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Start-Up Business Loan Reviews

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  • Mightycause

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    Pros Keep-whatever-you-raise funding No platform fee Small payment processing fee Good customer support Advanced software package for nonprofit fundraising Cons Limited communication between campaigners and backers No way to offer rewards to backers Less popular than Kickstarter/GoFundMe Overview Formerly known as Razoo, Mightycause has been around since the early days of crowdfunding. While it may […]

  • Patreon

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    Patreon declares itself a crowdfunding platform for creators, as its platform allows creators to draw a steady, continuous income from The Crowd. This funding model makes Patreon particularly well-suited to creators of viral videos, online journalists, writers, and musicians.

  • Quirky

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    Pros Connects inventors to each other Free to use Cons Quirky gets the rights to your intellectual property The process by which inventors get paid is convoluted The company warns against using them to make money Overview Over the course of the past decade, crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter have received lots of attention as […]

  • Republic

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    Republic is an equity crowdfunding company. Be informed that besides the fees charged by Republic, there are additional costs associated with equity crowdfunding. Republic is exclusive and not suitable for small startups.

  • Rocket Loans

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    RocketLoans offers personal loans to eligible borrowers. If you need a loan to start a business and you have fair credit and financials, RocketLoans may be worth considering. Be warned, however, that RocketLoans is not for those with poor credit.

  • SeedInvest

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    SeedInvest is an equity crowdfunding platform. SeedInvest is good for startups with exponential growth potential. It is, however, expensive and has over-complicated pricing/fees.

  • SoFi Personal Loans

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    SoFi offers personal loans with better rates and more flexible borrowing options than other lenders. Read on to learn more about SoFi personal loans.

  • Ulule

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    Ulule is a crowdfunder that takes a hands-on approach with helping their campaigners achieve their goals. Be cautious of the over-complicated fees.

  • Wefunder

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    Wefunder is an equity crowdfunding platform for non-accredited investors and the biggest regulation crowdfunding platform. It is good for startups with exponential growth potential. However, keep in mind that Regulation Crowdfunding is legally complex.

  • World Business Lenders

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    World Business Lenders (WBL) is a small business alternative funder offering high-interest funding to businesses that may otherwise fail to qualify for a traditional loan. They have an easy application process but be cautious of their high factor rates.

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.

Crowdfunding

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.

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The vendors that appear on this list were chosen by subject matter experts on the basis of product quality, wide usage and availability, and positive reputation.

Merchant Maverick’s ratings are editorial in nature, and are not aggregated from user reviews. Each staff reviewer at Merchant Maverick is a subject matter expert with experience researching, testing, and evaluating small business software and services. The rating of this company or service is based on the author’s expert opinion and analysis of the product, and assessed and seconded by another subject matter expert on staff before publication. Merchant Maverick’s ratings are not influenced by affiliate partnerships.

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.

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