How to value startups at the seed stage?

Eqvista | Cap Table & Valuations
5 min readJun 14, 2022


You’ve heard a lot about startups and how they have become an increasingly popular way to start businesses over the last few years. But before you start to invest in your startup, you’ll want to know what it takes to value them at the seed stage. There are a number of different approaches that you can use in valuing a startup. All of these approaches rely on some degree of estimation and guesswork while still providing valuable insight into the seed-stage valuation. Understanding the different approaches to value is the first step toward a successful startup valuation. In this article, we’ll look at the various approaches to value startups at the seed stage.

How to value startups at the seed stage?

It’s best to work with someone who has done value analyses before if you want to pick their brains. To put it upfront, valuation is a complex subject that cannot be learned by reading papers, blogs, or other case studies. However, they may assist you in understanding certain concepts with valuation, so always seek professionals to get it done precisely.

A startup valuation is a way to arrive at an approximation of the value of a firm that is still in the early stages of its development. Typically, startups are valued by a professional valuation firm or an experienced industry individual. At a seed stage, you’re not sure of the company’s overall value. However, to get to a valuation at this stage, you need to estimate some aspects and numbers that could be considered very important in determining the company’s value. These include the growth potential, future cash flows,, and other key metrics used to determine a firm’s value. Once you have estimated these aspects, you can then draw up a valuation that is likely to be valid in the current stage of development.

Note: Using multiple startup valuation methods, approaches, and peer-reviewed references, as well as knowledge of your industry, will help you to come up with an accurate and realistic valuation of your company.

Image Credits: Crunchbase

Seed funding was the strongest round of funding over the past month, with $3.1 billion invested in early-stage companies last month. Surprisingly, seed funding grew 11% versus the average $2.8 billion invested in seed monthly in 2021.

What is the Seed Stage, and how do we get it done along with valuation?

The seed stage is characterized by a new company that is just beginning to get off the ground.

The seed-stage refers to the initial stages of development for a startup. It’s generally accepted that the seed stage is about securing funding for the company and carrying out initial testing and prototyping. These initial stages are often the most important, as they prove that there is a market for the company’s product or service. Learn more about the process of setting up seed funding here.

You should also be aware of the different approaches and how to value a seed-stage company using these methods. Following are some of the most common methods that are used at the seed stage:

Scorecard Valuation Method: This is a quick and easy approach that allows you to value a startup in a short time. By using the valuation denominated of comparable companies, you can determine value based on the scorecard’s valuation rules. Rating the company in terms of the business model, client base, marketing strategy,, and other factors that are set out on the scorecard, you can compare your company to similar firms and provide value-based ratings.

Discounted Cash Flow Method: To be able to value a startup, this method requires you to predict the company’s cash flow and discount this using a certain rate known as the discount rate. In essence, the basic concept of DCF is that the firm uses a set of cash flow assumptions to produce a value. These cash flow assumptions may include the annual growth rate and the cost of capital. In this method, the future cash flow projection should be carefully examined.

Note: With prior experience, a seasoned DCF specialist can easily execute this task. So your best option is to go with #3 because you don’t have the time to go through and study and do all that junk. The Net Free Cash Flow Model is used to create a DCF model. This is a lengthy, step-by-step process that only a team of professionals could possibly understand. This is not a ‘plug’ problem; it is a complicated request. The process of creating a five-year prediction necessitates extensive assumption-making and analysis. It is possible to cover material that requires a grasp of statistical models, risk, etc. if you choose the discount factor, get in touch with an expert!

Cost to Duplicate: This method requires you to examine the cost of building a similar startup in order to find the potential value. This is done by taking into account the expenses and all the overheads that were incurred in building the business. The analysis should be thorough, factoring in the costs of all the important elements that contributed to starting the business. While a low cost to duplicate signifies a low potential value, a high one can indicate a significant future value for the company.

Venture Capital Method: This method is mostly used by professional valuation firms and venture capitalists. Using this method, the exit or terminal value is estimated based on the company’s growth and the rate at which it will be acquired or merged. The components contributing to the value include revenue growth, future earnings, and existing market size. In this method, the analysis tends to be based on a number of factors that are specific to a single startup.

Risk Factor Summation Method: In this method, the various risks that might affect the startup’s future growth are put together and then quantified. These include revenue risk, operational risk, market competition, management risk, political risk, technological risk, etc. Each risk is graded as low, moderate,, or high in order to arrive at an overall risk score. Thus, by determining the likelihood of each risk and its impact on the company’s value, you can draw up a more realistic valuation for your startup.

Berkus Method: The method led by Dave Berkus relies on five key factors that can determine value. These include the sound idea, product prototype, quality of the management team, strategic relationships, and initial sales. As per Berkus, the foundation of a startup is based on these five factors, while each of these factors needs to be analyzed in-depth and valued accordingly. The value of these five factors can then be added up to arrive at a single value for the startup.

So, now that you know how to value a startup for seed funding and the various methods that are used to value a startup at the seed stage. By using multiple approaches and consulting a professional valuation firm, you can arrive at the most accurate valuation and take your business to the next level.

Eqvista is here to help you with every step of the startup valuation process. The team of Eqvista has built up a reputation for providing quality services to startups and investors with utmost professionalism. You can trust us to get you an absolute accurate valuation of your startup.



Eqvista | Cap Table & Valuations