Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships. Learn more.

Start-Up Business Loan Reviews

buyers guide
Sort By
  • Fundable Review

    Read Review Visit Site

    Highlights Crowdfunding for business ventures Rewards-based and equity-based campaigns $179 flat monthly fee (Fundable doesn’t take a % cut of fund) Overview Crowdfunding websites have taken off in the past decade, with most of the larger crowdfunding outfits focusing on inventors, self-publishers, and charitable causes. Fundable, by contrast, is all business. Founded by Wil Schroter and Eric […]

  • Lending Club Personal Loans Review

    Read Review Visit Site

    Highlights Personal loans for business Competitive interest rates Minimal additional fees Fast application process Monthly repayments No prepayment penalty Helpful customer service Overview With over 10 years in business, Lending Club is the largest and oldest peer-to-peer (P2P) lender around. P2P lenders such as Lending Club seek to streamline and de-complicate lending by cutting banks […]

  • Upstart Review

    Read Review Visit Site

    Pros Suited for startups Relaxed credit score requirements Competitive terms and fees Easy application process Typical time to funding: 2 – 7 days No prepayment penalty Cons Unsuited for established businesses Potentially high origination fee Overview Upstart is an online lender that offers consumer loans to qualified borrowers. Founded in 2012, Upstart began as a truly […]

  • Patreon Review

    Read Review Visit Site

    Highlights Crowdfunding for people who create content on a regular basis Backers donate to creators either by month or per creation Very few content restrictions Patreon charges a 5% platform fee; payment processing fees average another 5% Overview Patreon is a crowdfunding site aimed at a particular audience: artists and online personalities in the business […]

  • Fora Financial Review

    Read Review Visit Site

    Pros Excellent customer service Relaxed loan qualifications Cons High origination fee Moderate factor rates Overview Founded by two college roommates, Fora Financial (previously known as Paramount Merchant Funding) is a merchant cash advance and short term loan provider. After working for other financing companies for a few years, Dan Smith and Jared Feldman decided to set off on their […]

  • SoFi Personal Loans Review

    Read Review Visit Site

    Highlights Personal loans (can be used for business) Installment loans Low interest rates No origination fee No prepayment penalty Helpful customer service Overview Self-described as “a new kind of finance company” that is “taking a radical approach to lending,” SoFi (short for Social Finance) is a non-bank lender. Although SoFi does not offer any loans […]

  • Capify Review

    Read Review Visit Site

    Pros Relaxed borrower qualifications Short application process Typical time to funding: 2 – 7 days Cons Expensive terms and fees Some additional fees Poor customer support Unsuited for seasonal businesses Overview In 2002, Capify began its life as a U.S.-based merchant cash advance (MCA) service called AmeriMerchant. The founder and CEO, David Goldin, wasn’t content […]

  • RocketLoans Review

    Read Review Visit Site

    Highlights Personal loans (can be used for business) Installment loans Competitive interest rates Fast time to funding No hidden fees Friendly customer service Overview Founded with the intent of creating a “rocket fast personal loan process,” RocketLoans offers personal loans to eligible borrowers. Along with companies like Rapid Advance and Rocket Mortgage (among many others), RocketLoans […]

  • Best Egg Review

    Read Review Visit Site

    Highlights Personal loans (can be used for business) Installment loans Competitive interest rates Fast time to funding No application fee No hidden fees Overview Best Egg, owned by Marlette Funding, offers personal loans to qualified borrowers. Although many customers use Best Egg loans for debt consolation, these loans can also be used for entrepreneurial or […]

  • Razoo Review

    Read Review Visit Site

    Highlights Crowdfunding for creative/business projects and personal/charitable causes Funding campaigns are keep-what-you-raise — no goal requirements Nonprofit fundraising available 5% platform fee for personal/business projects 4% platform fee for charity crowdfunding Overview Razoo has been around since the early days of crowdfunding. While it may not receive the same level of attention Kickstarter and GoFundMe have […]

What is a Startup Business Loan?

Although term “startup” has many definitions, for the purposes of this category, we define startup loans as any loans used to launch a business. All lenders (and other types of business financiers) reviewed in this category offer financing to businesses three months old or younger.

If you want to know whether your business is eligible to borrow from a specific lender, look at the “Borrower Qualification” section of the review, which lists all the basic benchmarks your business must meet to be eligible for financing.

Startup financing can come from a number of different sources. Here are the most common:

Friends and Family

If you can no longer fund your business enterprise using your own resources, the next step for many entrepreneurs is to borrow from friends and family. Loans from these sources are very flexible, as they don’t tend to carry interest rates or require a set repayment schedule like other sources of capital. However, if you (or your friends and family) want a little more structure, some platforms help you draft up legal documents, create a payment schedule, disperse payments, and other services.

Personal Loans and Lines of Credit

Although it’s not generally advisable for merchants to mix personal and business expenses, exceptions are often made for startups. Because personal loans are based on your own creditworthiness (and not that of your business), they are often a viable source of financing for startups.

Unfortunately, personal loans are not always easy for entrepreneurs to get. To be eligible for a personal loan, you will have to have at least fair personal credit and a strong source of revenue to support repayments.

Business Loans and Lines of Credit

While more difficult to obtain than from other sources, it is possible to get a business loan or line of credit for your startup via your bank, credit union, the SBA, or an alternative (non-bank) lender.

Often, the easiest source of startup business loans is via a nonprofit. These institutions seek to strengthen communities by helping local businesses, and are often able to offer loans with relatively inexpensive rates and fees.

Entrepreneurs who have collateral to put up (such as a house or vehicle) will have an easier time using this type of financing.


A type of funding that has become popular as of late, crowdfunding simply entails raising money via contributions from a large number of people. There are a few different types of business crowdfunding arrangements which vary based on what backers receive for their investment:

  • Debt: You must repay the money borrowed plus interest or a borrowing fee for borrowing. Backers receive their investment back plus some of the interest or fee.
  • Equity: Backers have a share of your business and future revenue.
  • Rewards: Backers receive some sort of reward, often a product made by your business.
  • Donation: Backers simply donate money and receive nothing in return.

Regardless of the rewards model, businesses who use crowdfunding will have to set up a profile, market their business or product, and otherwise attract backers. For this reason, a crowdfunding campaign can take up to a few months to complete.

Cash Flow Financing

Many business lenders are primarily concerned about your business’s overall profitability, which means that startups are often exempt from borrowing. Cash flow financiers, on the other hand, are more interested in your day-to-day revenue stream. The better your revenue, the more money you will be eligible for. As you might expect, cash flow financing is best for startups that are already generating consistent revenue.

Cash flow financing can come in two forms:

  • Short-Term Loans: As the name might suggest, these are loans with short borrowing term lengths. Generally, instead of interest, they carry a fee that is between 10% and 60% of the borrowing amount, and must be repaid on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Merchant Cash Advances (MCAs): Much like short-term loans, merchant cash advances charge a fee of 10% – 60% of the borrowing amount (instead of interest). However, your advance will be repaid by collecting a percentage of your daily sales.

Cash flow financing tends to require hefty fees and fast repayment schedules, so it’s generally advisable to exercise caution and explore other options before resorting to short-term loans or MCAs.

Any cash flow financier that funds businesses of six months or younger will fall into the startup loans category, but for a full list, head over to the merchant cash advance review category.

Invoice Factoring

B2B businesses often have unique cash flow problems caused by slow-paying customers. If you run such a business, invoice factoring may be the solution. Because invoice factoring is contingent on your customers paying, even startups and young businesses are eligible for financing.

In an invoice factor arrangement, a business sells invoices to a factoring company at a discount in exchange for immediate capital. In doing so, merchants can solve problems that may be caused by unpaid invoices and keep their businesses running smoothly.

Invoice factors are not covered in our startup loans category. For a full list of reviews, head over to our invoice factoring category.