Nearly every week, we hear reports of startups in Africa raise funds. But what do the different types of funding rounds mean? asks Damilola Faustino in this piece:
Well, a funding round is anytime money is raised from one or more investors for a business.
They’re given a letter, such as A Round, B Round, C Round, etc. because each round follows another. The letter identifies which number of rounds they’re on. Here, we take a closer look at the types of rounds and what they mean.
Series A round funding
Investing at this stage is usually regarded as high risk because the company will probably still be at the startup stage with a lot to prove.
Angel investors may be interested, but venture capitalists may also invest. Angels usually invest their own money and are often considered high net worth individuals.
VCs and other institutional investors tend to invest other peoples’ money, so, they usually only invest in companies with a proven track record to reduce their risk.
Series B funding
A series B round is the second round of funding by private equity investors and VCs. By this stage, the company will probably have a higher valuation than before.
The risk will be lower than before as the business will have a track record – so the cost to invest will be higher. Investors will expect to see signs of growth at this stage in revenue, users and product/service success
Series C round
A series C round is needed when a company is ready for rapid growth. The company will usually: have become a proven success in its market, wants to make acquisitions of competitors, increase market share and scale up or develop new products or services.
This type of situation is different than an angel in that it is an organization of investors. Usually, this type of investor isn’t as interested in the early stages of a startup and prefers to see some return before they get involved. They like to make deals where they know they will get a return so they can be turned off by too much risk. However, they are more likely to invest a larger sum of money, but typically require ownership and to be placed in a decision-making position.
Seed round usually occurs when the company is at the initial idea stage, or once the founder has a prototype/proof of concept, as well as some kind of sign that there’s a demand for what could be offered.
Meanwhile, an angel round often occurs when a company is only just launching, if not before. Chances are that it will need an investment to support the business because it probably won’t be generating a big enough cash flow to cover all the day-to-day running costs.
Sometimes a seed round and an angel round aren’t two separate rounds, they can be a hybrid of the two. Despite the name, both seed and angel investment rounds usually include a large proportion of funding from friends and family. It can also include money from angel investors who are focused on early-stage companies.