Preparing a business plan so as to raise £2.5m for a broadcaster
Assisting a small team whose backgrounds were in terrestrial and satellite broadcasting, the aim was to obtain funding for an internet television project, whose content was designed to focus on special interest groups.
The business plan centred on setting-out credible and realistic scenarios for what was, and remains, a volatile sector. Key assumptions included subscriber levels, content provision, facilities management, technology, pricing points and funding required, together with the provision of iterative financial forecasts.
It was recognised that of equal importance was the ability and experience of the key personnel to the success of the project.
It was decided once the business plan had been completed, specialist media funders would be approached rather than try to obtain funding by working through a list of venture capital/private equity firms, as it was felt that an understanding of media- and in particular internet-based projects would enable a greater understanding of the key principles involved to be more fully understood.
Of eight funding providers approached, six agreed to a presentation. Each presentation lasted for a minimum of four hours, including rigorous questioning from the potential funding provider. Of the initial group to whom presentations were made, four agreed to a second round of discussions.
The funding round was successfully concluded with £2.5m being raised by way of equity and debt.
It is imperative, when fund raising for new ventures, that a realistic approach is taken to any forecasts and narrative to be included in the business plan. Though you may believe that your ideas are workable and develop positive returns, this has to accord with the aims of the funding providers.
Develop relationships with funders who are empathetic and understand what you are trying to achieve and whose knowledge and specific sector experience will be of mutual benefit.