Startups have a smörgåsbord of options when it comes to fundraising. Two popular sources of financing are crowdfunding and angel investors. Both provide much needed cash, but they have some important differences.
Crowdfunding is a method of raising money from a large number of people, typically through an online platform. Crowdfunding campaigns can be equity-based, where investors receive an ownership stake in the startup (e.g. Republic), or reward-based, where backers receive a product or service in exchange for their investment (e.g. Kickstarter).
Angel investors, on the other hand, are high net worth individuals or groups investing their own money in a startup in exchange for an equity stake. Angels typically provide more than just funding, often providing mentorship, connections, and strategic advice to the startup.
Here are some of the key differences between crowdfunding and angels:
1. Investment Size
Crowdfunding typically involves smaller investments from a large number of people, while angel investors make larger investments from a smaller number of people.
2. Investor Type
Crowdfunding is open to (almost) anyone, while angel investors are high net worth individuals or other ‘accredited investors’.
Crowdfunding may involve equity-based investments, but backers typically do not have as much say in the startup’s decision-making process post-financing. Angels, however, may be far more involved in decision-making, whether by providing guidance or perhaps even taking a board seat.
Angel investors often provide more than just funding, providing valuable mentorship, connections, and strategic advice to the startup.
Both crowdfunding and angels carry risks, but angel investors typically have more experience in evaluating startups and managing risk.
Ultimately, the choice between crowdfunding and angel investors will depend on the specific needs of the startup and the preferences of the founders. Crowdfunding can be a good option for early-stage startups, where their product or service has broad appeal, and they are looking to validate their concept and build a community. Angel investors, on the other hand, can provide more capital and strategic support for startups that are further along in their development or launching a more niche offering.
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