India has witnessed a significant increase in the emergence of startups in the last few years. India is now the world's second-largest startup hub, with over 94 unicorns in total. Indian entrepreneurs have evolved into powerful drivers of the country’s economic progress. This is undoubtedly the best time to start a successful company in India.
With the Government encouraging people to form their startups, more and more people are indulging themselves in this journey. Currently, we have over 65000 startups in the country. The best part is every sector be it fintech, digital marketing or any other, is flourishing in the country.
You got a Startup idea to build a product that could change lives. You have the Business Model and Product Development roadmap laid out. You might even have a small team to get started in your startup. And then comes the real problem that every Entrepreneur faces - funds to hatch the plan.
We all know that timing plays a major role in the success of any startup. It's not a simple task to transform the ideas into a profitable business. Founders might not always have the funds to launch the product at the right time in the market at the beginning. Since growth is the main goal in the initial stages, startup owners must understand how to raise the "seed" capital.
What are Seed Funds?
Startups raise seed funds essentially for operational costs like hiring the right people, purchasing tools, leasing offices and more. This crucial step forms the solid basis for launching a thriving business at the right time. When you start a business, the most important thing that is needed is funding. Seed funding means the funds by investors provided to your business in the initial stage. The investors pour their funds in return for an equity stake at the initial stage of business. It is at the early stage that the investment by the investors is done, which helps the business to grow and make its capital. Seed funding should not be confused with a loan. Investors get equity in the company for their investment.
Now that we know what seed funds are and why they are crucial, let's dive deeper into the different ways to raise seed capital for your startup.
Proven Ways to Raise Seed Funds for Startups
Crowdfunding is becoming increasingly popular in recent years. Many startups have successfully raised seed money through crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Wefunder. The process involves creating a campaign to convince and persuade thousands of people to invest and buy your product before its developed. This method is a great strategy for founders who do not want to give up equity and dilute the company at the seed rounds. The idea is to build the product from the money made from pre-sales and ship it when ready. Startup founders also utilize crowdfunding websites to understand the market and assess the demand for their products. The idea is to build the product from the money made from pre-sales and ship it when ready.
Friends and Family
Friends and Family are mostly the first places every entrepreneur reaches out to for investment when getting started. Some founders offer equity in the company but many consider this investment as a loan. This method provides a little breathing room in terms of loan repayment.
Accelerators typically exist for startups that need assistance with launching and growing the company. Accelerators like Y Combinator runs programs to choose startups for investing. The selected startups get a pre-decided amount in return for a specific percentage of equity. They also support startups with Mentorship and Networking events where the founder gets exposure.
Incubators are specifically created for startups that are at an early stage. They facilitate the development of ideas and the validation of market fit. The investments are usually small as most founders get this funding to nurture the idea and introduce innovations. Incubators also offer Workspace and Mentorship Support and Networking Opportunities for founders.
Corporate Seed Funds
Many established corporations consider startups as a major source of fresh talents and innovative ideas. Megacorporations are always on the lookout for new ways to invest in emerging technological innovations. Again, this type of financial help gives the startup much-needed exposure and is frequently a precursor to a potential acquisition.
Let’s not forget that not every startup needs to raise money at the seed stage. Bootstrapping is the process of funding the startup with your savings and reinvesting the profits from the business. Many startup founders use their own money to get their businesses off the ground to eliminate giving away equity at the initial stages. Bootstrapping, on the other hand, might put entrepreneurs under further financial strain.
Venture Capital Funds
Venture capital firms offer seed funding for startups with high growth potential. Venture capitalists provide both professional experience and money to entrepreneurs. This type of investment calls for the exchange of a company's equity for financial assistance. VCs review a lot of projects but only invest in a small percentage of them, so you'll have to stick out from the pack.
Angel investors are affluent people who invest their own money as seed capital in businesses in return for equity of the company's ownership. This process is relatively quicker than a VC investment. Many angels are known to use convertible debt as it has the advantage of deferring the company's value until the next funding round. Angel investors also get discounts for investing early in the startups.
Debt funding is often provided by the bank, an investor or any financial institution to the startup founder. Here, the founder is borrowing the money for a fixed rate of interest instead of giving away any equity in the company. The capital must be repaid with the interest at the agreed timeline. It’s important to note that the only advantage for the investor here is the interest amount.
Government Grants and Schemes
The Indian government has stepped up to support young entrepreneurs who need help with growing their startups. The government has taken initiatives like The Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS) which intends to support startups with the conceptualizing of new ideas, developing prototypes, determining the demand in the market and monetization.
There is no doubt that raising the seed funding is difficult. Gaining the right understanding of the options available for you is the key and we hope that our information has helped you.
You must also know and understand how the different kinds of investors operate, how they make financial decisions to help your startup and how their seed fund can help you grow.
It's also worth noting that seed financing isn't just for the early stages but it's also for the years ahead. Also, keep in mind that timely capital is critical for companies to stay up in a challenging market like India. A startup that sets growth initiatives should be able to use the seed capital to raise further investments.
What is Seed Funding?
Seed funding means the funds by investors provided to your business in the initial stage.
What are some of the effective ways of raising seed funds?
Some common and effective ways of raising seed funds are Crowdfunding, Friends and Families, Accelerators, Incubators, Bootstrapping, etc.
How many Startups are there in our Country?
There are currently over 65900 startups in the country. But the number is expected to rise shortly.
What is The Startup India Seed Fund Scheme?
The government has taken initiatives like The Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS) which intends to support startups with the conceptualizing of new ideas, developing prototypes, determining the demand in the market and monetization.