Your vision: a creative startup that will change the world, where you’ll have a cool office, cool employees and an even cooler coffee machine. But first you need some money. That’s where seed funding comes in: During the early stages of a company’s growth, an investor purchases part of the business. So how in the world do you discover these investors? We did the research for you and found nine seed funding programs and organizations.
We love Start-Up Chile – an organization run by the Chilean government that aims to “change the world through innovation.” Start-Up Chile has worked with so many businesses from so many countries that they consider themselves the biggest startup community in the world. They’ve helped brands like DesignGood-ers Bureo Skateboards along the way. Definitely add these guys to your outreach list.
Hong Kong’s NEST was started by someone who truly understands the life of an entrepreneur – because he’s lived it. CEO Simon Squibb started his own company in Hong Kong when he was 24, and now he is out to help others do the same. Squibb and his team work to bring both capital and resources to companies with the potential to make it big.
3. Y Combinator
With an impressive list of stats – 700 startups founded since 2005, a collection of companies valued at over $30 billion – this San Francisco-based program has helped now-household names like Disqus, reddit, AirBnB and Dropbox along the way. In addition to providing funding for accepted startups, Y Combinator also gives newbie startups three months of intensive training. Another reason to keep Y Combinator in mind? A post-fund community that includes over 1,400 founders.
In 2009, a group of ambitious students approached Northeastern University and expressed the need for more entrepreneurial support within the university. Northeastern listened, and the rest is startup history. Another supporter of Bureo Skateboards (these dudes are popular), IDEA has also helped the education innovators of reweave on their path to startup success.
5. 500 Startups
This “badass, global family of startup founders, mentors, and investors” was founded by Dave McClure, also known as a super angel investor who has done stints at PayPal, Facebook, Microsoft and Intel. In addition to a four-month accelerator program, 500 also offers a mentor search engine that allows you to find your own mentor in areas including growth and design.
These guys had us at their tagline:“Software is eating the world.” A venture capital firm with a sense of humor? Count us in. Their impressive Menlo Park, Calif., offices and the fact that companies like Soylent (featured on DesignGood) and CrowdMed are part of their portfolio don’t hurt, either.
When it comes to seeking funding, New Yorkers trust Lerer Ventures. Thanks to a (super) strong team that boasts members like Eric Hippeau (former CEO of The Huffington Post) and a portfolio filled with names like BuzzFeed, Venmo and DesignGood favorite Everlane, Lerer Ventures is the first place we would stop for first-class funding.
Ever heard of a little company called LinkedIn? What about Facebook, or AirBnB? These brands have changed the way we work, socialize and travel – and if not for Greylock, they might never have become the giants they are today. Boasting over $2 billion under management and 150 partner companies that have made public offerings, Greylock is a highly respected venture capital firm and one you may want to check out.
Looking to raise capital for your company on a slightly smaller scale? You may want to check out the UK-based SEEDRS – an online platform that allows for open-source investing on a variety of levels. Think of it like a Kickstarter for startups.