What is the Difference Between Angel, Seed Stage, and Pre-Series A Funding?

Not necessarily anything

Any differences would be in the source of the capital involved.

Angel funding comes from individuals. Angels investors.

That funding could be your “seed round” or “pre-series a” or just an “angel round” … those are really just words mixed up but essentially meaning the same thing.

At that stage, you’re typically raising capital because of the idea and vision, the team, and the possibility. You’re still building something and trying to figure out the business model.

Keep in mind the distinction of “startup” from “new business” — a startup is a temporary venture in search of a business model. Meaning it doesn’t have an apparent way of making money and being successful.

Because of that, in a startup, this funding really has nothing to do with customers or revenue.

And that’s important to appreciate because you’ll get many advisors or investors who say it is or tell you you need more customers. And you have to discern if they’re right or if they have no idea what they’re talking about (truly). Appreciate that being an investor or having wealth or even previous success, doesn’t mean they have any idea what they’re doing.

So, should you actually have more customers and revenue (in which case, you’re a new business) or should you not because you actually are a startup?

Point being that at this stage, your Pre A Whatever, you’re either seeking actual Angel Investors (who know better and don’t expect customers/revenue) or you’re seeking business investors/partners, who are interested in viable businesses. They are NOT THE SAME!

Your Series funding tends to come from what are referred to as institutional sources — entities. Venture capital firms are what we call institutional sources. These are not individuals, they’re funds, aggregates of investors, managed by “VCs” who operate those funds.

Series funding at this A and even B round, usually isn’t associated with businesses, you’re likely still a startup.

That is, businesses don’t raise VC in the classical sense of a business (e.g. a new restaurant or accounting practice wouldn’t be interesting to VC). So your startup is in transition from startup to company (hence a startup being a temporary venture; at some point, it’s no longer a startup).

The Series A round tends to be associated with scale: massive growth and establishing the market while starting to prove out a business model.

The Series B round tends to be associated with the focus on customers and transitioning to an operating company as a result of that known business model.

Now, I say “tends” to because there are always exceptions to the norm.

As a venture moves through B to C and on, it’s established, moreso a company now and so technically a business like any other, granted, not really “new” anymore — hence the difference between “startup” and “new business.”