitive edge. It means you take bigger strides towards enterprise growth. You know the phrase about standing on the shoulders of giants? That applies here.

It’s not about lecturing you on how to run your business. You’re still responsible for your company. But we will provide consultancy and guidance, and if you want to take advantage of a wealth of expert resources, it’s all on the table. You just need to put some of your equity on the table for us, and you’ll be on the way to taking your business to the next level.


We’re committed to your success

Good investors don’t run for the exits. In this case at least, we’re no exception. We commit expert entrepreneurs, like our main financial backer, Larry Kestelman, to your cause. We open up access to an extraordinary business network for founders, and you’ll be able to garner insights that could be the difference between surviving and thriving.

To show how much we invest besides millions of dollars, we often take a seat on the board. It’s not an email once a week to check on your profitability. It’s a consistent voice of experience that helps you take your company from strength to strength. That board member might be a leading member of our team, or Larry Kestelman himself – how’s that for a priceless addition to your team?

Fears about the investor who buys their way in to milk funds and sell up are well short of the mark. We want you to succeed, an we know that’s not the way to make it happen. And remember, before we were investors, most of us were entrepreneurs. We know how you feel because we’ve been there, and we’re willing to go there again to bring your business to the world stage.


Your end of the bargain

We’re good people, but this is business. We need equity to justify the resources we provide, but we don’t just pluck figures out of the air, our valuations reflect your worth accurately. Yes, we will take equity from you, but what will we give back? If it’s something you need, that could help you progress years ahead in a heartbeat, where’s the conflict?

Only you can decide if funding is the right route for you, and when you get the offer on the table, only you can take it or turn it away. We’re not here to become backseat drivers of your business, we’re here to partner with you and create a better future for everyone involved. Get right with the idea of funding and it could be the gateway to bigger and better things.