Startup funding can be an overwhelming topic for new business owners, who often struggle to understand the options when it comes to venture capital. To help you out, we’ve put together our ultimate guide to startup funding stages. We hope this information will help you to secure the funding you need to make launching your business a success.
Zero to One
by Peter Thiel
⏱ 15 minutes reading time
🎧 Audio version available
Pre-seed funding has become a more common stage within the last few years, offering you the chance to secure funding early on and hire your first employees. It’s a round within venture capital funding that is usually the first step for startups, with the amount you may raise during this time varying depending on your business needs. This type of funding follows a typical B2B sales process, where you will talk to investors and pitch to them about your product or service.
Pre-seed funding generally lasts between about 12 and 18 months, which will give you enough time to hit your business goals and ensure you are set up for success in the future. You may find that you work with angel investors, who are individuals who are excited to work with new businesses they are passionate about. There is also the option of accelerator programs, which take place at the same time as pre-seed funding to put you on the path to success.
Seed funding may be the first funding stage for your startup, which can come from friends, family members, company founders, or angel investors. This is usually a huge accomplishment for a business owner, as it allows you to start employing individuals who can help your business become a success. At this point, you’ll usually have a go-to-market strategy in place and have your product in the early development stages.
While seed funding was typically a smaller affair in the past, it can now involve millions of dollars. Depending on your business needs, and expectations for your business in the future, you’ll need to think carefully about how much you need to raise at this point to ensure you are able to fund your product development and launch. That being said, there are other, more traditional, options for funding.
Series A Funding
Series A funding is the next stage within venture capital financing, and this can make or break your business and its future. While you may have sold stock to your founders, family, and angel investors at the beginning, during series A funding, you can sell preferred stock to other investors who are willing to support your business at this early stage.
In order to take part in series A funding, you’ll need to acquire a series A valuation. Your company will be valued and priced at this point, which can be tricky if you don’t have a product ready to show to the world just yet. A lot of time and effort is needed to ensure that you get the correct valuation for your business so that you can acquire the investors you need in order to enjoy a smooth launch.
Series B Funding
After your business launches, you can move onto series B funding. This allows you to acquire more funding once your business and its operations are established. It’s a much less risky option for investors, who know what they are getting themselves into. You’ll usually find that there are more interested parties at this point, making it easier to secure funding when compared to the early stages we’ve covered so far.
Series B funding will also start with a company valuation, following which you can publicly state you are looking for funding. Investors can make offers based on your valuation, allowing you to secure the funding you need to take your business to the next level. Keep in mind that, if your startup has reached this stage, you are already doing extremely well. Many companies don’t make it past seed funding, so series B funding is generally a good sign that your business is well established in the industry.
Series C Funding
Once your company has proved itself with your new product or service, you may consider series C funding if you are looking for support with expanding your business operations. You may find that your investors at this stage are ones who’ve already invested in your business in the past and are excited to continue to support you and enjoy a profitable business relationship. If your business makes it to series C funding, it’s safe to say that you are already pretty successful within your industry. This type of funding is mainly to help grow and expand the business.
There is much less risk for investors during series C funding, and your company is unlikely to be seen as a startup at this point. You may be looking to launch a new product or target a new market, both of which require a fair amount of capital. By proving that your business model already works, you can secure the funding you need to continue sharing your product or service with the world.
These are the main stages of startup funding that everyone should be aware of when launching a company. As a new business owner, you’ll want to mainly focus on pre-seed funding and seed funding to begin with, as these will help to set you up for success as you launch your business. We recommend doing your research into the funding options on offer to you, which can help your business to grow and thrive in any industry. While it’s certainly a daunting topic for many new business owners, it’s the one thing that can make or break your chance of success when launching your startup, so don’t overlook the need to continue learning about startup funding throughout your launch.
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