Company Financing Stages
Although the path of ever company is unique, there are typically seven stages of financing a company will go through as it makes the journey all the way from being an idea scribbled on a napkin, to becoming a publicly traded company on an exchange.
Seed Stage: Seed funding is typically the first financing by entrepreneurs for the purpose of proving a new concept or idea. The “seed money” is used for market research, development of a product/service, filing patents to protect intellectual property and
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Start-up: Start up funding is the next round of financing. The purpose of raising Start up funds is to provide the capital needed to launch the company’s operations. This often includes the building of a management team, the development and launch of marketing, and beginning production of the product. Sources of Start-up funding can include the entrepreneurs themselves, Angel Investors and Venture Capital Firms.
Growth Stage: Growth Stage financing occurs after the company has proved the viability of the business model and needs more money to continue growing operations. Growth stage funds are used to further product development, expand production, further develop marketing, and make any hiring necessary for expansion. Growth stage financing most often comes from a venture capital firm.
Second Stage: This round of financing occurs to provide working capital to a company that has not yet turned a profit. Just as the round before, this financing provides money to continue growing operations through product development, production expansion, enhancing marketing efforts and hiring personnel. Venture Capital firms most often provide this source of financing.
Expansion Round: This round is usually funded through short-term debt and is also sometimes referred to as “mezzanine financing”. This round usually occurs when a company is profitable but does not have enough capital available at present to continue pursuing growth opportunities.
Bridge Financing: The Bridge financing round typically occurs only if a company is preparing for an Initial Public offering (IPO). This round is raised to cover the short-term costs associated with filing the IPO documents and legal expenses. This round is usually short term in nature with the expectation that proceeds from the IPO will pay off the loan.
IPO: There can be many reasons for an IPO, and one of them is to raise a large amount of capital to further business expansion. When the IPO occurs, shares are sold to large institutional investors (hedge funds, pension funds, etc) and to the general public.