Here's a good post by Jordan Cooper, providing some ballpark of what sort of company valuation you should look for at different stages of your company. Jordan is Brooklyn-based, so not from Silicon Valley, and yet I think it's fair to say that in most places other than SV, the scale shifts at least one notch against the entrepreneur (i.e. pre-product raises nothing and a prototype built and in the market might raise a hundred thousand pounds):
Here then, is a summary of the stages Jordan proposes:
- Still at your old job: $0. Quit your job before asking for investment.
- Pre-product: $2M. Raise $300-$700k.
- Prototype built and in the market: $3-4M. Raise $400k-$1M.
- Product in market and shows signs of growth or revenues: $variable, Raise $1-5M.