Types of Investors for Startups

Written By:
February 15, 2024


In a competitive, everchanging business landscape, one’s understanding of the different types of investors is crucial to stand apart from competition between other startups and entrepreneurs. This involves understanding how one can tailor their fundraising practices to fit the type of investor they are looking for too- as each investor is in search of different types of projects and has unique risk and return preferences. However, it is most important to understand the different types of investors to try to identify which is the most suitable source for the specific startup and growth ideologies. As one gains a more nuanced understanding of the different investors out there, one can move on to improving their chances of securing said investment, even in a competitive environment.  

  1. Angel Investors

Angel Investors are investors looking to fuel early stage growth startups by not only providing capital, but also giving access to mentorship and other industry connections. Usually, such investors are wealthy individuals, with previous experience in business, looking to invest their personal wealth in promising opportunities in exchange for equity ownership in the startup. They are more risk-loving, and with their hands-on approach, are more than willing to fill the gap between informal funding, such as friends and family, and institutional funding.  

One of the most important financial benefits with angel investors is the lack of strict requirements for financing, whilst getting access to large amounts of capital. However, the drawbacks include potential loss of control and equity dilution. Companies such as Uber, Airbnb and Dropbox are among a few startups that owe their growth to angel investing.  

  1. Venture Capitalists

Venture Capitalists, or VCs, are able to support companies with funding, expertise and guidance. Like angel investors, they provide access to capital in exchange for equity ownership within the firm and look to accelerate growth and generate multiplied returns on investment.  

It is important to note that there exists a difference between early stage and late-stage VC funding, as the later focuses on scaling established firms, while early-stage funding looks to support startups in their infancy, with a greater focus on product development or market validation.  

  1. Accelerators

Accelerators are programs that focus on improving the growth of early-stage startups through a structured curriculum, mentorship and greater access to capital and other resources. The main goal remains to fast-track the company’s growth, with more care provided through mentorship and guidance. Apart from access to mentorship form industry experts, there is also great number of resources for capital, office space and outsourcing help. Additionally, participation in well-renowned accelerators can enhance credibility and validate the startup’s potential to consumers and other investors.  

  1. Incubators

Incubators are also programs designed to provide early-stage startups with resources, mentorship and physical workspaces. However, they differ from accelerators as they do not work with a company just for a fixed time frame- incubators are engaged in long-term support and nurturing of startups through various stages of growth. Early-stage companies get access to a range of support services, access to great funding opportunities and networking chances with professionals in the field. Additionally, incubators provide a community with like-minded entrepreneurs, and foster collaboration and growth.  

  1. Equity Investors

Equity investors provide capital in exchange for ownership stake in a company, and enable company to raise funds with incurring any debt. It is a pivotal type of investment for a lot of startups as it aligns with the long-term goals of a company, as well as that of investors, as they both get a share of profits.

  1. Corporate Investors

Corporate investors help provide startups with capital, partnerships and expertise in an industry. They offer greater access to resources and market opportunities to companies that would not otherwise be able to get such access. Additionally, corporate investors provide startups with valuable insights into market trends, product development and distribution channels which can accelerate growth. However, they could be certain challenges to such investors, including conflicts of interest, loss of autonomy and change of strategic goals.  

  1. Institutional Investors

These are groups that invest large sums of capital on behalf of other organizations or individuals. Some examples are pension funds, mutual funds, and hedge funds. They have access to a large amount of capital as well as industry expertise, allowing them to invest large chunks of capital in different asset classes. Usually, institutional investors have specific criteria that needs to be met with their investment opportunities, especially in terms of risk tolerance.  


Though there are numerous types of investors that startups could look at, when seeking funding, it is important to ensure the investors meet the needs of the startups to the best of their ability. Navigating such a tough business landscape can be made even tougher with such a diverse range of investors to choose from. By understanding the preferences and expectations of different investors, startups can increase their chances of success and growth!

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