Most people don’t have the cash they need to start a business, so they get funding from lenders. If a small business owner has good enough credit and a good business plan, they can get funding from a bank loan. However, the bank often denies a startup a loan because they do not have strong enough collateral. This often leads to startups seeking funding from angel round financing or crowd-sourced financing.
But are these good alternatives? Sometimes small business owners will attempt one of these types of financing to get collateral for a bank loan, but is that a good idea? Both have their strengths and weaknesses and will work better for some startups than others. The entrepreneurial attorney at Tressler & Associates, PLLC can help you figure out which type of financing is best for you and what legal documents you need to attempt either.
The Pros & Cons of Angel Round Financing
Angel round financing is when a single or small group of high-net-worth individuals want to invest in a company. These individuals are called angel investors and make a profitby investing in shares of companies. They can later sell off their shares of the business for a profit or continuously profit off their share for years.
- Angel financing can produce more money. Depending on the worth of the angel investor, they may prefer to invest enough into your business that you don’t need a bank loan. This way, they can have a bigger stake and more profit while you take on less risk depending on the investor.
- Angel financing is not a loan. While there are exceptions, it is uncommon for angel investors to treat their investment like a loan. They can seek a contract that says a small business owner will pay it back, but usually, angel investors don’t expect money to be repaid. They typically treat it as a business venture or investment that will lead to more money. This doesn’t happen if their investment is treated like a loan with minor interest.
- Angel investors take on the risk. Since there’s no loan and the investment doesn’t have to be paid back, the risk on the business owner is lessened incredibly. If the business goes under, there’s no collateral other than the business itself. There’s also no bank breathing down your neck, damaging your credit score. While a failed business will affect your resume and portfolio, that’s something many would prefer over owing a bank after a failed business.
- Angel investors are usually also business owners. Angel investors naturally want your business to succeed and are typically more than happy to provide advice, connections, and resources to help your business become successful. In many ways, an angel investor can be like a business partner.
- Risk of more pressure while the business is operating. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter to a bank if you succeed or fail as long as you make your payments. They’re not going to pressure you to do well or change your business philosophy. An angel investor will, as they want you to succeed so they can get a profit. While having a business partner can be helpful, it can also be a pain if you have different business philosophies.
- Angel investors have a controlling stake in your business. Where a bank cannot tell you how to run your business, an angel investor with shares in your company can. If you disagree and come into conflict on how to proceed, your business can stall.
The Pros & Cons of Crowd-Sourced Financing
Crowd-sourced financing is any funding you can get from donations from the general public. While going out and asking people for money isn’t feasible, online sites like Kickstarter, GoFundMe, IndieGoGo, and Patreon have made it easy for people to donate money. You can advertise your crowdfunding campaign on a budget and these sites will push them to help you find success. It’s not common for small businesses to fund their entire startup on crowd-sourced financing, but it’s how many have attracted investors or gained collateral for a bank loan.
- You can choose whether your funding is equity-based. To be equity-based means that anyone who invests is investing for a portion of your business’s shares. Not all crowd-sourced financing options allow for this, but you can use one that does to reward investors for funding your business. At the same time, you can choose not to, so you don’t owe anyone anything but an attempt at starting your business.
- Creates proof that there is a market for your business. When you start a business, it’s to offer a service or product. Investors are investing in the idea that people want to use that service or product. When you can’t presale a product before production, crowd-sourced financing can prove consumer interest. It’s hard to argue that there’s no market for your business when people are paying you without even getting the service or product.
- You can use crowd-sourced financing at any time. You don’t have to attend conventions or make appointments with investors. With crowd-sourced financing, you decide when to ask for funding. This is useful when you need to attract investors, purchase collateral, or cover the surprise costs of starting a business. It’s a lot faster to start a Kickstarter campaign than it is to find an investor.
- Fundraising is often limiting. Angel investors are usually incredibly well-off, enough so that if your business fails, they’ll make it out just fine. With crowd-sourced financing, you’re relying on the general public. There’s no guarantee that they’ll have the money you’re looking for or offer it to you. Crowd-sourced financing also rarely provides enough money to start a business. Its strength lies in covering costs or helping startups afford collateral for a bank loan.
Which is Best for Your Startup?
When it comes to angel round financing vs. crowd-sourced financing, it depends on how you feel about potentially taking on business partners. It’s unlikely that angel investors will just leave you to your own devices. If you feel your business can only succeed under your vision, you can’t do angel round financing, but if you welcome help, angel investors are the way to go.
If you wish to pursue crowd-sourced financing, your best option is to use it to collect collateral or prove to a bank that your business is a safe investment for a loan. Then you can run your business without outside interference as long as you pay back loan payments.
Why Do You Need an Attorney for Angel Round Financing & Crowd-Sourced Financing?
Whether you partner with angel investors or take out a loan, you need legal documentation protecting your rights to your business and the money you take. Failing to obtain documentation can use serious problems in the future, and potentially cause you to lose your business.
Even with crowd-sourced financing, you need to establish control, and how much power your supporters do or don’t have. For specifics on what documentation you need, how to create them, and how to file them, you need an experienced entrepreneurial attorney.
Contact Tressler & Associates, PLLC for Help
Starting a new business is something you have to take seriously. Once you know what kind of business you want to start, financing is the most important thing. Without money, you can’t start a business, but money can come with unwanted consequences.
Contact the entrepreneurial law attorney at Tressler & Associates, PLLC for help. We’ll help you make sure that your financing and your control over your business are protected.