6 min to read Series A funding
Once a business has developed a track record (an established user base, consistent revenue figures, or some other key performance indicator), that company may opt for Series A funding in order to further optimize its user base and product offerings. Opportunities may be taken to scale the product across different markets. In this round, it's important to have a plan for developing a business model that will generate long-term profit. Oftentimes, seed startups have great ideas that generate a substantial amount of enthusiastic users, but the company doesn't know how it will monetize the business. Typically, Series A rounds raise approximately $2 million to $15 million, but this number has increased on average due to high tech industry valuations, or unicorns. The average Series A funding as of 2021 is $15.6 million.
In Series A funding, investors are not just looking for great ideas. Rather, they are looking for companies with great ideas as well as a strong strategy for turning that idea into a successful, money-making business. For this reason, it's common for firms going through Series A funding rounds to be valued at up to $23 million. The investors involved in the Series A round come from more traditional venture capital firms. By this stage, it's also common for investors to take part in a somewhat more political process. It's common for a few venture capital firms to lead the pack. In fact, a single investor may serve as an "anchor." Once a company has secured a first investor, it may find that it's easier to attract additional investors as well.
Angel investors also invest at this stage, but they tend to have much less influence in this funding round than they did in the seed funding stage. It is increasingly common for companies to use equity crowdfunding in order to generate capital as part of a Series A funding round. Part of the reason for this is the reality that many companies, even those which have successfully generated seed funding, tend to fail to develop interest among investors as part of a Series A funding effort. Indeed, fewer than half of seed-funded companies will go on to raise Series A funds as well. Series B funding
Series B rounds are all about taking businesses to the next level, past the development stage. Investors help startups get there by expanding market reach. Companies that have gone through seed and Series A funding rounds have already developed substantial user bases and have proven to investors that they are prepared for success on a larger scale. Series B funding is used to grow the company so that it can meet these levels of demand. Building a winning product and growing a team requires quality talent acquisition. Bulking up on business development, sales, advertising, tech, support, and employees costs a firm a few pennies. The average estimated capital raised in a Series B round is $33 million. Companies undergoing a Series B funding round are well-established, and their valuations tend to reflect that; most Series B companies have valuations between around $30 million and $60 million, with an average of $58 million.
Series B appears similar to Series A in terms of the processes and key players. Series B is often led by many of the same characters as the earlier round, including a key anchor investor that helps to draw in other investors. The difference with Series B is the addition of a new wave of other venture capital firms that specialize in later-stage investing. Series C funding
Businesses that make it to Series C funding sessions are already quite successful. These companies look for additional funding in order to help them develop new products, expand into new markets, or even to acquire other companies. In Series C rounds, investors inject capital into the meat of successful businesses, in an effort to receive more than double that amount back. Series C funding is focused on scaling the company, growing as quickly and as successfully as possible. As the operation gets less risky, more investors come to play. In Series C, groups such as hedge funds, investment banks, private equity firms, and large secondary market groups accompany the type of investors mentioned above. The reason for this is that the company has already proven itself to have a successful business model; these new investors come to the table expecting to invest significant sums of money into companies that are already thriving as a means of helping to secure their own position as business leaders.
Most commonly, a company will end its external equity funding with Series C. However, some companies can go on to Series D and even Series E rounds of funding as well. For the most part, though, companies gaining up to hundreds of millions of dollars in funding through Series C rounds are prepared to continue to develop on a global scale. Many of these companies utilize Series C funding to help boost their valuation in anticipation of an IPO. At this point, companies enjoy valuations in the area of $118 million most often, although some companies going through Series C funding may have valuations much higher. These valuations are also founded increasingly on hard data rather than on expectations for future success. Companies engaging in Series C funding should have established, strong customer bases, revenue streams, and proven histories of growth.
Companies that do continue with Series D funding tend to either do so because they are in search of a final push before an IPO or, alternatively, because they have not yet been able to achieve the goals they set out to accomplish during Series C funding.
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