Types of Funding for Businesses (Definition and Importance)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Most companies need funding when starting or expanding. Their goals and business stage can determine the various funding sources they can access. If you work in business or finance, knowing the types of funding sources can help you choose the best option for an organisation and use it to achieve your objectives. In this article, we define funding, examine types of funding and review the importance of funding.

What is funding?

The different types of funding are the financial resources that investors give an organisation to help it achieve its targets. Business professionals may require funding when creating a company. Funding can help them begin and sustain business operations until there's a positive cash flow. A startup may use funds to develop its products, build a customer base, hire employees, open office spaces, get a competitive advantage or grow from a private entity to a public one.

Businesses often encounter various issues during their initial stages. They may need outside funding to survive this phase and pursue their goals. Many startups have many rounds of funding. Outside investors can finance a new and growing organisation for a return on their investment, such as profits, equity or ownership.

Related: What Does an Investment Manager Do? And How to Become One

Types of funding

Here are the various types of funding that you might use during a business career:

Pre-seed funding

Pre-seed funding is the earliest stage of funding. It happens during the beginning of a startup's operations. The startup's founder, friends and family often provide the monetary funds. Pre-seed funding can happen quickly or take an extended period. Initial costs to develop the entity's ideas and the industry can affect its duration. Investors are unlikely to get equity in the business or have a return on their investment in this phase. Pre-seed funding can allow the company founders to prioritise their goals and gain traction independently. They may also get funds quickly and spend them flexibly.

Seed funding

Seed funding is the first formal funding stage. The startup can raise its first-round funds from different investors, including friends, founders, incubators, family members, venture capitalists and angel investors. Seed funding gives the business enough money to develop products, grow its strategy or start market research. Investors get equity and some of the entity's profits. These investors can help select the final product, hire an effective team and target the appropriate demographic. The startup's needs and the amount of capital raised can determine whether seed funding is the only investment needed.

Related: Angel Investors: Types, Advantages and Disadvantages

Series funding

Series funding can further optimise product offerings, expand the user base and scale commodities across a larger market. The startup has often met predetermined key performance indicators (KPIs) at this stage, such as a constant revenue stream, a lucrative track record or a sizeable consumer base. This funding phase needs long-term profit models, and the offering requires more information and a defined approach to get financial support. Series funding has various subcategories, including:

Series A funding

Early-stage investing, or Series A funding, often involves financiers from traditional capital institutions. Investors can be less active and rarely influence the enterprise's decisions. Series A investors often get referrals from seed investors. Founders may also pitch their business to different capital enterprises. Investors in Series A funding prefer companies with excellent ideas and strong strategies to make them successful and profitable. Angel investors may also invest their funds in this phase, but they may have less control than they may have had if they invested in the seed funding stage. Companies may also use equity crowdfunding.

Related: A Guide to Non-Controlling Interest (With Examples)

Series B funding

Late-stage investing or Series B funding, involves traditional capital institutions and anchor investors who help the entity attract other financiers. Most companies often have a large consumer base at this funding stage. They may also prove that their enterprises can scale. Investors may also provide financial resources to support various projects, such as business development, advertising, talent acquisition, sales and tech support. Businesses in this funding stage can get more attention from venture capitalists that prioritise late-stage investing.

Related: Sales vs. Business Development: What's the Difference?

Series C funding

Businesses that reach these funding sessions are often quite successful. Series C funding can involve significant amounts of money, and investors often expect to double their investments at least. These financiers can invest considerable sums because they've seen the established business has fewer risks. Companies pursue Series C funding to get resources for reaching new markets, scaling globally, creating new products or buying other businesses. Series C investors can include hedge funds, investment banks, private equity institutions or large secondary market groups.

Related: How to Become a Hedge Fund Manager (With Skills and Tips)

Series D and more

Some businesses continue to rounds of Series D funding and beyond. These institutions can get hundreds of millions from their investors, and they often operate globally. Companies can get this funding to pursue the goals they missed during Series C funding or an expansion boost before an IPO (initial public offering).

Debt funding

Debt funding is a financing approach where the organisation borrows funds to repay its debts. It repays the loan whether it succeeds or has a positive cash flow. The company can access various types of debt funding, including:

  • Venture debt: This type of debt funding can have a repayment period of up to three years.

  • Asset loan: The organisation provides its equipment as collateral for this loan. Companies with many expensive tools and plants can use them to get substantial loans and guarantee their repayments.

  • Accounts receivable (AR) line: Accounts receivable credit lines can be a financing option if the business generates revenue. The organisation can get money quickly through its unpaid AR invoices and pay it back when it gets invoice payments.

Read more: What Is Accounts Receivable and How Does It Function?

Equity funding

Equity funding is a financing option that involves the organisation getting financing from investors who get shares of the entity's stock, or equity, for their contribution. Businesses can get more funds from these investors if they have an excellent idea and a strategy to succeed. There are various types of equity funding, including:

  • Crowdfunding: generates capital from the efforts of many individuals, such as friends, family members, investors and customers. It may also use networks for exposure and greater reach to generate more interest among financiers.

  • Angel investors: these are individuals with a considerable net worth that invest significant amounts of money in companies. They often work independently, enabling them to decide quickly, have more personalised involvement and share their extensive connections in the industry.

  • Venture capital (VC): VC institutions are private enterprises that invest money in new businesses. They suit startups that plan to scale quickly and invest huge sums with greater return potential if they avoid the high risks involved.

Why do businesses need funding?

Here are some reasons why businesses require funding:

Manage the unexpected

Businesses can encounter various risks as they operate. For example, suppliers can delay their deliveries, or facilities can have unexpected shutdowns. An enterprise needs some cash to mitigate these risks and sustain its operations. Funding can provide the extra cash reserves that the business needs. Managers can use the money to fund repairs, find alternative supply sources or reimburse clients with delayed orders.

Mitigate cash flow issues

Businesses need a healthy cash flow. Sudden cash flow challenges can affect small and large entities. These enterprises can struggle to fix these problems if they lack a plan. Some common causes of cash flow problems are rapid growth, economic recessions and slowing sales. Businesses can use funding to manage tight cash flow periods, ensuring the company remains afloat until the problem passes. The money can sustain operations, buy the needed stock or pay employees to ensure the company remains operational until it can generate revenue and profits.

Have powerful product development

Innovative businesses can remain relevant and competitive. They need new solutions and products to compete and satisfy changing consumer needs. Funding can provide the resources to support research and development. Research and development can ensure the business retains its market share by developing exciting products. It can also ensure that the business discovers better processes and improves its products to achieve its objectives.

Related: What Is Disruptive Innovation and How Does It Work? (With Example)

Grow the business

Business leaders and team members often pursue growth to achieve stakeholders' goals. For example, they can find bigger offices, recruit more talents, open new branches or increase their production. These undertakings can require substantial resources, which funding can provide. The business owners may convince financiers they're a reliable investment and inspire them to support their expansion.

Related: SME vs. MNC: Definitions, Benefits and Key Differences

Get startup financing

Startups often require funding to launch operations. The leaders can get funding from their assets or ask friends, family members or external financiers for financial support. Getting startup financing can be challenging, and potential investors may need considerable convincing to support the startup. They may use funds to rent office space, begin production and hire employees.

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