The Start on Purpose Funding Directory is designed to give business owners faster access to a wider range of debt and equity funding options to match their company’s current and future funding needs.
In addition, we offer a “Bonus for Beginners” directory of local business education resources including the Small Business Administration’s SCORE business planning assistance centers.
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An "angel" investor is an individual who usually provides equity capital to privately-held companies with high growth potential. Angels can include high income professionals, corporate executives, wealthy retirees, entertainers and sports stars, successful entrepreneurs and individuals who have inherited money.
Angels invest in restaurants, films, oil and gas drilling, new technology companies, franchise businesses, real estate, consumer products, business services and many other types of promising enterprises.
Some angels invest in companies that are related to their own business expertise while others invest in businesses that can bring new jobs to a local community.
Angels have proven to be an important source of interim funding for companies that are too young to appeal to traditional commercial bank lenders or don’t yet qualify for multi-million dollar venture capital funding.
Increasingly, angels are forming clubs to make the process of linking active private investors with worthy entrepreneurs fast and easy. Some angel groups pool together funds to support a small number of chosen companies, while others encourage their members to invest in any company at will.
Our Funding Directory includes angel investment clubs that are located throughout the United States. These organizations have varying application fees and requirements to qualify entrepreneurs to pitch club members. Better clubs also offer coaching services to help entrepreneurs improve their presentation skills to club members.
Start on Purpose is the only free search directory to include a select list of private equity funds that invest in “lower middle market” and “middle market” companies that are headquartered in the United States. In general, these businesses are revenue-generating, profitable and enjoy enterprise values between $50 and $500 million.
The investment activities of private equity funds, also known as “buyout,” are highly diverse. They purchase minority, majority or 100% stakes in businesses, which is great for businesses owners who are ready to cash out. They “recapitalize” the ownership of a company through management or employee buyouts as well as corporate carve-outs (sale of a division of a larger company). They help established businesses buy other companies, pursue aggressive growth or expand into international markets. Lastly, some specialized funds troll for opportunities to turn-around financially-distressed or bankrupt companies.
Start on Purpose provides information on a relatively new breed of support services for startup entrepreneurs, called "incubators." An incubator can be a for-profit or non-profit entity that offers office space, administrative and other support services to startup entrepreneurs. Better incubator services provide high caliber advisory services to help entrepreneurs improve business plans, speed product commercialization, set up accounting functions or achieve fundraising goals. These organizations may also help entrepreneurs network to local legal and accounting professionals, angel clubs and first customers.
The costs associated with incubator services vary significantly. Some incubators associated with community development organizations offer space and advisory services at a nominal charge. Others require entrepreneurs to sign office leases or allocate an equity stake in the young enterprise to the incubator's owner or sponsor. Visit the Start on Purpose Funding Directory and search on Local Business Planning Resources to find incubators near you.
Micro-loan organizations provide small first-time loans of $500 to $5000 to startup and "micro" business owners. These organizations are notable because they often lend to individuals who have poor credit histories or limited work experience. With successful repayment and business progress, entrepreneurs can continue to borrow funds up to $30,000 on favorable terms.
Many micro-loan organizations also provide low-cost or free business development training courses for prospective or active borrowers. Micro-loan organizations tend to favor women, minority borrowers and disenfranchised individuals as part of their community service mission. Visit the Start on Purpose Funding Directory and search on Debt Resources to find micro-loan organizations near you.
In recent years, philanthropists and corporations have been pooling funds to invest in for-profit and non-profit enterprises that address social needs in healthcare, poverty relief, education, the environment, clean energy production, drug and alcohol addiction, housing, food production and distribution, economic development and more. High impact social entrepreneurs earn funding support from "social venture capitalists by committing to use disciplined business practices to deliver solutions to communities in need. Visit the Start on Purpose Funding Directory and search on Equity Resources at the seed-stage or early-stage to find social investment organizations near you.
A venture capital fund is a professionally-managed company that is organized to invest in companies with ambitious growth plans. Individuals who make investment decisions for a venture capital fund are often called “venture capitalists” or “VCs.” Unlike commercial banks, venture capital funds invest in growing companies in the form of equity and do not base their investment decisions on the value of secured business collateral or the credit score of the founding entrepreneur. They seek to make a lucrative financial return on their invested capital through the growth in value of the overall company.
The investment decisions of venture capital funds are guided by a fund's stated investment criteria. The Start on Purpose Funding Directory organizes venture capital resources according to geographic location, industry and general stage of the entrepreneurial company's business development. Venture funds that invest in raw startups are called seed-stage investors. Venture funds that invest in companies with more advanced product concepts, customers or profits that seek additional development financing are called early-stage investors. Venture funds that invest in revenue generating companies in need of financing to spur rapid growth are called expansion-stage investors. Some larger venture funds are stage-agnostic and will fund prospering companies through several stages of business development.
The news media often depicts venture capitalists as hard-driving negotiators who only invest in companies that have the potential to become super big businesses with enterprise values approaching $1 billion. Actually, the more common successful venture capital transaction involves businesses that ultimately grow to enterprise values of $50 to $100 million. As such, entrepreneurs should not be discouraged from seeking venture capital if their business plans don't represent the next AirBnB or Facebook of their respective industries.
The Small Business Administration rarely lends money directly to businesses. However, it does provide incentives to regional and national banks to provide loans to small businesses to start new businesses, acquire businesses, buy buildings, invest in equipment and inventory and manage working capital. There are over 900 regional and national banks in America that participate as Small Business Administration program lenders. To find SBA lenders near you, search Debt Resources in the Funding Directory.
SCORE is a helpful non-profit organization that provides free, one-on-one confidential business planning and coaching services to startup entrepreneurs and small business owners. Volunteer retired executives assist business owners improve their business strategies and are highly knowledgeable about SBA loan programs. SCORE offices also conduct special workshops on a broad range of small business planning at an affordable cost. To find SCORE offices in your state, visit the Funding Directory and search Debt Resources.