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Seed finance

Helpsheets and support

Published: 01 Jun 2016 Updated: 24 Mar 2021 Update History

The initial capital used to start a business is seed finance. It often comes from the company founders’ personal assets or borrowings, but there are new entrants and approaches to seed-stage funding that can supplement this.

What is seed finance?

The “seed stage” is defined as the critical period when the founders of a business need funding to do solution and business-model development to prove that their new product or service works, before trying to sell it to customers.

The amount of money is usually relatively small, because the business is still very much in its nascent stages – certainly pre-profit, usually pre-revenue and pre-proof of concept.

Potential sources of seed finance

Most investment vehicles are not available at seed stage, so often finance comes from family, friends and business connections. However, there are increasing numbers of organisations that offer seed finance, and many resources available for more information.

Some of the options available at this stage, include:

  • In some instances a start-up loan may be available, including those from the British Business Bank's Start up Loans scheme.
  • Seed-stage angel finance (not all angels offer this and the UK Business Angels Association can offer more information).
  • Equity crowdfunding
  • Micro-venture capital firms invest institutional money (ie other people’s money) in projects that are at the seed stage.
  • Incubator or accelerator schemes may be available in your area.
  • Bank loans or loans via peer-to-peer lenders secured against personal assets can also be used, but this does carry personal risk.
  • Some mature companies or corporate ventures offer seed funding to promising start-ups working on innovative technologies that might be good acquisition candidates later.

Finance at every stage

Business financing is not a one-off decision, but an ongoing and evolving situation. No decision can be made in isolation to the businesses journey. Find out more about what options are suitable now and what might work at another stage.

Business Finance Guide

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Understand your options

Find out more about the different finance options available at different stages of your business journey.

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