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July 23, 2024

A Comprehensive Guide to Startup Funding (Sources and Options)

A Comprehensive Guide to Startup Funding (Sources and Options)



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Starting a new business is a thrilling endeavor, filled with excitement and potential, but with this also come uncertainties. One of the most critical hurdles entrepreneurs face is securing funding. Funding is needed to bring your vision to life. We understand this all too well, and in this guide, we'll walk you through different funding sources available and intricacies of financing options.

While angel investor funding, venture capital, and accelerator program funding are the ones that are mostly discussed, the landscape of funding sources is, in fact, more diverse. Moreover, each funding source is suitable for distinct circumstances. Let's us look into it in more detail:

1. Self-Funding

For whom: Entrepreneurs with personal savings or revenue from other ventures.

When: At the initial stages when you want to maintain full control and ownership of the business.By using personal funds, you avoid taking on external debt or diluting ownership.

2. Friends and Family

For whom: Entrepreneurs with a supportive network willing to invest.

When: In the early stages when you need a small infusion of capital to kickstart your business.

3. Crowdfunding

For whom: Startups with a broad consumer appeal.

When: When you want to raise capital from a large number of individual investors. Platforms like Kickstarter showcase and pre-sell products to potential customers.

4. Accelerators and Incubators

For whom: Early-stage startups seeking mentorship, resources, and funding.

When: When you're at the idea or prototype stage and need support to develop your business.

5. Angel Investors

For whom: Startups with a promising concept and a need for mentorship.

When: During the early stages when you require capital and industry expertise, and perhaps do not have yet traction. Angels often bring industry connections and hands-on involvement.

6. Venture Capital (VC) Funding

For whom: Startups with a high-growth and scalable business model potential.

When: When you have obtained some traction and need substantial funding to continue growth. VCs offer significant investment in exchange for equity, expecting high returns.

7. Grants

For whom: Startups with a value proposition aligned with grant criteria.

When: When you meet specific eligibility criteria and can secure non-repayable funds. Ideal for businesses aligning with societal or governmental objectives, these funds don't require repayment, but often come with specific conditions.

8. Revenue-Based Financing

For whom: Startups with consistent revenue streams.

When: When you need capital for growth but want to avoid diluting equity. Repayment is aligned with business revenues, creating flexibility.

9. Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)

For whom: Tech startups with blockchain or cryptocurrency-based concepts.

When: When you're developing a decentralized application and want to build a loyal community of users. Ensure regulatory compliance as ICO landscapes can be complex.

The suitability of each funding source depends on the unique circumstances, stage of development, industry, and goals.If you are raising funds from multiple angel investors, you may also consider consolidating your angels into a single entry on the cap table to streamline governance. This is what bunch has developed its angel roll-up product for.

If you are fundraising from angels, accelerators or VC, you may be also puzzled with different financing options commonly used in the country of your startup incorporation. A significant portion of the investments in US-based startups that we facilitate at bunch for angel or VC scout investors are executed as SAFE agreements, while in Europe equity-based funding and Convertible Loan Agreement rounds are prevalent. Here are the defining features of three financing alternatives you may consider:

Equity Financing:

- Traditional equity financing involves selling shares or ownership stakes in the company to investors in exchange for capital.

- Equity financing can be done through various stages of a startup's growth, from seed funding to Series A, B, C, and beyond.

- Investors who provide equity financing become partial owners of the company and share in its successes and potential profits.

- Equity financing typically involves negotiating a valuation for the startup, which can be challenging, especially for early-stage companies.

SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity):

- A SAFE is a legal agreement between an investor and a startup that provides the investor with the right to receive equity in the future, typically upon a specified trigger event - for example, a funding round or an acquisition.

- Unlike traditional equity investments, SAFEs do not determine an exact valuation of the startup at the time of investment, which can simplify the process and avoid potential disagreements.

- SAFEs are popular for early-stage startups as they offer flexibility in terms of valuation and often have fewer legal complexities compared to equity financing.

- SAFE is a widely used financing instrument in the United States. Other countries also have their own equivalents that serve similar purposes. While the specifics may vary by jurisdiction, general terms are very similar. For instance, ASA (Advance Subscription Agreement) is the SAFE alternative in the UK.

Convertible Debt:

Convertible Debt is a broad term that refers to any form of debt that can be converted into equity at a later date. Convertible Loan Agreement (CLA) is one specific and widely used type of convertible debt: 

- A CLA is similar to SAFE, where an investor loans money to a startup with the agreement that the loan will convert into equity at a later date, usually during a future funding round.

- CLAs often include an interest rate and a conversion discount, which incentivizes investors to provide funding while offering them a potential discount on the future equity price.

Other types of debt include, for instance, OCA (Obligations Convertibles en Actions), which are convertible bonds adopted in France.

To conclude, funding can come from different sources and funding can be granted in different ways. While specific market or country standards may exist, it's important to assess how these align with your company's goals and objectives.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much equity should I give up to investors? 

It varies based on your valuation and the investment amount. However, always ensure you retain enough control over your company and its decisions.

2. Are crowdfunding campaigns always successful? 

No, not always. A successful campaign often hinges on strong marketing, a compelling story, and a product or service that resonates with a broad audience.

3. What if I face rejection from investors? 

Rejection is a part of the fundraising process. Use it as an opportunity to refine your pitch, reassess your business model, or explore different funding avenues.

4. How long does the fundraising process take? 

It can range from a few weeks to several months or even more. Persistence, preparation, and adaptability are key to navigating the fundraising journey.

Disclaimer: The content presented herein is solely for informational and discussion purposes only. It is not intended to serve as legal, tax or financial advice or as an endorsement of any investment strategy. bunch does not provide legal, tax or financial advice. Readers should not base their investment decisions on the content presented herein or any other bunch-generated content alone and should seek appropriate professional advice. Nothing contained herein shall constitute or imply an offer to sell, purchase or enter into any transaction in respect of securities. The content contained herein is subject to change without notice. While we aim to present accurate and up-to-date information as part of bunch’s content, we undertake no obligation to update our content from time to time.

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