7 Types of Startup Funding You Need to know

Written By:
March 17, 2024

For startups, raising funds in the preliminary stages is a major step, with the never-ending types of different fundings available. It can turn into an overwhelming experience, but it boils down to looking at what your company needs and trying to find the most suitable option to drive growth.  

What Is Startup Funding?

Startup funding refers to the process of raising capital for a newly established business. It's a critical stage in a startup's life cycle, providing the necessary resources to launch, scale, and grow the business. It is essential for covering initial costs, scaling operations, and achieving milestones that attract further investment.  

There are various types of startup funding, each with unique characteristics and benefits. Here are the 7 most common types of startup funding:

1. Angel Investors

Though Angel Investors are ubiquitous in the start-up financing world, it can be hard to understand the dynamics through which they play a crucial role in this ecosystem. Angel investors are usually wealthy individuals who risk their own money to invest in startups, mostly in exchange for ownership stake in the firm or convertible debt.  

In addition to providing financial support to startups, angel investors also contribute their expertise and industry networks. They often become great mentors for the founders. Their roots and connections in the industry can help companies grow at an accelerated pace, while their subject expertise allows founders to find help with much ease.  

Angel Investors are especially important to early-stage financing for startups due to their accessibility. They can offer great access to capital and finance as they do not have any corporate hierarchy affecting their decision-making, it is simply their own due diligence that plays a role in their decision.  

It is important to note that as angel investors are investing their own money, they look for opportunities that can provide potentially high returns on investment or tend to not take on extremely risky projects, however it varies from investor to investor.

2. Series Funding

Series funding involves different rounds of financing that startups go through to raise capital from investors at various stages of their development. Here is a detailed explanation of each series:

  • Seed Funding: This is the initial stage where startups receive their first significant injection of capital, typically between $500,000 and $2 million. It helps in developing the concept or idea and can come from sources like angel investors, venture capital firms, or startup accelerators.
  • Series A Funding: After the seed round, Series A funding is sought to further develop products, expand market reach, and scale up operations. The investment amount ranges from $2 million to $15 million, with a typical valuation between $10 million and $15 million. Typically, at this stage, investors tend to be venture capitalists.
  • Series B Funding: Following Series A, this round aims at scaling operations, expanding market reach, and developing products or services. The investment typically ranges from $7 million to $10 million, with a valuation between $30 million and $60 million. Venture capital firms are common investors in Series B.
  • Series C Funding: Companies at this stage have achieved significant growth, solidified their customer base, and may be close to profitability. Series C funding is used to expand into new markets, acquire other businesses, or develop new products. The investment can range from tens of millions to hundreds of millions of dollars, with a valuation usually between $100 million and $120 million.

3. Venture Capital

Venture Capital (VC) has garnered a lot of attention recently, but at its core, it is a form of financing that focuses on early-stage companies that are riskier but have high potential for growth.  

Venture Capitals provide investments to startups from a pool of money that is gathered from diverse sources, like affluent investors, institutions, or corporations. Their goal remains to get a significant return on their investments.  

Generally, Venture capitals look to invest in high growth firms or firms in disruptive industries- hence, we see prominent levels of investments from venture capitals in technology, fintech or biotech. It is important to note that their risk-loving nature is offset by their ambitious standards for potential returns.  

VC funding often follows a multiple round process, which begins with seed-funding for early-stage companies, then followed by consecutive rounds as the company grows. Each subsequent round often includes the issuance of new equity!

Venture capitalists not only provide the startups with large investment, but also could be mentors and provide access to intangible resources such as their vast networks and subject expertise in different industries, which can help startups gain a competitive edge.  

4. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding platforms allow startups to raise small amounts of money from many people, typically via online campaigns in exchange for rewards, equity, or debt. These platforms enable entrepreneurs to present their ideas to a broader audience, potentially attracting supporters who share similar interests or goals. Crowdfunding campaigns can also generate buzz, market validation, and early customer feedback, making it a strategic tool for launching products, building a community, and gauging market interest.

5. Bootstrapping

Bootstrapping is a method of self-financing where entrepreneurs use their personal savings, revenue generated from initial sales, or loans to fund their startup without external investors. It allows founders to maintain full control over their business decisions and avoid giving up equity. However, bootstrapping requires careful planning, resourcefulness, and patience since it may limit immediate growth opportunities.

6. Accelerators and Incubators

Accelerators and Incubators are programs that help support early-stage startups, not only financially but also through cultivating their business overall.  

One of the most important benefits from these programs is providing access to a vast network of resources and usually receiving equity in return. Joining these programs allows founders access to mentors who are industry experts and provide insightful advice and guidance through the tumultuous business landscape. They also often host networking nights or pitch events to further provide resources to the founders and improve the chances of being successful in the industry.  

Accelerators usually offer short-term support for a fixed period, as well as seed funding. However, incubators offer support for longer periods and often include infrastructure or office space.

7. Friends and family

Friends and family funding is a common way of funding for startups, especially in pre-seed funding rounds. It involves raising funds through personal relationships including relatives, friends, or close mentors.  

The accessibility of such funding is what sets it apart. Unlike all the other types of funding, friends and family are often likely to not follow strict due diligence processes, but rather invest based on their trust levels or personal relations. They would like to support the founders’ vision or believe in their passion and would be willing to skim over the financial returns involved. The emotional aspect of this funding is what makes it a reliable source for pre-seed funding.  

However, it can be a tricky road down the line. Without clear communication and some formal etiquette, it can take a turn downhill in no time. Though they often invest with some levels of emotional attachment to the idea or the founders, there must be transparent communication about the business, as well as legal documentation or contracts for the investment. This can help prevent misunderstandings or arguments.  

Bottom Line

While there are more types of fundings out there, these 7 stand out for several reasons. It is important for founders to do their own research to see what suits their startup the best by understanding their needs and then looking at what can best develop their startup to its maximum potential. With an ever-evolving business landscape, securing the best financing can be what separates a successful startup from others!

Startup Funding FAQs  

1. What are some examples of startup funding?

Startup funding can come from various sources such as angel investors, venture capitalists, crowdfunding platforms, accelerators, loans, grants, and personal savings. Each source offers unique advantages and considerations for startups seeking financial support.  

2. How do startups get funding?

Startups acquire funding through different methods including pitching to investors, applying for accelerators or incubators, launching crowdfunding campaigns, seeking loans, or securing grants. The process involves presenting a compelling business case, demonstrating growth potential, and aligning with the investor's criteria.

3. How long does it take to get funding in a startup?

The timeline for securing funding in a startup can vary significantly based on factors like the funding source, the startup's stage of development, the complexity of the business model, and the investor's decision-making process. It can range from a few weeks to several months (3 to 6 months), depending on the negotiations and due diligence involved.

4. What are the stages of startup funding?

Startup funding typically progresses through stages like Seed Funding, Series A, Series B, Series C, and potentially Series D and E. Each stage represents a different level of investment, valuation, and growth objectives, allowing startups to secure capital at various points in their development journey.

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