“If you’re really motivated about starting a business, you will check the possibilities of Funding here and not give up until you find the one that suits you the best”. Peter, Wiz4.biz
10 Funding Topics: Fam & Fr, Crowd, Accelerators & Incubators (the other AI), Launch Platforms (for Rockets & . . .), SBA, Social Networking, Private Equity, Personal Marketing, Angels.
8 top Grants: SBIR, STTR, NASE, FedEx, Street Shares, Women’s Net, MBDA, VISA.
Top 7 CrowdFunding Sites: Kick Starter. GoFundMe, Lending Club, IndieGoGo, Patreon, Kiva, Women you Shud Fund
When? you have a viable Business Plan for your start-up, know how much Funding you will need (+ what it will be used for), then it’s time to start looking for Funding. This is a scary step to take, but being prepared is always the best way. I wanted to share a few different ways you should consider. Remember that you may need to speak to many, many Investors/Fun ders, before you find the right one for your startup. Here are 10 ways to find the right Investor for your start-up:
A. 10 Funding Topics
Friends & Family
Finding an Investor in a friend or family member isn’t a hard sell, because they already believe in you and are passionate about helping you succeed. If you use this funding resource, make sure to keep your personal & professional relationships as separate as possible – by getting everything in writing & clearly explaining the risk involved in investing in a start-up. Don’t risk losing friends or family over investments.
sites provide you with access to many different types of Investors – from the general public with an interest to participate in the “next big thing” (ie, Kickstarter, & IndieGoGo) to philanthropists who believe in helping others realize their dream (RocketHub), to accredited Investors seeking new ideas to fund such as OurCrowd. Each CF site has its own focus, so study each one carefully – to see which one most closely aligns with your strategic goals & niche.
Incubators & Accelerators
Your start-up is your baby, and you want it to grow & flourish, so working with an I or A gives you a whole host of Investor resources to watch that business grow & succeed. These Investors are primarily interested in taking on a bigger role to help turn your idea into a viable business model – as well as provide the Funding sources to make it happen. Most I&A offer a physical space to set up your office, making it easy to work with you directly. Since space within the same building is also being used by other start-ups, this is a great place to exchange ideas & grow together. In exchange for funding, they may want a “piece” of your start-up, so you will need to decide how much you are willing to give up. Start-up Accelerators, such as 500Startups, TechStars, & Y-combinator, offer advice, small seed funding, & exposure to other Investors through their own networks.
Start-up Launch Platforms
Companies have launched specific platforms that provide information, research, & assistance – with all aspects of getting a business launched, including ways to connect with investors. Companies like Startups.co are providing a convenient channel for locating investors in an efficient way.It has 13.9 million members, which makes it the largest start-up community in the world and provides an extraordinary opportunity to get in front of some investors in your space for both funding thru Fundable and mentoring. Another up-and-coming start-up platform is Gust with $1.8 billion already invested in start-up businesses.
Small Business Administration (SBA)
Traditional sources like the SBA are still a good source for funding, because more programs have been developed in recent years to stimulate the economy. They primarily offer small business Loans & Grants (see listing toward the end), but these may be exactly what you need and are available with fair terms – without having any interference or expectations that they will get a stake in your business.
Online Lending Platforms
With the incredible restrictions now involved with getting a Bank Loan for a start-up, new solutions have emerged through the advent of online Lending platforms that serve a similar function. These can be peer-to-peer platforms, non-traditional lending sources, or large investors looking to help out small businesses and profiting from the lending terms. Some credible online lending platforms include Prosper, TrustLeaf, OnDeck, & Lending Club.
Professional Social Networking Sites
Beyond LinkedIn – which is still a good place to look for investors – numerous professional Social Networking sites have launched that can help connect you with all types of Investors across all industries & business segments. Many of these new professional Social Networking sites even connect you with investors from other countries – who want to participate in the global business environment and often bring your product or service to their part of the world. Some professional Social Networking sites to consider for investor connections include EFactor, Xing, Plaxo, Startup Nation, CoFoundr &Meetup.
Private Equity Firms
Considered a traditional path to investor funding, they give you access to everything from a few thousand to millions in investment $$$ – primarily to those start-ups considered to be in the early stage with great growth potential across a wide range of industries.The objective is to sell their stake a few years after investment to reap a significant profit from investing in your start-up. Find Venture has a directory to help connect you to private equity firms now looking for new businesses.
Personal Marketing Effort
Not only can you spend time finding investors through the channels mentioned here, but you can also help them discover you thru a intensive personal marketing effort. This means putting yourself out there, where investors are bound to find you, including a website, social networking sites, guest posts on established & personal Blogs, conversations on Quora, & other traditional Media outlets.
You can find that Angel Investor who not only will invest in your start-up, but will also mentorship you with good advice, and provide access to their network of contacts. Places to start include Funded.com, Angel Capital Assoc [Directory], & Angel Investment Network – all of which have thousands of Angels who provide information on the type of investments they are seeking.
Funding Methods Conclusion: Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have many or any investment offers. Try, try again, because it just means you haven’t found the right Investor who aligns with your business needs.
B. Top 8 Grants for Startups – Grant Finder
Competition for business Grants is fierce, but if you have a company dedicated to improving the lives of others and are committed to research, you may qualify for a grant from the US government, local state or other organizations. Grants are hard to win and many require you to use the Funds for a specific purpose. But with so many Grants out there, with a bit of searching, you can find your business the “free” $$$ it needs.
1. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
If you’re running a Startup focused on R&D, you may be able to snag a grant from the SBIR. Overseen by the US SBA Office of Technology, this program focuses on small businesses that want to work directly with the federal govt to create innovative technology. To apply, submit a proposal complete with of a Biz plan, Exec Sumry, estimated costs & a tech proposal. You can browse open solicitations on the SBIR site.
2. Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)
Similar to the SBIR, the STTR is another federally-funded program that helps small businesses collaborate with non-profit Research Institutions, Universities or a Federal R&D center. Although highly competitive, a tech-focused startup looking to do good for the community could benefit from a STTR grant. The solicitation & proposal process has many of the same requirements as the SBIR program. This is because both are both run by the SBA and work with many of the same federal agencies.
3. National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE)
The National Association for the Self-Employed has $4,000 offers its NASE growth Grants to its members. Unlike many Grants – which outline a specific purpose – you can use your grant to cover anything your business needs to become more successful. However, you must be a member of NASE to apply. Your application should include an explanation of need and how your business will use the grant + demonstrate how the grant will improve your business and have supporting documents like a Biz plan.
4. FedEx . . . $25K+$7.5K
runs a yearly contest that awards 10 Small Businesses with a Grant & business services. First place wins $25,000 in grant money + $7,500 in FedEx print & biz services. Second place wins $15,000 + $5,000 in print & biz services. Third place has 8 winners who are awarded $7,500 + $1,000 in print and business services. You’ll need to provide short answers to a series of questions. For the 2018 competition, these included an Elevator Pitch that sets your business apart and an explanation of how your business would utilize the grant. After a voting period, top-ranking businesses go thru a second round of applications.
5. Street Shares Foundation $15K+
Veteran-owned small Businesses can benefit from a grant from SSF. Every month, three grants are awarded to businesses. Amounts are $15,000 for first place, $6,000 for second place and $4,000 for third place. Applicants must be at least 21 years old and a Veteran or active-duty member of the US Armed Forces. You must submit a two-minute Video that describes your business and how your business will benefit from the grant.
6. Womens Net $1K to $25K
Each month, a business wins a small $1,000 grant and becomes eligible for a much larger $10,000 grant. The winner of the contest is determined by an online vote. At the end of the year, one of the monthly winners wins the grand prize of $25K. The application is simple — provide what your business does and how the grant would benefit your business
7. Minority Biz Development Agency (MBDA)
MBDA is part of the US Dept of Commerce, and has Grants available for businesses owned by ethnic Minorities. The award amount varies, but if your business qualifies, you could snag a grant to help expand your organization. The process is much longer than other grant applications -6 months. Grant amounts vary, and your business must be registered with the MBDA to qualify.
8. VISA Credit Card
Visa’s Everywhere Initiative is set to challenge startups to meet the needs of Visa and its partners. The 2018 challenge included questions that revolved around strengthening partnerships with merchants & customers – exploring how to create better access to digital payment systems and utilizing technology to tackle financial management & commerce. This Grant program functions more like the SBIR or STTR programs run by the federal govt. Winning startups work with Visa to develop new technology & ways of conducting business.
Bottom Line on US Grants (not the General or President)
Free money is out there for your business. While applying for grants can take valuable time, receiving a grant can make a difference in the day-to-day operations of your business — especially if you win a larger one or get access to free servoces.
Top 7 CrowdFunding Sites for Small Biz, Startups & Non-Profits
Small businesses can raise money with crowdfunding in exchange for rewards, future repayment, or equity in the company. Startups and more established companies can raise funds online while getting new customers. The best crowdfunding sites offer low fees, a large audience, and allow a variety of campaigns.
#1 Kick Starter: has the best exposure for early stage startups & competitive fees, but is mostly Consumer products.
#2 GoFundMe: has a huge audience, no Success fees and is mainly for small projects.
#3 Lending Club: has fasturn of your application, low rates for Startups & Sm Biz, but you must have good Credit.
#4 IndieGoGo: has competitive fees, is available at all stages, but only does Consumer products.
#5 Patreon: has compet fees, funds all stages, special Campaigns & caters to “creative” biz.
#6 Kiva: offers Interest-free Loans of up to $10K + they will assist in your Campaign & do no Credit check.
#7 Women you Shud Fund: has competitive fees & it’s easy to get noticed. Mainly for Small Projects
Comments: Do you know any other Sources for Funding a Startup?
from Forbes Zine 9/19 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz
For more Info, click on Finding Funding.