From the January 2000 issue of Startups

How much is your business worth? Find out for as little as $100. Need a professional business plan? Now you can get one for only $150. Want your financial statements analyzed? Get it done for only $25. "No way," you say? "Way!" says VentureLine's MBA (My Business Analyst), an easytouse online service that provides established and start-up entrepreneurs with low-cost, high-level guidance and tools. In addition to a host of feebased services, VentureLine provides members with a variety of freebies, beginning with membership and culminating with a cadre of seasoned MBAlevel executives ready to answer business questions via e-mail within 24 hours.

For members seeking funding and/or strategic alliance partners, VentureLine helps match entrepreneurs with investors for a set fee of $200 for a 90day listing. No finder's fees, no stock options, no additional charges. "We don't cater only to hightech or other hot industries," says Peter McCracken, founder of VentureLine. "Rather, we have created an arena in which all businesses compete for funds on a level playing field. Our investor members from around the world review the listings and determine which ventures to invest in."

The three business executives who started VentureLine, based in Danville, California, took the best financial tools and fundraising methodologies taught in business schools and integrated them into a Web site, says McCracken, a hightech specialist who earned his MBA at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. "MBA management consultants are hard to find, and the good ones demand fees well outside the reach of the average business owner," he contends. "We provide entrepreneurs with an opportunity to get affordable guidance--solutions to executive, marketing, financial and operating challenges. It's confidential, in plain English and costs little or nothing."

Fee services include the following:

  • Business plan generator with a financial-analysis engine.
  • Business-valuation engine using the 11 leading valuation methods.
  • Financial-analysis engine comparing your financial results with those of other companies and with your industry.
  • Analysis of any industry over the past five years, including industry ratios.

In addition to the business services, VentureLine offers free tools to help with your personal financial life. Questions and calculations help you instantly get answers to financial questions related to insurance, retirement, budgeting, investing, home purchase and more.

"Startups often waste time and money on avoidable trial and error," McCracken says. "VentureLine focuses on what is required to establish a business and efficiently take it through its growth stages. For example, many entrepreneurs don't fully understand the requirements of a business plan, or they find it difficult to verbalize their vision. VentureLine's interview process [lets us] document the concept and structure of an inclusive business plan that meets the needs of investors. The preanalyzed business plan is displayed online, and a printed copy is provided to the entrepreneur."

For details, visit www.ventureline.com


Paul deCeglie is a former staff reporter for Journal of Commerce and American Banker.