Navigating the Difficulty of Startup Funding
By: JeFreda R. Brown, MBA
Before America’s financial crisis, it was difficult for startups to obtain traditional business loans. Now it’s even harder. Startups often have a difficult time securing funding because they don’t have much established history. The lender has to depend upon the financial projections of the business, the experience of the owner or owners of the company, the type of business, and other telltale factors. But thanks to technology, we now have more options available to obtain business funding.
If you are a business owner or prospective business owner, you probably read the latest business news on a daily basis. One of the most discussed topics is business funding. How do businesses obtain the funding they need? How difficult is it to obtain funding? What are some ways in which startups can obtain funding? What types of business funding are available? Why is it so difficult to get access to capital?
Women-owned businesses have it especially difficult when it comes to securing funding as research illustrates a huge gap in the amount of funding allocated toward women’s businesses vs. men’s businesses.
According to a National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) report, there is a noticeable gender gap even when it comes to equity financing. The report states that companies owned by men received 0.4 percent of venture capital funding, but women-owned businesses only received 0.1 percent of venture capital funding. Not only is it difficult to obtain funding if you own a startup, but it’s also difficult to obtain funding if you are a woman who owns a startup.
Thankfully, technology has allowed savvy investors to provide alternative forms of funding to businesses that aren’t succeeding with traditional lending options. These alternative funding sources aren’t bound by the strict guidelines that govern traditional bank loans. Consider just a few of the non-traditional funding sources that are available for your business.
Since 2006, crowdfunding has provided a platform for businesses to obtain financing. This is a popular way to raise funds for startups. Because of the lack of regulations and the increasing number of businesses using crowdfunding, the government has established laws under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Now, anyone is able to invest in companies that use crowdfunding to raise funds. This is known as securities-based crowdfunding. One popular crowdfunding platform for small businesses is Indiegogo.
Microloans are loans that are made available to businesses, but they are normally smaller than traditional business loans. They can start at $500 and go up to $300,000. They are normally administered through a community-based nonprofit organization. Some major microloan lenders are Kiva, Grameen America, and Accion.
There are some reputable online lenders that provide various types of business funding for startups and existing businesses. Here are just a few of the most established and popular providers.
LendingTree is a well-known online lender that provides different types of loans such as business loans and mortgage loans. It has the largest network of lenders in the United States. LendingTree is not a direct lender. They match borrowers with potential lenders. Lenders in their network loan up to $1 million to various types of businesses. Once you are matched with lenders, the lenders will inform you of the funding options available to you and guide you through the next steps. To gain insight into LendingTree’s full capabilities, read this expert review.
Kabbage caters to small businesses. Businesses can apply directly on Kabbage’s website. They provide lines of credit from $2,000 to $100,000 and can be paid back in 6 months or 12 months. They do require that you have been in business for a minimum of one year. In addition, you must have at least $4,200 in monthly revenue for three consecutive months or $50,000 in annual revenue before applying. These are lines of credit, not business loans. Therefore, the funds are available whenever you need them. For more information, read our extensive expert Kabbage review.
Torro is a matchmaker that matches borrowers to potential lenders. Torro’s network not only includes lenders but also private investors and independent brokers. They focus on matching borrowers that have had difficulty obtaining a traditional bank loan. Borrowers are able to obtain funding up to $575,000. You are provided with the specific criteria and application process after being matched with lenders. To discover the specific criteria, read this Torro review.
Dealstruck specializes in creating customized financial packages for business borrowers. Once you obtain funding through Dealstruck, they provide you with access to a client portal. With this portal, you are able to monitor your loan and see all the data pertaining to it. In order to qualify, you must be in business for at least one year, have a credit score of 600, and have annual revenue of $150,000. Borrowers can obtain between $25,000 to $500,000. For additional information, check out this Dealstruck expert review.
As you can see, there are a wealth of options available to businesses that can’t obtain traditional funding. Each year, new online lenders emerge to provide even more options for businesses. You just have to do your research and be patient.
For more resources and information about small business loans, please check out our comprehensive lender reviews.