I and a friend of mine are working on our own web startup. Right now we are coding the whole thing and would be looking for investors 3-4 months down the line. My question is, can we include our own personal expenses in the funding requirement that I ask from angel/VCs?
We are both fresh grads; he is about to complete his undergrad in CS and I am about to complete my MBA (have no prior work ex). So we have no savings to dig into and I have a huge education loan to pay back. Which is why we are both taking up jobs for the time being and would work on the side on the startup and quit our jobs once we get funding, which can only happen once our startup gets some traction.
So whatever funding our startup gets must cover our living expenses (and my loan expenses).
So my question is, would a VC/angel agree to that? And how do I present it to a VC/angel?
I think a few might, but most probably aren't going to be very interested in it. When someone invests in a company, they're typically looking to invest in the future of the company, not its past or the past of the founders. They aren't wanting to pay off your student loan debts or the debts that you've accumulated while building the startup.
In fact, all of that unpaid time and the money you've spent educating yourself (student loan debts, etc.) is what justifies you having equity in the company in the first place. It would seem to me that if you're hoping for an investor to pay off your personal expenses, it turns it into a situation where the investor is paying you like an employee. And employees don't get equity. Or at least, not much. That early, unpaid effort on your part is what justifies your share of the equity. If you really want to go that route, I'd suggest you make it very obvious to any investors (in verbal discussions, on balance sheets, or wherever it makes sense) that you intend on having a chunk of their money go to back payments like this. You don't want to surprise them with that kind of information.
To be clear, funding you get from investors might be able to go to salaries, from the time of investment on. But in most cases, it won't go to pay you back for all of the hours you've put in so far, and even more so, for student loans. That's a personal liability, which shouldn't belong to the company.
So my question is, would a VC/angel agree to that?Yes. It happens sometimes.
And how do I present it to a VC/angel?Include your living expenses clearly in your financial forecasts.
You should be aware this will make your position more difficult. VCs will be much more likely to invest in companies where the founders have invested their own capitol too. It shows commitment. Try and bootstrap as much as possible before asking for funding. If you can show some real customers you will have more of a chance of getting funding.