Stardog Funded $3M for additional Series B Funding

Stardog Funded

In Arlington, Va, Stardog has expanded its Series B to $11.4 million, securing an additional $3m.

Stardog, the leading Enterprise Knowledge Graph platform, funded an additional $3M from new investors Contour Venture Partners, Dcode Capital, and Presidio Venture, the corporate venture capital arm of Sumitomo Corporation.

Stardog intends to use the additional capital to scale go-to-market operations, planning to expand EU operations and strengthen the work in the public sector.

From the statement of Kendall Clark, CEO and Founder of Stardog, their new partners have deep knowledge in critical areas of go-to-market. They plan to expand their successful EU operations, strengthen the public sector, and to establish tools and partnerships to expand access to knowledge graphs.

Fast Company recognized Stardog in its annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies as the 7th most innovative Enterprise. Their enterprise platform used by industry leaders such as Morgan Stanley, NASA, Schneider Electric, and Bayer.

Stardog’s platform uniquely combines graph storage, virtualization capabilities for flexible, cost-effective data integration. Their customers use Stardog for a range of solutions, such as operational resilience, pharmaceutical R&D, and situational perception.

Author statement:

Funded.com is the leading platform for accredited investors network worldwide. We monitor and provide updates on important funding events. Angel Investors and Venture Funding can be a key growth for a startup or existing business. Whether it is a first, second, or third round of financing having a strategic alliance with an Angel Investor or Venture Capital financing can propel a business to the next level and give a competitive edge.

Ontic Technologies funded $12M for Security Threats

Security threats

Ontic Technologies, a protective intelligence technology platform to help companies, schools, and other organizations proactively analyze data to address physical security threats.

Ontic $12M funded the investment led by Felicis Ventures, which also included participation from existing investors Silverton Partners, Floodgate, and Village Global. The intention to use these funds to expand its presence across businesses, organizations, and product development during the health crisis that has increased potential threats.

The round’s close brings the total funding raised by Ontic to $17.64 million, said CEO Lukas Quanstorm, according to Crunchbase.

What is protective intelligence software?

It helps to identify potential physical threats to an organization’s employees, facilities, and assets such as workplace violence or insider threats that Ontics protective intelligence software platform provides. This platform aggregating disparate data sources and providing a workflow that surfaces “pre-incident indicators” for acts of violence, mental health issues, and behavior of concern.

Ontic’s real-time, actionable insights allow security and resource teams to discover better, investigate, and collaborate on threats to protect executives, workplaces, schools, and organizations.

Quanstrom said they had seen a 300 percent increase of their customers across all industries in COVID-19 and threat-related data, and those clients included Fortune 5000 companies and some of the leading educational institutions. Because considering all remote and mobile workforces are “always-on” across time include zones due to shelter-in-place orders.

That’s why they aim of Ontic’s, in the middle of a health crisis, is to give them a security team that can identify pre-incident indicators, assess risk, and both investigate and mitigate potential threats, to protect their people, properties and reputation.

Author statement:

Funded.com is the leading platform for accredited investors network worldwide. We monitor and provide updates on important funding events. Angel Investors and Venture Funding can be a key growth for a startup or existing business. Whether it is a first, second or third round financing having a strategic alliance with an Angel Investor or Venture Capital financing can propel a business to the next level and give the competitive edge.

5 Simple Steps to Creating Proper Asset Allocation

Proper Asset Allocation

Every investor tries to build an excellent investment portfolio.To make such a portfolio, your investments require asset allocation.

In a bid to build a vast investment portfolio, most investors tend to focus on getting the best investment option, such as stocks or bonds. However, as an investor in today’s marketplace, the key to financial success and long-term growth of your investments is in a well-maintained diversified portfolio.

Take,for instance,a street vendor who sells both umbrella and sunglasses at the same time with the knowledge that it is easier to sell umbrellas during the rainy season and sunglasses in summer. What this example demonstrates is that as an investor, you should fill your portfolio with an appropriate mix of bonds, stocks, cash, fixed deposits, real estate, gold, pension funds, and other investments. This mix is what is known as an “asset allocation.” Your portfolio should meet your future financial requirements but still give you peace of mind.

Here are five steps to help you achieve a proper asset allocation.

Set your financial objectives

The first step towards constructing a proper allocation is to determine your personal financial goals and situation. You have to consider the amount of capital to invest, your age, future income needs, and your time horizon. When you need the money is just as important as what you’re saving, as such, your time horizon can be for a couple of months or several decades.

Your future income needs can be anything from buying a house, paying off debt, saving for a wedding, making a charitable donation, planning for a college fund or a retirement trip. Each of these goals requires a different amount of money for success. Setting your goals will help you identify the amount of money you need to save to achieve them

For instance, a 55-year older adult hoping to pay for a child’s college education and possibly retire in the next decade can’t have the same investment strategy as a 22-year old college graduate who is just starting in career. Your current wealth and saving habits versus your goals will help you determine your proper asset allocation.

Gauge your Risk Tolerance

Next, you have to factor in your risk tolerance and personality. While investing, you should base your risk tolerance on your view and attitude towards investment volatility and your time horizon. Are you willing to hazard the potential loss of some amount of money for the possibility of higher returns?

If you can’t handle the inevitable ups and downs of the stock market, fixed-income investments such as bonds may appeal to you more. Or if your investment is for a short-term goal of about three years, you can’t afford to take chances with the money not being there when you need it. If you can’t have a peaceful night rest if the value on your investments drops for a short while, then the chances are that the potential high returns are not worth the stress. What’s more, the possibility of higher returns comes with a greater risk of losses. So, you have to optimize the chance to suit your lifestyle and situation. For instance, a person nearing retirement should focus on protecting their assets and drawing income from them. On the other hand, a young person won’t have to rely on their investments for profit, so they can afford to take higher risks in the search for greater returns.

Find the Asset Class that Fit your Profile

Generally, investors who can bear more risk are more aggressive with their portfolio. If you have a high-risk tolerance, then you can devote a more substantial portion of your portfolio to equities and less to fixed-income securities like bonds. On the other hand, a person with a low tolerance level will have a more conservative collection of assets dominated by fixed income securities with fewer equities.

Choose a Mix of Assets

Keep in mind that beyond the particular fund or securities you choose, the way you distribute your funds among various asset classes has more impact on your success and returns. In alignment with this, you can divide the equity portion of your portfolio between companies with different market caps and industrial sectors. Then, you can allocate the bond portion across various subclasses such as long-term and short-term, and corporate debt versus government debt.

To enhance a diversified portfolio, some people prefer to invest in mutual funds. These funds include a wide range of asset classes, and they allow investors to hold bonds and stocks that are well-researched and selected by fund managers. If you do not like the idea of a mutual fund, you can invest in Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs). Simply put, ETFs are mutual funds that trade like stocks. The diversification for ETFs is based on capitalization, country, sector, and the likes.

Have a Big Picture

To set up the most efficient allocation strategy for your financial goals, you have to look at your entire financial picture. It is best to diversify with an eye on all your assets, including real estate, bank savings, insurance policies, and tax-deferred retirement savings you may hold, such as an IRA.

Regularly Monitor your Asset Allocation

After establishing a proper portfolio, you still need to analyze, reassess, and rebalance it periodically. This is because the asset allocation can change over time. For instance, a rise in the assets’ value can increase the portfolio volatility, the investor’s financial status can change, and the risk tolerance of the investor can be reduced by age, especially some years before retirement. 

If any of these factors alter, you also have to change your portfolio accordingly. Rebalancing involves determining which assets are overweighted (in an excess amount) and those that are underweighted.

The Bottom Line

As you construct and reconstruct your investment portfolio, it is incredibly crucial that you maintain your diversification. Owning securities within each asset class (equities and fixed-income) is not enough; you also have to diversify within an array of subclasses and industry sectors.

As we’ve earlier mentioned, you can easily achieve superior diversification by using ETFs and mutual funds. These two are investment vehicles that allow individual investors to enjoy the considerable scale diversification that fund managers and big companies enjoy.

Access our network of Investors, get instantly matched with a Lender, or get a business plan by visiting us Funded.com

Think of Funding When Writing Business Plans

One of the mistakes made during the writing of business plans is treating business funding as if it is a completely separate section with no real relevance to the rest of the plan. In other words, you write your executive summary, business description, market strategies and analyze the competition in a funding vacuum. Then the financial section gets tacked on, and it basically states you need money and here’s how much money you need.

But investors read business plans closely, and they are looking for a particular type of company that fits their requirements.  The words you choose to describe your business and the presentation counts. For example, if you are looking for a business loans from traditional lenders, they are not going to be impressed with hype in the least. You may have the most “stunning” invention ever created that will change the way mankind lives once your product hits the market, but a bank is going to see that kind of claim as marketing hype.

Professional From Beginning to End

Business plans are unique products. They must be interesting, professional and well written while being interesting, entertaining and exciting. That’s not easy to accomplish which is why so many entrepreneurs decide to get professional help writing their plans. Yet one of the most important features that a business plan should have, yet is often overlooked, is funder appeal.

In other words, the funders you plan on appealing to need to be attracted to what you say in your business plan from the beginning all the way to the financing plan.  It’s easy to get carried away while writing because you’re excited about your business and finding startup funding. This can lead to the use of a lot of superlatives that make your business plan look like a lot of hype without substance.

Polish the Product

As a entrepreneur you are not a huckster, so the business plan should not make you look like the equivalent of a snake oil salesman. The business plan that makes a lot of wild promises is not going to attract equity partners. Unsubstantiated claims will not get you approval for business loans. Statements that portray you as a gambler will turn angel investors away.

Business plans should be polished products that are consistently honest and give the right impression throughout the entire document. You can’t write a plan that is sassy and reckless and then expect venture capital funding to be approved because you decide to get serious in the section on financing.

Payment and Plan in Full

Polishing business plans also means making sure the plan is complete. You are in a hurry to get your plan done and to find financing, but a condensed plan won’t get you anything except rejected and especially when looking for startup funding.  Business plans prepared for venture capital firms or equity partners need to contain all of the important information about your business.  The same thing is true for angel investors. If your plan is missing essential information including marketing plan details or financial projections or only summarizes an operational plan, then the assumption will be you have not bothered to work through these details.

The original business plans that entrepreneurs use to find business funding need to be comprehensive plans that are consistent and always keep potential investors in mind. It never pays to skip the details.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com. it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept. If you need to access a network of angel investors or business plans for start-up funding visit  Funded.com

Funding Your Own Business

Say you are planning to have a business and, furthermore, you know the know-how to bring it into development.  The only thing you are losing is the cold money to get started.  What are your options?

Suppose you do not have a ready line of credit, an extensive bank administrator, rich family members or a significant store of retirement savings you are willing to risk, you are going to have to do some serious preparation and hard work.  Luckily, there are a number of sources of finance for the Business startup owner, at least one of which may be right for you.

SBA LOANS

Available only to U.S.-based businesses (but if you are outside the US you can look for something that has a similar program), the SBA (the U.S. Small Business Administration) has served a large number of business owners begin their own Business.  The SBA does not issue resources (money you do not have to pay back) or create financial loans straight, rather, it assures financial loans made by personal loan organizations thereby decreasing or removing the danger natural in new organizations and making loan organizations more willing to offer.

The main concern for the SBA is reimbursement ability from the income of the company as well as “good personality, control ability, security and owner’s equity”.  You will be expected to individually assure your mortgage.  This implies your personal belongings are at risk.

As for the types of organizations qualified for SBA financial loans, the SBA enforces the following criteria: the company must be “for-profit” (it only indicates that your company has a revenue reason, not that it has actually produced a revenue yet), ), be engaged in business in the United States, there must be “reasonable” owner equity (what’s reasonable will depend on the circumstances) and you are expected to use alternative financial resources first, including your own personal belongings.

The SBA also enforces restrictions on the use of loan proceeds. For example, although the proceeds can be used for most company requirements (the cases given by the SBA include “the purchase of real estate to house the company operations; development, remodelling or leasehold improvements; getting furniture, furnishings, equipment; buy of inventory; and operating capital”), you cannot use the loan proceeds for financing floor-plan needs, to pay current financial debt, to create expenses to the business owners or to pay past due taxes etc.

As a common concept, loans for working capital must be repaid within seven years and loans for fixed assets must be paid for by the end of the economic life of the assets (but not to exceed 25years).

ANGEL INVESTORS

Angel Investors are good spirits with a healthy sense of self-interest. Determining they can get a higher come back if they are ready to take a bit of a risk, they are also often effective business owners themselves and want to give other a hand up. Think of financing from angel investors as a link or gap-filler between being a start-up and preparing for venture capital.  The kinds of money we’re referring to here are between about$150,000 and $1.5million.  Beyond this point you are in low venture-capital area. The SBA reports that there are around 250,000 angels in the U.S., financing about 30,000 organizations a year.  So, how do you connect with one?  Not a easy task, unfortunately.  It comes down to networking.  Begin by speaking with professional and business associates – they will often know someone who knows someone etc..  However, we at funded.com can help you in this.

VENTURE CAPITAL

You’re in the big teams now.  Usually you are in the ballpark of millions (of money that is) rather than a thousand.  Venture Capital organizations look for their return on investment from capital appreciation rather than interest (unlike banks, for example).  They’re generally looking for a return of 500-1,000% on exit. It will not shock you to learn that vc’s are particularly hesitant of internet-based organizations right about now and not surprising.  It also provides them right.  But if you have a powerful Business Plan and powerful development potential, this could be an option for you longer term.

One of the common issues about this form of financing, however, is that you have a limited control over your business. Venture Capital usually wants to have control on your business, in return for their risk. A venture capitalist will have to seat as a board member, for example. Always remember, that it’s in the vc’s best passions for your company to be successful, so providing up some control in return for outside skills may well be something worth thinking about.

For this, your best bet would be to begin out by analyzing the various loan program provided via the SBA (or your local equivalent).  But do not ignore, close to home sources first.  If you have household resources at your convenience (for example) and you are assured that your business will be effective (and unless you’re assured about that, don’t get into financial debt with *anyone*, let alone household members), better to begin out slowly and convenience into outside sources of financing as your company (and, furthermore, your company’s cashflow) can support it.  After all, Uncle Jack is much more likely to know about the temporary income meltdown than Uncle Sam.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at www.funded.com Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website.

Business Plan Mistakes to Avoid

Writing your business plan is probably one of the most important business duties you will assume. If you follow a quality business plan template you will cover the basics of the plan, but there are still common mistakes made by entrepreneurs that hurt their cause. It is reminiscent of the teacher in school who gave you the parts of the essay for easy outlining and then marks points off because the essay is too long or too boring.

Following are some of the most common errors made in business plans. Some of them are simple errors, but that doesn’t minimize their importance. Other are mistakes usually made due to lack of experience. Either way, these mistakes can hurt the effectiveness of the overall business plan.

  • Including more than one business model in the false belief that more information and more strategies are always better (not true!)
  • Lacking cohesiveness throughout the business plan
  • Difficult to read due to illogical or poor layout (another reason to use a business plan template)
  • Including unsupported projections or estimates
  • Not fully analyzing the competition
  • Failing to prepare all required sections of a business plan (making your plan look amateurish or as if you are hiding something)
  • No value proposition separating your business from the competition
  • Not letting anyone else read your business plan and provide feedback before submission
  • Making the business plan difficult to read because it is written using mostly hard-to-understand industry or discipline terms (i.e. your funder may not know much about technology so using technical jargon will make the plan too difficult to understand)
  • Showing lack of understanding of the niche market to be served

These are certainly not the only mistakes, but they are some of the most common. You want to avoid writing a business plan that is too long and tedious, is not well written, and is boring. Though funders are often professionals looking for the next great business investment opportunity, they are also human. Grammatical errors and boring prose can quickly discourage anyone reading the business plan. It seems your essay teacher was right all along.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at www.funded.com Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website.

Business Plans Need to Incorporate Best Practices

In a sense, ‘best practices’ is a euphemism for business plans. Developing business plans is critical to success because it is focused on what makes a business successful. The term best practices is tossed about quite a bit, but what does it specifically mean for a business plan?

The business plan best practices means building a convincing case that your company is an excellent proposition that efficiently and effectively serves the market by providing products and services that the market will embrace. The primary way the business case is built is by differentiating the business in some manner. The business plan must leave no doubt as to why the company is selling particular items and how those items will appeal to the target market.

Forward Thinking

To determine the best practices for marketing, the competition must be thoroughly analyzed. The analysis is not just a case of listing competitors selling similar products or services. The competition must be assessed as to what it is doing now to succeed and how it plans on succeeding in the future. In other words, best practices are forward thinking, and the plan preparer does not get mired down by focusing only on the past. In addition, businesses that can easily become competitors need to be considered also.

A best practice in business plan development is to develop a thorough understanding of competitor specifics. Exactly what sets your competitors apart? Each company has something unique about its products, marketing strategies, management, customer service practices, or product and service delivery. You need to understand these differences in detail to position your company correctly.

It can be fatal to underestimate the competition as many businesses have learned. Even seasoned companies like RIM and Blockbuster found themselves struggling to survive because they failed to understand what the competition was offering the niche market. Your goal in the business plan is prove the competition is not addressing a problem you are able to solve, and then develop a strategic marketing plan to implement your particular solution.

Honesty Counts

In addition, best practices in business plans dictates establishing realistic financial goals. A new business will need to make a profit with a couple of years in most cases in order to remain viable. Projecting unreasonable sales or underestimating expenses will be detected by experienced angel investors, banks, venture capitalists and equity funders. There must be evidence or documentation that the business plan marketing and financial goals make sense based on industry performance. You can project sales and expenses for brand new products and services, but they still need to be based on market research.

There are many other best practices that include developing a flexible business plan and analyzing best case/worst case scenarios. Ultimately, the business plan is about honesty – honest descriptions, honest research, honest analysis and honest assumptions.

Browse www.funded.com for more advice about getting your business funded.

Business Plans and Benchmarking

Benchmarking can be an important concept in business plans. Benchmarking comparisons can be used to compare your business goals to the domestic or foreign competition. The comparisons can show how your business idea is viable in comparison to other successful businesses. The benchmarking can make your business plan more credible and prove that you have identified the best practices for marketing products and services.

The benchmarking process has one ultimate goal which is to evaluate your current competitive position. It is a method for taking your focus on the internal business to the external environment. How does your business fit in the industry? Are you competing locally, nationally or internationally? How have other businesses achieved success, and what will you do the same or differently to achieve excellent performance? If performance gaps are apparent between your business and the competition, what are the plans to close the gap? How will you measure success?

There are different ways to perform benchmarking analysis. You can review the marketing strategies other companies have used to succeed, compare products or services, complete a functional analysis to identify where you are innovative, and so on. In reality, you can benchmark in any way that makes sense for your particular business in terms of market performance.  Business success requires serving a niche market more efficiently and innovatively than the competition. If you don’t understand how successful competitors have performed, then you have no comparative information for competitive assessment.

Benchmarking is an important step in business plans. Before starting the analysis, the first step is to identify the most logical type of benchmarking. From that point on, it’s a matter of research and then identifying the best practices that suit your business.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at www.funded.com Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website.

Polishing Business Plans

Developing business plans takes time, effort and patience. It is a plan for success, no matter how you define success. The business plan can be used to find funding for a start-up or expansion, or to guide an existing business. Some people think the business plan is only needed when searching for financing, but that is faulty thinking. The business plan forces business owners and managers to define goals and then make plans to meet them within a set of circumstances that include competition.

Following are some tips for refining your business plan. The business plan template is the best guide available to ensure that all elements are completed. These tips will simply add a bit of polish to the plan.

 

  1. Do the Executive Summary last and not first. The summary needs to concisely state the nature of your business. The best way to ensure the important information is included despite the brevity of the summary is to develop the plan details first. In that way, the Executive Summary is much easier to develop.
  2. Market strategies are more than just numbers and some statements defining the market. It should also define what makes your selling proposition different from that of your competitors.  What does your business bring to the marketplace that is different in terms of products or services, customer services, selling approach and so on? A polished business plan emphasizes uniqueness.
  3. In the competitive analysis, don’t simply describe the competition. You need to explain the distinct advantage your business has over the competition. Once again, the polished business plan makes differences and not sameness clear.
  4. In the operations plan, don’t forget to discuss the benefits that your business will bring to the community. This has become especially important in light of the current economic condition. Will your business opportunity create new jobs or support economic growth?

 

In the final analysis, polishing business plans means adding the information that turns a paper business into a real business for the readers.

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at www.funded.com Created by Mark Favre, it offers expertise and assistance with developing and funding your concept, including a private forum for queries and discussions. If you need access to investors and funding providers, please do check our website.

When Opportunity Knocks, the Business Plan Can Answer

Business plans can be viewed in a lot of ways, but in some cases they represent a plan to answer an opportunity. A business opportunity is basically a packaged business that you can start but is not necessarily a franchise. Unlike a franchise, a packaged business is fully controlled by you, and the seller has no say in how you operate your business. Once the business sale is completed, the buyer is on his or her own. The business purchase includes buying equipment or specialized materials and then establishing whatever type of operations you want.

When a business opportunity comes along, it is important to thoroughly evaluate it, of course. There are unfortunately a lot of scam artists who promise big returns if you will only make the initial investment. A good example is a cabinet company that promised business owners enormous returns for redoing cabinet faces. An investment basically bought you a manual and a half day of training. That may be enough for some people, but for others it was a plan for failure. The company was taking advantage of people desperate to get a side business started.

Review From All Angles

The business plan template can be used to ensure you evaluate the business opportunity from every angle. Naturally, you want to ensure the business is legitimate, follows state laws and regulations, and can support its claims with a list of others who have bought the opportunity. If it passes the first review, then use the business plan template as a guide for further evaluation.

For example, in the market strategies section you would be guided towards doing research on the niche market the business opportunity would target, the type of strategies that would be most successful, and the competition. The template can help you make sure that you consider all the important business factors before investing.

Evaluating a business opportunity after it has been purchased is not a good idea. The evaluation needs to be thorough before the opportunity is purchased. The business plan template is the best guide you can use.

Browse www.funded.com for more advice about getting your business funded.