William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

Top 5 Ways to Invest in Startups

Startups are companies in their early development stages. These companies are yet to prove themselves and haven't generated substantial revenue yet.

However, because of their enormous growth potential, investing in startups offers the possibility for high returns that can lead to substantial earnings. But such securities can be volatile and requires a deep understanding of a startup and the industry in which it operates.

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

If you're considering startup investments as a way to achieve financial independence and build wealth, it's advisable to consult a trusted financial advisor who can assist you in conducting due diligence. Regardless of the industry or firm of interest, ensure you work with a financial professional who is licensed by the financial industry regulatory authority.

Experts who can provide you with topnotch guidance are accredited investors such as William Huston. He specializes in private equity and venture capital investments, and possesses the experience and expertise to make your startup investment journey potentially profitable.

Investopedia has consistently recognized Will as one of their top 100 advisors from 2021 through 2023. You can reach out to him today to get ahead in your startup investing journey.

If you're interested in investing in startup investments, this blog explores 5 practical ways you can consider.

Key Takeaways
  • Startup investing options include investing in VCs, using crowdfunding platforms, investing in local startups, buying existing startups, or purchasing stocks in a publicly traded company.
  • Pros of startup investing include high returns, diversification, access to innovation, and excitement, but cons involve high risk, lack of transparency, and illiquidity.
  • Startups usually take 2-3 years to become profitable, but timelines may vary. Hence, starting early, investing regularly, and diversifying your portfolio are good investing practices.
  • Always work with financial advisors to make informed decisions and ensure proper due diligence when managing your investments.

The contents of this article are for educational purposes only. They are not intended to be a source of professional financial advice. You will find experts on financial planning and financial management here.

The best ways to invest in startups

When it comes to investing in startups, there are several avenues to consider.

Invest with Bay Street
William Huston

While startup investments can yield significant returns, they require industry knowledge and historical information. Hence, the number one approach to startup investing is to collaborate with investment firms and accredited investors who specialize in startups, for example venture capital firms.

Despite their high volatility, venture capital investments are highly lucrative. A VC fund brings together funds from various private investors and is used by professional investors (venture capitalists) to invest in startups.

If you prefer to entrust your investments to professionals, consider working with Bay Street Capital Holdings, a firm that specializes in venture capital opportunities. They offer comprehensive investment services including conducting due diligence and drafting your investment contract. You can start a conversation with the chief investment officer for further guidance.

Crowdfunding investing

Crowdfunding platforms offer non accredited investors an opportunity to invest in startups, allowing them to contribute to projects they believe in. For individuals who do not have the income to meet the minimum requirements for private equity investments like startups, crowdfunding platforms allow them to take advantage of such lucrative investment opportunities.

Invest in neighborhood startups

It's important not to overlook the potential of startups in your local community or city. Take the time to explore promising local startups, assess their performance, and consider investing in them.

Alternatively, you can be an angel investor in your friend's startup. Angel investors are private investors who make direct investment into startups. You can explore the option of investing in a startup run by a friend or acquaintance, lending support to their entrepreneurial journey.

Some angel investors bring their expertise, networks and mentorship to the investment alongside capital. Beyond money, you too can provide research-based knowledge, encouragement, and other forms of support to family, friends, or neighbors who are founders.

Buy startups
investors completing an acquisition

An alternative path in the realm of startup investments is to consider acquiring an already established startup. This means obtaining ownership and full control of an existing business that has passed its initial stages of development.

This approach offers several advantages. For example, it allows you to step into a venture that has already made strides in the market, potentially reducing some of the uncertainties associated with brand-new startups.

When you buy an existing startup, you get to use what the business already has, like its assets, customers, and how it works. This gives you a strong starting point to make the business grow and come up with new ideas. It's a smart move that lets you be more involved in where the startup is headed and helps it reach its full potential.

Buy when the company goes public with an IPO

Lastly, when a startup becomes a publicly traded company (IPO), you can consider buying its stock, potentially benefiting from its growth in the public market.

Technically at this stage, a company is no longer a startup because IPO means the company is listed on the stock exchange, for the public to freely buy and sell shares.

This is a common approach for people to invest in startup companies. Likewise, these diverse approaches cater to various investment preferences and risk tolerance in the world of startup investments.

Pros and cons of startup investing

Considering both the upside and the downside of startup investing can also provide the right frame for entering the startup investing world. Let's look at a few.

Pros of startup investments
successful startup team

Potentially high returns

One of the most enticing advantages of startup investments is the potential for exceptionally high returns. If a startup experiences significant success and growth, early investors can reap substantial financial rewards, often far surpassing what traditional investments offer.


Startup investments provide an opportunity to diversify your investment portfolio. By allocating a portion of your capital to startups, you spread your risk across different asset classes, potentially reducing overall portfolio risk.

Access to new ideas

Investing in startups grants you access to novel and innovative ideas. Startups are often at the forefront of emerging industries and technologies, giving you a chance to be part of groundbreaking developments and trends that can shape the future.

Being a part of something exciting

Investing in startups lets you join the exciting world of entrepreneurship, where you can actively be a part of innovative ventures and make a difference beyond just making money.

Cons of startup investments
startup team facing challenges

High demand

While being part of a startup can be exhilarating and fulfilling, it can also be demanding and require substantial commitment and involvement, which may not suit all investors.

High risk

Perhaps the most significant drawback of startup investments is the high level of risk involved. Many startups fail, and investors in these ventures may lose their entire investment. It's crucial to be prepared for the possibility of such losses when venturing into startup investments.

Lack of transparency

Startups often operate with a degree of opacity compared to more established companies. Limited access to financial information and operational data can make it challenging to assess a startup's financial health and prospects accurately.


Investing in startups can lead to illiquidity, meaning that your capital may be tied up for an extended period. Unlike publicly traded stocks that can be easily bought or sold, startups may not offer the same level of liquidity, making it difficult to access your invested funds when needed.

Deciding if a startup is a good investment

investors performing due diligence

When determining whether a startup is a worthwhile investment, consider these crucial factors:

The business model

Begin by examining the startup's business model. Understand how it plans to generate revenue and whether the model is sustainable and scalable.

The team

Evaluate the startup's team, paying attention to their experience, expertise, and track record. A capable and cohesive team is often a strong indicator of potential success.

Market Opportunity

Assess the market opportunity the startup is targeting. Look at the size, growth potential, and competition within the market to gauge if there's ample room for the startup to thrive.


Consider the startup's traction in the market. Are they gaining customers, users, or clients? Positive traction can indicate demand for their product or service.


Analyze the startup's financials, including revenue, expenses, and profitability. It's essential to understand their financial health and growth trajectory.

Investment terms

Review the terms of the investment carefully. Understand the equity or ownership stake you'll receive, the valuation of the startup, and any potential rights or protections as an investor.

Exit strategy

Lastly, consider your exit strategy. These strategies outline what you'll do with your investment if the company faces difficulties or fails. Determine how and when you plan to realize your investment, whether through a sale, merger, or public offering.

By thoroughly examining these aspects, you can make a more informed decision about whether a startup is a sound investment opportunity.

How long before startups become profitable?

It's estimated that startups take about two to three years to become profitable. However, the timeline for achieving profitability can vary significantly based on factors such as initial costs and what type of business profitability you seek (dividends or capital compensations).

Some startups may generate profits right away, while others may require three years or even longer to start earning income. On the extreme end, conservative experts suggest a 7 to 10 year period for profitability.

Best practices for investing in startups

Startup investors are essentially purchasing a share of the company when they invest. They contribute capital in exchange for equity, which means they own a part of the startup and have rights to its potential future profits.

investors weighing their startup options

Here are some important principles to consider when investing in startups:

Have a plan: Work with a financial planner and develop a comprehensive investment plan that aligns with your objectives and risk tolerance.

Invest adequately: One of the most effective ways to build wealth is to save and invest enough funds today to achieve your long-term financial goals.

Start early: It is also essential to begin investing early. For example, you can take advantage of early investors equity by investing in startups in your local community or city.

Invest regularly: Moreover, consistent and frequent investments are just as crucial as starting early. Regular contributions to your investments can yield significant long-term benefits.

Diversify your portfolio: Likewise, it is important that you spread your investments across different assets to minimize risk and optimize returns.

A final word!

When investing in startups, it is important to conduct thorough research to ensure they fit well within your portfolio. Additionally, it's vital not to invest more than you can comfortably afford to lose. It is also essential to have exit strategies in place, especially for late-stage startups.

Financial advisors do not only offer good investment advice, they can do a better job conducting due diligence, for example, when looking into a company's financial records or their business strategies. It is always in your best interest to work with a financial advisor.

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Bay Street Capital Holdings, based in Palo Alto, is a well-known wealth management firm specializing in financial planning, investment advisory, and risk management services. What sets them apart is their unique approach, prioritizing overall risk management over profit maximization.

Founded by William Huston, a three-time Investopedia Top 100 Financial Advisor, Bay Street is one of only two Black-owned firms among nineteen recognized firms in California. Their collaboration with Resthaven Properties in real estate earned them recognition as a finalist in the prestigious Asset Managers: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion category at the 2023 WealthManagement.com Industry Awards.

Bay Street is committed to diversity, supporting emerging fund managers and entrepreneurs. They were also recognized as a finalist in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) category for Asset Manager in 2021, demonstrating their dedication to creating a positive social impact through a rigorous selection process involving over 900 nationwide firms.







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