As a follow up to Common Investor Questions at The Atlanta Tech Village, one of the questions I received was why do investors have a hard time finding investment opportunities. There are a number of excellent startups with customers, management teams, and decent growth. Only, they can’t raise any money. What gives?

Just because the startup is making progress, without fast growth and a big market, most investors will pass. Fast growth is an indicator of product/market fit and latent demand for the product. Big markets present an opportunity to build a major business and generate out-sized returns. Investors often require both be present.

Most startups aren’t growing fast (> 50% year-over-year), even though they are a growth-oriented company (see the definition of a startup). They want to grow fast but haven’t achieved their goal. Most markets aren’t big enough to generate venture-like returns. Entrepreneurs pitch that their product serves a big market, but most of the time it’s a much smaller slice of the market.

Investors want fast growth and a big market. Startups that don’t have both rarely raise money.

What else? What are some more thoughts on fast growth and big markets as requirements to raise money?