If You’re an Early-stage Startup Founder, Read This Before Your Fund Raise!

February 21, 2023

Starting a business can be a challenging and risky endeavor, and one of the key questions that entrepreneurs face is whether or not to seek outside funding. On one hand, funding can provide much-needed resources, support, and validation for a startup.

On the other hand, it can also bring on outside expectations and dilute ownership. So, do early startups really need funding to be successful?

The answer is not a straightforward yes or no. There are certainly many successful startups that have received funding, either through venture capital, angel investors, or other means.

Funding can provide the financial resources needed to hire a team, build out a product, and bring a business to the next level. It can also bring in expertise and connections that can be valuable to the success of the company.

However, it is also possible for a startup to be successful without external funding. Self-funding, revenue, and other creative financing methods can be used to grow a business. In these cases, the entrepreneur maintains full control and ownership of the company.

In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of funding for early startups and look at examples of successful funded and self-funded companies. We will also consider factors to consider when deciding whether to seek funding for your startup.

The Benefits of Funding for Startups


One of the main benefits of funding for a startup is access to financial resources. This can include money to hire a team, build out a product, pay for marketing and advertising efforts, and cover other expenses necessary to grow the business.


In addition to financial resources, funding can also bring in support from investors and other industry experts. This can include mentorship, guidance, and introductions to valuable contacts.


Receiving funding from investors can also be seen as validation of the business idea and the team behind it. This can be especially valuable in the early stages when a startup is trying to gain traction and credibility.


Investors and other funding sources may also bring expertise in specific areas that can be beneficial to the startup. For example, a venture capital firm may have a strong track record in a particular industry and be able to provide valuable insights and advice.

Overall, funding can provide the resources and support that a startup needs to grow and scale, as well as validate the business idea and bring in expertise and connections.

Examples of Successful Funded Startups

Airbnb: Airbnb is a company that provides a platform for people to list and book accommodations around the world. The company has received over $4 billion in funding from investors, including venture capital firms and angel investors. As of 2021, Airbnb is valued at over $31 billion.

SpaceX: SpaceX is a space transportation services company that has received over $5 billion in funding from investors. The company, founded by Elon Musk, has disrupted the traditional aerospace industry and has made significant progress in its mission to make space travel more accessible.

Slack: Slack is a cloud-based collaboration platform that has received over $1 billion in funding from investors. The company has disrupted the traditional workplace communication market and as of 2021, has a valuation of over $17 billion.

These are just a few examples of successful funded startups. Receiving funding from investors has helped these companies to grow and scale, and ultimately achieve significant success in their respective industries.

Examples of Successful Self-funded or Creatively Financed Startups

Mailchimp: Mailchimp is an email marketing platform that was initially self-funded by its co-founders. The company has grown significantly and as of 2021, has over 20 million users and an estimated valuation of over $4 billion.

Basecamp: Basecamp is a project management and team communication software company that has been self-funded since its founding in 1999. The company has achieved significant success and as of 2021, has over 50,000 paying customers.

Zappos: Zappos is an online shoe and clothing retailer that was initially funded through a combination of self-funding and creative financing methods, including credit card debt and a small business loan. The company was eventually acquired by Amazon for over $1 billion.

These are just a few examples of successful self-funded or creatively financed startups. While these companies may not have had the same access to financial resources as funded startups, they were able to achieve success through hard work, persistence, and innovative financing methods.

Factors to Consider Before Getting Funding

The Stage of Your Business

One factor to consider is the stage of your business. In the early stages, when a company is just starting out and has a limited track record, it may be more difficult to secure funding. On the other hand, once a company has a proven business model and is generating revenue, it may be more attractive to investors.

The Needs of Your Business

Another factor to consider is the specific needs of your business. If a startup needs significant financial resources to scale or launch a new product, funding may be a good option. On the other hand, if a startup is able to self-fund or generate revenue through other means, it may not need external funding.

The Terms of the Funding

If a startup does decide to seek funding, it's important to carefully consider the terms of the funding agreement. This should include the amount of funding being sought, the equity being offered to investors, and any other terms or expectations that come with the funding.

The Goals of the Startup

Finally, it's important for a startup to consider its long-term goals when deciding whether to seek funding. If the goal is to build a sustainable, long-term business, funding may not be necessary. On the other hand, if the goal is rapid growth and a potential exit through acquisition or IPO, funding may be a valuable tool.

Overall, there are many factors to consider when deciding whether to seek funding for a startup. It's important for entrepreneurs to carefully evaluate their options and make the decision that is best for their company.

Potential Downsides to Getting Funding

There are also some potential downsides to receiving funding as a startup, including:

Loss of Control

When a startup receives funding from investors, those investors will typically want some level of control over the company. This may include a seat on the board of directors, regular updates on the company's progress, and a say in major business decisions. As a result, the entrepreneur may lose some control over the direction of the company.

Dilution of Ownership

Depending on the terms of the funding agreement, the entrepreneur may also face dilution of ownership in the company. This means that the percentage of the company that the entrepreneur owns may be reduced as additional shares are issued to investors.

Outside Expectations

Receiving funding can also bring with it outside expectations, such as expectations around the company's growth and revenue. This can create added pressure on the startup to perform and meet these expectations.


Some types of funding, such as loans, may require the startup to take on debt. This can be risky if the company is not able to repay the loan, as it could lead to financial hardship or even bankruptcy.

Creative Financing for Your Startup

There are a number of alternative financing options available to startups, beyond traditional methods such as venture capital or angel investing. Here are a few examples:

Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding is a method of raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via an online platform. This can be a good option for startups that have a compelling productor service and are looking to raise a relatively small amount of money.

Incubators and accelerators: Incubators and accelerators are programs that provide support and resources to startups in exchange for a stake in the company. These programs typically provide mentorship, networking opportunities, and access to funding sources, and can be a good option for startups that are still in the early stages of development.

Grants: Some startups may be eligible for grants, which are typically given by government agencies or foundations for specific purposes such as research and development or to support businesses in a particular industry.

Grants can be a good option for startups that are working on a specific project or problem and are looking for financial support.

Sales and revenue: Finally, another alternative financing option for startups is to generate revenue through sales of their product or service. This can be a slower process, but it allows the startup to maintain full control and ownership of the company.

In Conclusion

Entrepreneurs should carefully consider the pros and cons of funding and choose the option that is best for their business. This will depend on a variety of factors, including the stage of the business, the specific needs of the company, the terms of the funding agreement, and the long-term goals of the startup.

Whether a startup decides to seek funding or not, the key to success is hard work, persistence, and a strong business idea. If you need help delivering quality branding for your business and haven’t gotten the funding or traction you need, a design partner like Mad Creative Beanstalk might just be the solution for your design needs. Our pricing structure is designed for early-stage startup founders and business owners bootstrapping their business.

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