Strengthening the role of the government in the investment field at early stages of business development for giving impetus to the growth of the Russian innovative economy and providing its competitiveness is connected with forming and supporting the sowing funds, business accelerators, business incubators, science and technology parks. Despite the ongoing crisis, it is necessary to do systematic work on creating a system of startups whose value assessment requires specialized approach. It is especially complicated at the early stages of business when newly created firms have not reached profitability level. The purpose of the article is considering a technique for assessing the pre-investment cost of startups taking into account the Russian and world practice. Some methods are the basis for the estimative approach: scorecard, venture capital, Dave Berkus, risk factors summation. Their benefits and shortcomings, and algorithm of use are reflected in article. Moreover, the authors have illustrated the features of application for the startups which are not receiving a sufficient amount of profit, so it is not possible to estimate their costs by means of traditional methods of profitable and alternative approaches. The basic factors determining the cost are the quality of the managing team, the possibility of business growth, a competitive environment, the promotion of products/services, partnership, the need for additional investments. For searching the preliminary results of an assessment it is necessary to use three methods allowing to calculate the average cost. Besides, the article describes the order of eliminating the results considerably different from average sizes. As the activities connected with an assessment of startups are mostly in the heuristic sphere, the authors have emphasized the importance of collection and analysis of statistical information about venture funding at early stages of business development.