Launching Dreams: Pre-Seed Funding 101 for Startups
Financial Management

Launching Dreams: Pre-Seed Funding 101 for Startups

Martin Bell
Martin Bell
5 min read.

Pre-seed funding is an important early stage of financing for startups, helping them gain traction. This funding provides initial capital, playing a crucial role in launching startups and turning ideas into prototypes or marketable products.

Understanding pre-seed funding is essential for entrepreneurs in the startup world but can sometimes seem very complex and daunting. But don´t worry. In this beginner's guide, we will explain its importance, how it works, and how you can secure it for your startup's earliest stages.

Rocket launching into space surrounded by money

What is Pre-Seed Funding?

At the pre-seed funding stage, startups usually obtain their initial capital from sources like friends and family, angel investors, or incubators/accelerators. Pre-seed funding comes before the seed funding stage, which is the next financing phase.

Pre-seed funding aims to provide entrepreneurs with the funds they need to validate their startup ideas and create prototypes or minimum viable products (MVPs). This crucial financial support helps startups progress towards securing seed funding or even venture capital.

Why is Pre-Seed Funding Important for Startups?

Pre-seed funding is crucial for startups as it provides the necessary support to kick-start their entrepreneurial journey. This financial backing helps them validate their business concepts, conduct market research and tests, and solidify their business models.

It also allows startups to gather crucial data and insights, enhancing their ability to attract further investment. With pre-seed funding, startups can demonstrate the feasibility and market potential of their ideas, making them more attractive to seed investors or venture capitalists when raising money.

Moreover, this initial round of financing opens doors to valuable networks, mentorship, and strategic partnerships, all of which can greatly accelerate growth and success.

Joyful entrepreneur celebrating successful investment acquisition
Joyful entrepreneur celebrating successful investment acquisition

How Does Pre-Seed Funding Work?

Pre-seed funding typically involves raising a small investment, usually ranging from $10,000 to $250,000. This initial funding round is commonly referred to as the 'friends and family round' since it primarily relies on personal connections for funding.

The success rate of pre-seed funding rounds can vary, as each startup and business idea is unique. However, statistics indicate that only about 1-2% of startups succeed in subsequent funding stages after securing pre-seed funding.

During the pre-seed stage, capital and seed funding may also come from relatively small investments made by angel investors or early-stage venture capital firms. These investors are more likely to invest in a startup with a solid business plan, market, potential customers, and an experienced team.

What are the Requirements for Pre-Seed Funding?

Unlike other early funding stages, pre-seed funding doesn't require a detailed business plan or extensive financial projections. Instead, pre-seed investors focus on a clear idea, a prototype or MVP, and a strong team capable of executing the concept. They also look for evidence of market demand for the product or service.

The Differences Between Pre-Seed and Seed Funding

While pre-seed funding lays the groundwork for early-stage startups (involving investments ranging from $10,000 to $250,000), seed funding follows as the next stage with a wider financial range, usually from $250,000 to $2 million. While both types of funding are crucial for early-stage startups, they have distinct differences.

Visual representation of funding growth: Large plant next to a small seedling
Comparison of the two funding sizes through visual representation
  • Stage: Pre-seed funding is obtained at the idea stage, while seed funding is acquired after progress in product development. Pre-seed funding is meant for research and development, while seed funding is raised for scaling.
  • Source: Pre-seed funding comes from personal connections with venture capitalists or angels, while seed funding comes from venture capital, angel investors, or investor groups for later stage investors or established startups.
  • Equity: Pre-seed funding involves smaller investment and equity stake due to higher risk at an earlier stage, while seed funding involves larger investments in early stage companies.

Timing Matters - When to Pursue Pre-Seed Funding

Timing is crucial for securing pre-seed funding. Startups vary in their approach—some choose a modest pre-seed investment initially, while others bootstrap and rely on their own resources for research and development before seeking external investment at the pre-seed stage.

Clock symbolizing the importance of time

Factors to consider when determining the right timing for a market strategy during pre-seed rounds include:

  • Product or service complexity: If extensive research and development are required before launching, pre-seed funding may be necessary to progress.
  • Founding team size: If you have a small team and need additional resources to build your product or service, pre-seed funding can bridge the gap.
  • Target market and competition: If you are entering a highly competitive market, pre-seed funding can give you an advantage in developing and launching your product or service.

How to get started with Pre-Seed funding

Here are a few steps to help you get started with pre-seed funding:

  1. Develop a Strong Business Plan: A well-developed business plan is crucial for attracting pre-seed investors. It should clearly outline your product or service, target market, customer interest, competition, and financial projections.
  2. Have a Prototype or MVP: A prototype or minimum viable product (MVP) can increase your chances of securing pre-seed funding. It shows that you have a tangible product or service and are ready to move forward with it.
  3. Create a Pitch Deck: A compelling pitch deck can help you make a strong case for your business to potential investors. Ensure that it includes key information about your product, market opportunity, team, and financials.
  4. Determine Your Valuation: Valuation is the process of determining the worth of your company. It is important to have a realistic valuation when seeking pre-seed funding, as it will impact how much equity you need to give away.

Legal and Contractual Aspects

Building a strong relationship with your pre-seed investors is incredibly valuable. They provide financial support and resources, offer mentorship and industry connections, and give strategic advice for your business. It's also beneficial to have legal and financial advisors, such as a startup financing attorney, to help navigate the complexities of pre-seed and future funding rounds.


Pre-seed funding is an important phase in the startup journey. It's a time for exploration, learning, and laying the groundwork for your financial resources, startup idea, and future growth. By gaining insights into these key aspects, you'll be well-prepared to navigate your entrepreneurial path in your fundraising efforts.

Now that you have a solid grasp of the topic, let's wrap up by exploring some common questions that often come up during this stage of the startup process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is considered a suitable amount in a pre-seed funding round?

When preparing to raise pre-seed funding, it should be sufficient to cover initial startup costs, such as product development and pre-product-market-fit research, while also allowing for future growth, including the provision for a small office space if needed. The amount of pre-seed money required for funding varies depending on factors like the business model, product-market fit, and industry.

How long does pre-seed funding typically last after a seed round?

Pre-seed funding usually lasts anywhere from 6 months to 1 year, depending on the needs of the startup. After that, the startups begin to typically seek seed funding to continue their growth and development.

How much equity should you get in a pre-seed startup?

The amount of equity given to investors in a pre-seed round can vary, but it is typically between 10-20%. It's important to carefully consider the equity split with future funding rounds from investors and negotiate with potential investors to ensure that you maintain enough ownership and control of your business.

About Martin Bell

Martin Bell (Founder & CEO of Bell Ventures) is the visionary and driving force behind the hyper-successful 100 Tasks Startup System which has driven the growth of 20,000+ startups including Zalando and Delivery Hero.

At Rocket Internet, he pioneered the 100-Day-Launch process and led 120+ private and public sector venture-building projects.

Now Martin aims to democratize entrepreneurship by sharing his invaluable practical knowledge and tools to empower aspiring entrepreneurs just like you. Does that sound like you? Then make sure to learn more below ...

Systematically Build Your Startup 3-5x Faster

The Ultimate Founders Checklist 🚀
Get the Checklist
"The 100 Tasks is a true necessity for any entrepreneur! The playbook is full of useful insights and the Slack community helps people support one another. I wish we had this systematic approach when we were building WeTransfer."
Co-Founder, We-Transfer
"Most venture studios possess — at most! — 50% of the know-how contained in the Playbook. Due to the gigantic value packed into this startup manual, I told Martin that he can basically charge whatever he wants for the System."
-Michael van Lier
CEO, We Are Builders
"Martin's process was an easy-to-follow instruction manual that explained many tasks that weren't even on our radar."
-Dominik Ziems
Lead of KPMG Project KOSMOS
"The 100 Tasks got us to MVP at lightning speed and helped us clinch great investors! I'm also using the 100 Tasks to start two new projects. And I've been given a board position at another company. Thanks, Martin!"
Jonathan Fried
Founder, in-Court app

Systematically Launch & Scale Your Startup 3-5x Faster

Free 1 Hour Case Study & Training for Entrepreneurs by Martin Bell.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.