Funding in a startup: Game of Thrones Style The drama can serve a lesson to startups guiding through various forceful struggles without having to rummage neighbors or competing startups.

By Lalit Bhagia

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Game of Thrones, a fantasy series on HBO is about conflicting decisions and how it impacts relationships and loyalties. The drama that unfolds across the seven kingdoms can serve a lesson or two to startups and emerging businesses guiding through various forceful struggles or crusades without having to rummage neighbors or competing startups. I kind of figure out the game akin to strategizing funding resources in six stages as below:

Stage 1: The Spartans
Starts from the Ideation: This is the very first stage wherein the business idea originates and the funding if bootstrapped is frugal or bare as the name suggests

Stage 2: The Co- Founder
Meets Jorah Mormont: Co-founder stage is the next stage where another competent entrepreneur takes part in the business and does half of the work and also invests the other half of the funding in the company. Princess Daenerys finds Jorah Mormont here.

Stage 3: The Lannisters Family
When in need, its Friends & Family: If the Co-founder and his investments don't suffice, it will be family and friends who will pool in and contribute by way of cash, jewelry or by joining as staff. As many characters (read hands) helps roll the drama further.

Stage 4: The Hound
One hunt or gets hunted, seed round it is: Now along with the Co-founder, family and friends stake an Angel (Investors) may pay a visit or a VC will knock at your door. The capital they provide can be a one-time booster shot of seed money or series of it to help carry the company through difficult times.

Just like the Hound in the Game of Thrones, investors help you crack the code. An "option pool' is also created at this stage which is like a piggy bank set aside for future employees.

Stage 5: Marching in of warriors
Series A Funding: At this stage the VCs or other investors may persuade more to contribute in his fund. The initial warriors or the early employees join the company. These are those warriors who have put in larger stakes in your company in the form of persistence, hardwork, time and energies. They also do not mind accepting low salaries along with stock options. These warriors will eventually help you win the game.

Stage 6: Repeat, it's a cycle of events
IPO Stage: Series A funding is followed by a couple of more series before the final stage of IPO Funding arrives i.e. with a small disclaimer that all business plans have carried well the way they were chalked down with no major hiccups and success has been warranted. After the company does the IPO, anyone can become an investor and then as the usual phrase that pops up is: "A Lannisters always pays his debts".

The stockholders should get the returns as the startup grows and matures after having battled it out!

Lalit Bhagia

Founder & CEO, Myrefers

Lalit Bhagia is the Founder & CEO of  Myrefers, a referral based jobs marketplace that has it’s own big data engine wherein natural language processing, contextual data analysis and a lot more is used in order to find best suited candidates for CXO level jobs. He was formerly associated as VP & Head- Digital for Star TV and had also built Digitas (Publicis Groupe) across APAC, serving as the EVP & Head - APAC. 

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