Investors & Funding posts

The Toptal Finance Blog covers all facets of finance, ranging from detailed strategies on raising capital to in-depth coverage of new finance trends and technologies.
Great Recent Examples of Competitive Strategy Successes

Competitive strategy frameworks are widely known and mainstays of university curricula, despite being almost 40 years old. We often hear the stories of Walmart and Southwest Airlines, but what modern examples are there? In this article we use Michael Porter’s activity positioning framework to show successful applications of competitive strategy from modern digital companies.

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Why More Entrepreneurs are Choosing To Build Search Funds over Startups

Search funds, though once an esoteric asset class and model for entrepreneurship, have seen a substantial rise in popularity in recent years. They can often represent a superior alternative to the venture-backed startup route especially for a select cohort of formally trained entrepreneurs, most of all those who deeply understand their motives, risk appetites, and contextual/financial encumbrances.

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Cybersecurity: What Every CEO and CFO Should Know

$7.35 million. That’s the average cost of a data breach is. Sure, cybersecurity isn’t sexy. However, in today’s digital age, it is undeniably critical for large corporations and small startups alike. This is compounded by the fact that hacks are becoming commonplace.

Read on to arm yourself with awareness to these invisible threats, and tangible steps you can take to protect yourself and your company.

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Demystifying Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain, and ICOs

Despite significant advancements, cryptocurrencies remain highly controversial; while some tout it as “the next internet,” others view Bitcoin as “evil.” At their simplest, they are the newest fintech fad; yet at their most complex, they’re a revolutionary technology challenging the political and social underpinnings of society. This article will demystify cryptocurrencies’ appeal, its complex underlying technology, and its value. It will also examine the accounting and regulatory, and privacy issues surrounding the space.

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Should We Rethink the Use of EBITDA?

EBITDA is one of the most common metrics in finance. However, while intended to provide a “cleaner” picture of operating performance than net income, in reality it often achieves the opposite effect. It is also in many cases a questionable proxy for cash flow, as well as a dubious valuation tool.

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Why Investors are Irrational, According to Behavioral Finance

Though traditional economic theory posits that individuals are rational, we all know this to be an oversimplification of the truth. The cyclical investment process is rife with psychological pitfalls. Only by becoming aware of and actively avoiding innate behavioral biases can investors reach impartial decisions. Herein lies the true value of the emerging field of behavioral finance, which sheds light on true financial behavior.

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How Artificial Intelligence Is Disrupting Finance

As consumers, we’re familiar with AI: we benefit from cars that parallel park themselves, devices that respond when asked questions, and streaming platforms that suggest shows we may like. However, professionally, the larger question is how industries will harness the power of AI. In finance, AI offers opportunities for operational efficiencies in everything from risk management and trading to insurance underwriting.

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Experts’ Corner: Pitch Deck Tips for Fundraising Success

Fundraising, for companies at any stage, is undoubtedly a challenging process. Even for seasoned entrepreneurs and startups already experiencing market traction, a compelling pitch and accompanying pitch deck are still necessary. While there is variance around stylistic delivery of the pitch and aesthetic of the deck itself, you might be relieved to hear that the infamous pitch deck boils down to a formula.

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Advanced PowerPoint Presentation Tips & Hacks

Many have a love-hate relationship with PowerPoint presentation design. While extremely flexible, the tool can also be manual and tedious. Remove some of the friction with these advanced PowerPoint presentation tips and tricks, as provided by a former management consultant. Whether you’re designing a pitch deck or communicating your analysis to internal stakeholders, these hacks will enable you to quickly build engaging, creative presentations.

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The Greek Debt Crisis Explained

After several months of relative quiet, Greece is back in the spotlight as the latest repayment deadline on its bailout debt comes due in July. We take the opportunity to review the root causes of the crisis, what has been happening since it kicked off, and what needs to be done to resolve the situation.

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Is a Cashless Society the New Reality?

A cashless society is approaching, with progress particularly pronounced in certain parts of the world. This piece examines global payment trends, as well as benefits and drawbacks of a cashless economy. It also includes case studies on India and Sweden, two countries already transitioning to a cashless future.

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The State of Fintech in 2017

The financial services industry is seeing a wave of innovation that is bringing with it new technology, but also a need to attract and develop talent that have the skillset needed to operate in this changing environment. This article delves into some of the most important trends affecting the industry.

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SaaS Pricing Models - Pricing Strategy Examples and Best Practices

Pricing strategy is one of the most important financial levers that companies have at their disposal to influence the financial success of their business. However, it is not an easy task. This article analyzes SaaS software pricing strategies and finds that several of the operational characteristics of the business model generate some very useful pricing advantages that can help drive financial performance.

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Open Source Software - Investable Business Model or Not?

Open-source software is a catalyst for growth and change in the IT industry, and one can’t overestimate its importance to the sector. In recent years, there has been a surge in venture capital dollars pouring into the sector. In this article, we analyse whether recent valuations make sense, and whether the open-source model lends itself to the returns profile that venture capital investors look for.

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Term Sheet Templates - Clauses to Look Out For During Negotiation

Despite the large increase in resources aimed at helping founders navigate the fundraising process, many still struggle when it comes to particular term sheet clauses that can have unintended consequences if misunderstood.

These clauses can lead to founders losing control of their company or payout structures upon exit down the road, regardless of how much capital they succeeded in raising. This in-depth post by Toptal Finance Expert and VC Alex Graham fills the knowledge gap by breaking down the term sheet’s trickiest clauses and the implications thereof.

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Getting the Most from Equity Research - Lessons from a Former Research Analyst

Equity research provides a very useful function in our current financial markets. Nevertheless, the profession has come under fire in recent years.

In this post, Toptal Finance Expert Ryan Downie details how to utilize research reports more effectively. Additionally, he outlines the equity research’s main value for both sophisticated and retail investors and highlights the pitfalls of this profession, its causes, and how you should evaluate research in order to avoid these issues.

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The Party Isn’t Over: A Deep-Dive into Why Unicorns Will Bounce Back in 2017

Between 2013 and 2015, the number of Unicorns exploded to 140 members, marking an incredible growth spurt in valuations and positive sentiment toward the venture industry.

But after a rocky 2016, in which scandals, funding downrounds, and more cautious investor commentary emerged, many have questioned the validity of the sector’s valuations. With this backdrop, 2017 is shaping up to be a make-or-break year for the Unicorn Club. Is the party over?

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