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Business Funding : 6 Unconventional Ways to Get It

business funding

 

Getting business funding… Whether you’re selling home-made tomato sauce out of your kitchen or teaming up with college friends to create a tech start-up, every entrepreneur needs capital. Getting the financing to operate or expand your business is not easy.

Sometimes you need to ask a wealthy family member or friend. Sometimes you need to think outside the box to get business funding.

And sometimes you just need a list like this.

Here are some of the most effective ways to come with capital via unconventional business funding sources (i.e. not banks for startups). They include:

  • Traditional crowdfunding sites
  • Equity crowdfunding
  • Peer-to-Peer lending
  • Alternative lenders
  • Commercial challenges
  • Business barter

Traditional Crowdfunding Sites

Traditional ways of finding investors involves creating a business plan. You also need a well-rehearsed presentation, and lots of market research targeted toward a small cluster of wealthy individuals. Crowdfunding turns the funnel upside down and allows for anyone to donate a little or a lot to your venture.

Here are some of the best traditional crowdfunding sites for business funding:

Gofundme: Gofundme has helped entrepreneurs raise over $5 billion for their causes. According to their site, it is the first and only guarantee for personal funding. It’s no wonder why they claim to be the #1 traditional crowdfunding site.

PatreonPatreon’s focus is on things creative. Whether it’s music, games, podcasts, writing, video, and film, and their list goes on. So far, Patreon has helped raise over $350 million. Way to go, artists!

Kickstarter: This is one of the first and largest crowdfunding platforms. So far, it has funded more than 145,900 projects with a whopping 14,823,636 (and counting) total backers! While on the site, also subscribe to their weekly newsletter to see some of the favorites of the Kickstarter team.

Indiegogo: Indiegogo is a launchpad for creative ideas of all shapes and sizes. In addition, they pair the funding and marketplace sides of their website very well. They allow for anyone to create or fund a project, and you can easily find and buy funded projects.

CrowdRise: CrowdRise celebrates raising awareness for great causes and nonprofits. Also, with their Social Amp app, you can add social sharing to further generate revenue for a nonprofit’s campaign, event, or website.

Fundable: Fundable is the largest business crowdfunding platform of it’s kind. Its creators started the business crowdfunding platform so that companies can raise capital from investors, customers, and friends.

 

Equity Crowdfunding Sites

Unlike traditional crowdfunding sites, equity crowdfunding sites also allow you to sell actual company shares.

Here are a few popular examples:

AngelList: AngelList is a great way to get in on the early stages of startups. Additionally, you can get involved with professional investors. Invest in a startup fund. Also, you can invest alongside experience investors. The downside? For now, only accredited investors can invest.

Fundable: Fundable also made this list because of all that it has to offer. On the site, you can get involved in either equity-based or rewards-based campaigns (or both!) for small businesses. Their scope spans from energy and finance to food and technology.

Crowdfunder: Crowdfunder is a global social network for equity and contribution crowdfunding. They raise funds for startups, small businesses, and social enterprises. They have a network of over 130,000 entrepreneurs. Also, investors and have funded more than a 100 deals. Their average deal size of $1,800,000!

Wefunder: Wefunder seems like Kickstarter, but with equity. Wefunder allows you to invest in your local community, in longshots, and everything in between. You can read up on their charter here.

OneVest: OneVest is an equity crowdfunding platform. It links top entrepreneurs with accredited investors that are willing to invest in start-ups. Due to this, more than 500,000 team introductions have been made and more than 355,000 entrepreneurs are in the network.

 

Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer lending sites make it possible for everyone to donate small to medium amounts directly to businesses listed on their sites. Also, the level of risk of the business determines the loan rate and the rate of return. So the safer the business, the lower the loan rate and rate of return for the lender.

Lending Club: Lending Club is the world’s largest online marketplace linking investors and borrowers. Investors purchase Notes, which correspond to fractions of loans. Hence, borrowers can then use these loans to help with debt, make purchases, and more.

Upstart:  Upstart helps you get a rate based on your experience. Their goal is to give loans that look beyond credit scores. Also, it has grown 4x in 2017 and maintains one of the industry’s highest best ratings.

Prosper: Prosper is America’s first peer-to-peer lending marketplace. Over 750,000 people have been given $12 billion in loans. These loans have helped consolidate their debt, make home improvements, begin new ventures, and more.

 

Alternative Lenders

These business funding sources are alternative to banks for traditional debt-financing, such as lines of credit and term loans.

CAN Capital: CAN Capital is one of the largest sources of alternative funding. Most of all, their focus is on small and medium-sized businesses in the US.  Since their launch in 1998, CAN Capital has helped over 65,000 small and medium-sized US businesses. In addition, they have offered over $5.5 billion in capital to these businesses, and they are still innovative two decades later.

Kabbage: Kabbage is an online lender that offers alternative loans in addition to small business loans from banks. Kabbage has funded over $500 million to small businesses. You can get a fast business loan of up to $250,000 and can choose 6-12 month terms.

Credibility Capital: Credibility Capital lends to high-quality small businesses. Their investors include banks, hedge funds, and family offices with an appetite for current income.

Dealstruck: Dealstruck has provided over $5 million in funding to small businesses. Its goal is to help small businesses drift away from short-term, high-cost financing towards more conventional bank financing.

 

Commercial challenges

These are challenges posted by companies. For example, Starbucks recently announced that they would pay $10-11 million to the first team to come up with a biodegradable cup. Look for challenges in your industry. You can find what’s on the wish lists of companies and you may just get your capital from it!

 

Business Barter

Money is not the only business funding option you have. The Barter Economy is a great financing source for startup growth. For instance, your new co-working start-up needs a logo design. A professionally designed logo can cost $1,500 to $3,000, but if you have a friend who is a designer that needs something in your skill set, you can barter the costs and both of you can end up ahead. This is a great, and possibly the oldest way, to ease the financial burden and save your cash.

 

In Conclusion

Finding credible business funding sources can be hard. There’s nothing easy about going out on your own. Trust us, we’ve done it! However, thinking outside the box and seeing options available to you has never been easier.

However, getting the money you need is no small feat. You still need to put together a strong team. You must develop your products to the point where they look investable. Also, you must be capable to deliver your vision, or at least have a partner that’ll take care of that part of the business. That’s exactly what we do here at LA New Product Development Team. Take your first step today. Reach out to us, and share your vision.

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Onega Ulanova

Onega co-founded LA NPDT because of her love to innovation, brand development, and people. She is passionate about making the world around her a better place and gives back through volunteering.

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