Pre Seed Vs Seed Fundraising: A Startup's Guide

Pre-seed funding is the initial stage where startups, often with just an idea, seek investment from close connections or initial backers.

Seed funding follows, involving more formal investment rounds after a minimally viable product is developed, attracting a broader range of investors to scale the business.

Factor Pre-Seed Funding Seed Funding
Stage Idea or concept stage Minimally viable product stage
Investors Close friends, family, early backers Angel investors, institutions
Product Development Minimal or no product development MVP developed or in the early stages of progress
Business Plan Often lacks a detailed business plan Requires a clear business strategy
Market Traction Limited or no market traction Emerging product-market fit
Investment Amount Lower funding amounts Higher funding amounts
Risk Level Higher risk, uncertain prospects Lower risk, the potential for growth
Purpose Idea validation and concept testing Scaling and growth initiatives

What is Pre-Seed?

Pre-seed funding marks the initial phase of fundraising for startups, and it's all about taking an idea from the drawing board to reality. This is the stage where a business venture is just an idea, often with minimal or no product development.

The pre-seed stage is characterized by seeking funding from close friends, family members, or initial investors who are willing to take a bet on your concept.

Typically, startups at this stage have not yet reached profitability or achieved significant market traction.

What is Seed Funding?

Seed funding, on the other hand, comes after the pre-seed stage and represents the first formal round of fundraising for startups. By this point, the business has usually developed a minimally viable product (MVP) and started proving its product-market fit.

Seed funding rounds are essential for taking a startup to the next level.

These rounds involve pitching to potential investors, including angel investors and institutional investors, who are interested in providing the capital needed to scale the business.

Pre-Seed vs Seed Funding Rounds

Average pre-seed funding US: $500188 and Worldwide $416,127

1. Stage


  • Pre-seed funding occurs at the earliest stage of a startup's life cycle.
  • The business idea is often in its infancy, with minimal or no product development.
  • This stage is primarily about validating the concept and conducting market research.
  • Funding comes from close connections, like friends, family, and initial supporters.
  • Pre-seed rounds are associated with higher risk, as success is uncertain.
  • Investors are often more interested in the founder's vision and passion.


  • Seed funding follows the pre-seed stage.
  • Startups in seed funding rounds have usually developed a minimally viable product (MVP) or are actively working on one.
  • This stage focuses on scaling the business, acquiring more customers, and refining operations.
  • Funding involves a broader range of investors, including angel investors and institutional investors.
  • Seed funding is associated with a lower level of risk compared to pre-seed.
  • Investors expect a well-defined business plan and potential for growth.

2. Investors


  • Pre-seed funding relies on close connections, such as friends, family, and initial supporters.
  • These investors are often more willing to take risks, as they have a personal connection with the founder.
  • The emphasis is on trust in the founder's vision and passion.


  • Seed funding involves a broader range of investors, including angel investors and institutional investors.
  • These investors are typically more experienced and expect a clear business plan and potential for growth.
  • The focus is on the startup's potential for scalability and market success.

3. Product Development


  • Startups in pre-seed rounds usually have limited or no product development.
  • They might have a concept or prototype but haven't created a functional product yet.
  • The stage is more about idea validation and concept testing.


  • Seed-funded startups have typically made significant progress in product development.
  • They may have a working product or are in the process of refining and scaling it.
  • The focus is on optimizing the product and achieving product-market fit.

4. Business Plan


  • Pre-seed startups may not have a fully developed business plan.
  • Investors are often more interested in the founder's vision and passion.
  • The emphasis is on the potential of the idea itself.


  • Seed-funded startups require a well-defined business plan.
  • Investors expect a detailed roadmap, including strategies for growth and revenue generation.
  • The focus is on executing a clear business strategy.

5. Market Traction


  • Pre-seed startups have limited or no market traction.
  • They are in the process of validating their idea and may not have customer interest or sales.
  • The stage is about early concept testing.


  • Startups in seed funding rounds have begun to prove their product-market fit.
  • They may have early customers, user feedback, and a clearer path to market success.
  • The focus is on expanding the customer base and achieving sustainable growth.

6. Investment Amount


  • Funding amounts in pre-seed rounds are relatively low.
  • They typically cover initial expenses and concept testing.
  • The funding is more modest due to the high-risk nature of the stage.


  • Seed funding rounds involve higher funding amounts compared to pre-seed.
  • This capital is used to refine the product, expand the team, and reach profitability.
  • The funding is larger to support scaling and growth initiatives.

7. Risk Level


  • Pre-seed rounds are associated with higher risk, as there's no guarantee that the business idea will succeed.
  • Investors are taking a bet on the founder's potential.
  • The stage is characterized by uncertainty.


  • While there's still risk involved, seed funding is associated with a lower level of risk compared to pre-seed.
  • The startup has made progress and demonstrated its potential.
  • Investors have more confidence in the startup's viability.

8. Purpose


  • The primary purpose of pre-seed funding is to validate the business idea, conduct market research, and potentially develop a prototype or proof of concept.
  • It serves as the first step in transforming an idea into a viable business.


  • The primary purpose of seed funding is to scale the business, acquire more customers, and fine-tune operations.
  • It sets the stage for further growth and prepares the startup for subsequent funding rounds.

A Graph Explaining How does Startup funding Work


How do I raise Pre-seed or Seed Funding Rounds?

1. Come Up with a Great Business Idea

Start by honing and explaining your business idea clearly. Identify the problem you're solving and how your product or service adds value.

Make sure it's a unique and exciting concept.

2. Craft a Strong Business Plan

Create a detailed business plan that lays out your business model, market analysis, your target market, customers, revenue projections, and growth strategies.

Investors want to see you have a clear plan for success.

3. Build a Skilled Team

Put together a talented and passionate team. Investors pay attention to the skills and dedication of your founding team when deciding to invest. Showcase your team's strengths.

4. Test Your Idea

Before asking for funding, validate your idea in the real world. This might involve surveys, making prototypes, or running small tests to prove there's real demand for your product or service.

5. Find Potential Investors

Do some research to discover potential investors who specialize in Pre-Seed or Seed funding. Seek out investors with experience in raising capital for your industry or niche.

6. Create a Pitch Presentation

Develop an engaging pitch presentation that tells the story of your startup.

Include key elements like what problem you're solving, how your solution works, the market opportunity, your business model, financial projections, and how much funding you need.

7. Network and Build Connections

Attend industry events, meet fellow startup founders and enthusiasts, and network with potential investors.

Building relationships with investors can help you get meetings and opportunities to present your idea.

8. Get Ready for Investor Scrutiny

Be prepared for investors to examine your startup closely. They'll want to confirm your claims and assess the risks associated with your business.

Make sure your financials, legal documents, and business records are well-organized.

9. Pitch Your Startup

Arrange meetings or presentation sessions with potential investors. Deliver a clear and concise pitch that highlights your startup's potential and showcases your passion for the business.

10. Discuss Terms

If an investor shows interest, be ready to talk about the details. This includes how much your startup is worth, how much ownership you're willing to give up, and any other conditions or agreements related to the investment.

11. Finalize the Investment

Once you and the angel investor agree on the terms, collaborate with legal experts to complete the investment process.

This involves creating essential legal documents like a term sheet and investment agreement.

Final Thoughts

In the journey of raising Pre-Seed or Seed funding, persistence and resilience are key.

It's a challenging path that requires a compelling idea, a solid plan, and the ability to build connections to attract venture capital funding at a later stage.

Remember, every "no" is a step closer to that pivotal "yes." Stay focused, adapt, and keep your entrepreneurial spirit alive.

FAQs: Pre-Seed vs Seed Fundraising

Should I raise seed or pre-seed?

It depends on your startup's stage. Pre-seed is for idea validation, while seed is for product development. Choose based on your progress and funding needs.

What is the difference between seed and pre-seed round?

Pre-seed is for early idea-stage funding, while seed is for startups with a minimally viable product (MVP) or in-progress product development.

How long should you wait between pre-seed and seed?

The timing varies but typically ranges from several months to a year, depending on how quickly you develop your MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and prove market viability.

Can you skip pre-seed?

Yes, if your startup already has an MVP and can attract seed-stage investors, you can skip pre-seed.

What is the difference between seed and early stage?

Early stage is a broad term encompassing both pre-seed and seed stages. Seed is more specific and comes after pre-seed.

What is the difference between pre-series A and seed?

Pre-series A comes after raising pre seed funding and is focused on preparing for a larger Series A round. Seed is for initial scaling.

What are the disadvantages of pre-seed?

Higher risk due to unproven concepts, potential difficulty attracting investors, and limited market traction.

What does pre-seed funding mean?

Pre-seed funding is the initial stage of seed fundraising round, often for idea validation, minimal product development, and concept testing.

What is pre-seed funding vs Series A funding?

Pre-seed is early-stage funding for idea validation, while Series A is a later-stage funding round for scaling an established business.

Who provides pre-seed funding?

Pre-seed funding typically comes from close friends, family, angel investors, and sometimes early-stage venture capital firms and capitalists.

What is a good pre-seed funding amount?

The amount varies but is generally enough to cover initial expenses, product development, and concept validation, often in the tens of thousands to a few hundred thousand dollars.

When should you raise pre-seed?

Raise pre-seed when you have a compelling idea and need funds to validate it and start product development.

What to do with pre-seed funding?

Use pre-seed funds for market research, concept testing, developing a prototype, and conducting initial customer outreach.

What is a typical pre-seed round?

A typical pre-seed or seed funding round includes raising a relatively small amount of funding, often from friends, family, or early supporters, to validate an idea.

How long should pre-seed funding last?

The pre-seed funding stage typically lasts several months to a year, depending on how quickly you can validate your idea and secure seed funding.

What is the difference between seed capital and seed funding?

Seed capital and seed funding refer to the same concept—the initial investment used to develop and scale a startup after the pre-seed stage.

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