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Growth Funding Including Seed and Series A

Capital for scaling businesses

Funding to support the growth of your business

Your business is starting to gain some momentum and now it’s time to secure growth capital. Funding at this stage – often called seed capital or Series A funding – supports the growth of your company and can help you expand operations, hire new employees, open new locations, and develop new concepts.

Growth funding for companies at this stage typically comes from grants and subsidies, crowdfunding, angel investors, and small- to mid-sized venture capital firms. It may also be provided by some business incubators and accelerators.

Grants and subsidies

Grants and subsidies from government agencies, family foundations, and economic development organizations provide funds that can help cover business expenses including research and development, marketing, salaries, equipment, and productivity improvement.

One option for Michigan-based startups is exploring grant opportunities with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

View an overview of MEDC funding programs for startups. Options include:

20Fathoms is an MEDC partner. Please contact us to learn more or to receive a referral.

Pros:

  • Typically, do not have to repay a grant
  • Once you are granted money from one government source, it is not uncommon to receive further funding from that source if you meet program requirements

Cons:

  • Application process can be time-consuming and competitive
  • There may be extensive and time-consuming reporting requirements after receiving a grant award

Best For:

Series A, companies with early traction, scaling businesses

Learn more:


Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is when a business asks members of the public to contribute funding. Typically, a large number of people will make small contributions that can add up to meaningful funding. Crowdfunding can take different forms, but there are three main types:

  • Equity crowdfunding: in exchange for their money, investors receive shares in a company or the right to a portion of revenues or profits
  • Debt crowdfunding: investors lend their money to a company at relatively high interest rates
  • Donation/rewards-based crowdfunding: the company sets a fundraising target and asks for donations in exchange for some kind of token of the eventual product or service being developed

Pros:

  • There is great marketing potential as a crowdfunding campaign can significantly increase awareness for your company
  • More efficient than individual meetings with potential investors
  • Accessible to customers and individuals with smaller investment budgets
  • Limited ability for shareholders to sell shares on the crowdfunding platform

Cons:

  • Intensive due diligence
  • Time-consuming to set up
  • The information about your business is out there for the whole world to see

Best For:

Seed funding, validation, Series A, companies with early traction, scaling businesses

Learn more:


Angel Investors

Companies granted angel funding typically receive between $25,000 and $150,000. Angel investors are typically high-net-worth individuals and/or retired business executives who make personal, direct investments in early-stage startups at the stage when they’re beginning technical development and market research. In addition to funding, angel investors can also contribute leadership expertise, a network of contacts, and technical or management knowledge. In exchange, they will often request financial transparency, a seat on your board, and/or partial ownership of the company.

Northern Michigan Angels is based in Traverse City. Other angel investment groups to consider include:

Pros:

  • Companies may see a higher success rate approaching angel investors compared to other funding sources as these individuals may be more willing to take a financial risk
  • Access to investors’ personal networks
  • Mentorship and guidance from highly knowledgeable individuals who understand the challenges that founders face

Cons:

  • Founders lose full ownership of their company as investors take equity

Best For:

Seed funding, validation, Series A, companies with early traction

Learn more:


Business Incubators & Accelerators

Startup incubator and accelerator programs can provide mentorship, funding resources, education, and office space, as well as administrative, logistical, and technical resources. Some also provide seed capital to assist startups in reaching their next milestone.

Pro:

  • Mentorship
  • Access to a broad network of investors
  • Help mastering your pitch deck
  • Greater likelihood of business success – studies show that companies that were supported by an incubator have a better success rate over five years

Con:

  • There is typically a fee to participate
  • Application process can be very competitive
  • Many programs take equity
  • Potential need to relocate as many incubators and accelerators have a location-based commitment

Best For:

Seed funding, validation, Series A, companies with early traction, companies needing a physical space

Learn more:

Learn about other funding options

Woman at a whiteboard
Funding for Early-Stage Businesses

Get your business off the ground with pre-seed funding including bootstrapping, friends & family, and loans.

Learn more
Funding for High-Growth Businesses

Expand to new markets or prepare your business for a merger or exit with venture capital funding.

Learn more