In the end, investment capital goes to enterprises. We can withdraw capital from enterprises that create harm, shift capital to enterprises that actively create good, or expand what enterprises have access to capital.
Who are the other investors? Are incentives aligned (for founders, employees, key partners, other investors)? Do key stakeholders have ownership? What is the debt to equity ratio? Is the company raising the necessary capital to fund future growth?
Who are the key competitors? Is the market for the company’s product or service well formed? Who is moving into this space and how well do they know the market? What is the company’s competitive edge?
Does the structure facilitate investment in the relevant geography? Does the organizational structure support the goals of the enterprise? What does the organizational chart look like? What is the structure and strength of the board of directors?
What are most likely exit scenarios for investors? Are the founders aligned with the investors around exit opportunity and timing? Who is leading thinking about exits?
Is there protectable IP in products, systems, service models? Are there patents or patent applications? Are trademarks of value? What is to stop competitors from taking the company’s core ideas?
Is the balance sheet, profit and loss, cash flow statement complete and up to date? What is the best use for the cash on the company’s balance sheet? What is the current cash flow and its seasonality? What are the models for revenue and costs?
How strong are the contracts with key suppliers, partners, staff, and other stakeholders? What legal or regulatory risks should investors know about? Is the company facing any pending litigation or disputes that could lead to litigation?
Does the company understand costs, revenues, billing, logistics, operational activities that run the business? Is technology handled appropriately, securely, efficiently? Are supplier relationships solid? Does the company have the right resources to run the operations?
Looking from founders, management, staff and board to key contractors and service firms, does the company have what it needs right now? How is the company culture supporting success? Can the company attract and retain talent?
Do you see where regulation is coming and are you ahead of your competition? Are the regulations in this industry changing soon? Do you have all the required regulatory and other government licenses, permits, and consents?
What are plans for customer acquisition and retention? What are the marketing and sales ratios in this industry and sector and for this business model? Do you have the resources needed to understand, to reach, and to sell into your market?
What does the product or service do that is of value? Have you proven that you can make, sell, deliver, charge for your product or services in the current market? Where is the market for this type of product or service headed?
What will drive the impact the company is seeking? How does the company measure its impact? What are the key indicators the company tracks? Are there potential unintended consequences of the business?