Different stages of VC finance and were the company / product is in its life / development cycle


You hear a lot in the media about _ raised a stage A round of x million, or ___ just got seed funding from a group of angel investors.

But what's never explained is the stage that these companies / products are in at the time. For a seed stage are they just a business plan and a power point (sorry if that's awfully naive).

Could some one explain the different stages of funding, were the company is at in its life / development cycle, ie. 20,000 users pre revenue. and also if possible the sort of stake that's usually given away (as general as possible, I know that's kinda like how longs a price of string)

The stages for clarification (please add to them as necessary)

  • Seed / angel
  • Early stage
  • Series A
  • Series B
  • Series C ect
  • Venture

  • Growth

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asked Dec 28 '12 at 09:05
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1 Answer


Ok, here is my take and there might be others. At the start it's a little fuzzy still but later rounds get more solid. There are also differences on which coast your on within the US.

  • Angel / Friends & Family - These are people that are well off in the Angel world. They're independently wealthy and can invest in a startup. Most of the time these are people you know already. Friends and family are people who believe in you as the person who you are. This can be good and bad. This may be good and bad. It will be easier to get them interested and excited about the venture. But, when something goes wrong and they may lose their investment they will come back to you as a disgruntled family member would. The holidays would be interesting.
  • Seed - This could be done several different ways. You could have an idea and have put together a pitch deck. You could have a pitch deck and a MVP or Minimum Viable Product to demo or even have some pilot users. You'll get different answers from different people but from the VC's that I've spoken to. They want you to have at least one other co-founder. One person is to risky to invest into. Some type of deck. And the biggest thing they want you to show them in "traction". Does your concept have interest from anyone that will use it? if you can show traction in this stage it's hugely important to getting the funding. Seed funding typically would come from a fund that has tens of millions to invest in early-stage pre-funded companies. This means they haven't taken any institutional funding from a really big guy. There are now hundreds of these funds. The good ones offer mentoring and just not money. Money is ok but at this stage the mentoring is more important along with the contacts that the fund has to open further doors. Some of these would be YCombinator, 500 Startups, TechStars, Angellist and others. The important thing is to find the ones that play in the space you want to enter and get them interested. The funding here will be used to build a better product then just the very basic. Possibly hire another person or two and maybe do some marketing. Again, going after additional traction. There is also typically no valuation for the company at this stage or if there is one that's very low. Seed stage investors also typically do not take a board seat. Seed investments run from $500,000 - $3MM. Why the vast difference is that a company on the east coast might be able to raise $500K but the same company on the west coast could have raised $1.2M with a higher valuation.
  • Series A and Beyond - In this round a startup is doing well and needs to grow to meet demand or other market conditions. These rounds will be roughly $3M - $10M. Again depending on where it's located and how much traction it has been able to gain. later rounds keep getting bigger and the founders get a little more diluted each round.

I could explain each one but from that point on there really isn't a need. Getting over "seed" and series A are the hard parts.

answered Dec 28 '12 at 12:12
271 points

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