What are the different stages of funding?

Atul Shashikumar

The different stages of funding for startups and businesses typically correspond to various rounds of investment as a company grows and develops. Each stage represents a different level of risk and potential return for investors. The stages of funding may vary slightly depending on the region and industry, but the following are the most common stages:

Pre-Seed Funding:

  • This is the earliest stage of funding and is usually used to support the development of a business idea or prototype.

  • Pre-seed funding often comes from the founder’s savings, friends, family, or angel investors.

  • The goal at this stage is to prove the concept’s viability and get the business off the ground.

Seed Funding:

  • Seed funding is used to take a business from the concept or prototype stage to the early development or product launch phase.

  • Seed funding can come from angel investors, venture capital (VC) firms, or crowdfunding platforms.

  • Startups use this funding to validate their market, build a customer base, and refine their product or service.

Series A Funding:

  • Series A is the first significant round of venture capital financing, usually occurring once a startup has shown some traction in the market.

  • This stage aims to help the company scale its operations, reach a broader customer base, and expand into new markets.

  • Series A funding often involves a mix of institutional investors, venture capital firms, and potential participation from existing angel investors.

  • Risks and Expectations — Higher risk, bet on potential disruption and growth

Series B Funding:

  • Series B funding is typically raised after a startup has successfully scaled its operations, demonstrated significant growth, and is looking to expand further.

  • This stage helps the company continue its growth, develop new products or services, and capture a larger market share.

  • It often involves a broad range of institutional investors and larger venture capital firms.

  • Risks and Expectations — More proven track record of growth, concrete metrics, and validation

Series C and Beyond:

  • Series C, D, and subsequent rounds follow if the company continues to grow and requires additional capital to scale further.

  • These rounds focus on scaling operations, international expansion, mergers and acquisitions, and maintaining a competitive edge.

  • It often involves well-established venture capital firms, private equity investors, and corporate investors.

  • Risks and Expectations — Lower risk, well-defined scaling and profitability strategy

  • Companies at this stage may be preparing for an IPO (Initial Public Offering) or acquisition.

Initial Public Offering (IPO):

  • An IPO is the process of a company becoming publicly traded by selling shares to the general public on a stock exchange.

  • This stage allows the company’s original investors, founders, and employees to realize significant returns on their investments.

  • IPOs provide access to large amounts of capital and liquidity but also come with increased regulatory and reporting requirements.


  • An acquisition occurs when a larger company purchases a startup or business for various reasons, such as gaining access to technology, talent, or market share.

  • The acquired company’s investors and founders typically receive a payout in the form of cash, stock, or a combination of both.


It’s important to note that not all startups go through all of these stages, and the exact sequence may vary based on the company’s industry, growth rate, and funding needs. Additionally, some startups may choose to bootstrap (self-fund) their growth and may never seek external funding.