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What are the different ways to fund a startup?

A few of the most common ways to fund a startup are equity rounds (i.e., VC funding), debt rounds, and angel investment. Startups also raise capital from a number of other funding sources, including crowdsourcing, revenue-based financing, purchase order financing, credit lines, government grants, and services.


How does revenue-based financing work?

With revenue-based financing, you agree on a total return over a period of time, and pay your lender back from your monthly revenue stream. Revenue-based financing is non-dilutive, so your startup doesn’t exchange any equity for the funds like you would in a traditional equity-based VC deal. Revenue-based financing can offer a way to accelerate growth or extend runway for startups that have already proven market fit and have some level of predictable recurring revenue.


What is a startup's cap table?

A startup’s cap table is the record the business’s ownership and equity structure. It lists the company’s founders, shareholders, and investors, and the percentage of the company owned by each.


When should a startup raise Series A funding?

Most startups should think about raising Series A funding once they’re beyond the MVP stage, have a proven product-market fit, and are ready to accelerate growth. At the MVP stage, startups typically raise their Seed or Pre-seed rounds. These rounds are usually for substantially lower dollar amounts than Series A.


How much should a startup raise for Series A funding?

You should raise the funds you need at Series A, and not more. Most startups should plan to raise enough capital to cover 18-24 months of runway based on growth plans after the round, while preserving as much equity as possible.


What is a down round?

A down round is a financing round whereby venture capitalists, angel investors, or another kind of private investor invests in a company at a lower valuation than the previous round. Down rounds can occur when there is an economic downturn, decreased performance or increased risk at the company, a change in the competitive landscape, or a lack of investor confidence.


What is a term sheet?

A term sheet is a document outlining the key terms and conditions of an investment agreement between your startup and a prospective investor. It serves as a framework for negotiations and outlines details such as the amount of investment, the level of equity offered, the valuation of the company, and other relevant terms and conditions. The agreement between the two parties will eventually be more detailed and formalized in a contract, but the term sheet serves as an initial blueprint for the deal.


How much equity should a startup expect to exchange for VC funding?

The amount of equity a startup should exchange for a VC funding round depends on a number of factors, including company valuation, the amount being raised, and the funding stage. In general, seed funding rounds involve higher equity stakes in exchange for investments, as early investors take on more risk. For later rounds, the level of equity exchanged for investments typically decreases as the company has established itself and is seen as less of a risk. Early-stage startups should usually expect to exchange at least 10-20% equity for a significant equity investment round.