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Debt Funding For Startups

Debt funding for startups or debt financing is the method of financing startup companies use to borrow money from investors or lenders, such as a bank.

Debt funding works like a loan. For example, a company usually agrees to pay back the money borrowed with interest. In some cases, the investors may receive a percentage of company ownership in exchange for the loan. Debt funding is a popular financing option for startups to acquire the money they need to get started.


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Specialist lenders provide venture debt for startups.

It is funding for high-growth startups, such as small to medium-sized enterprises, that are not yet profitable but have an established business model and solid prospects for growth. Venture debt is ideal for innovative companies that are expanding rapidly because venture debt loans do not require personal guarantees and are often available faster and in more significant amounts than traditional bank loans.


Venture capital is financing that private equity investors provide to startups and small businesses with long-term growth potential.

It is typically provided by wealthy investors, investment banks, or other financial institutions. Venture capital may not always be monetary. It can also be technical or managerial expertise. Venture capital firms offer funding and mentorship for startups and other young companies.

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long-term growth

There is a difference between venture debt vs. venture capital.

Venture debt refers to a loan specifically established to support startups backed by investors. Venture capital refers to financing where investors provide capital to startup companies with a high potential for long-term growth. Venture debt loans may come from investors, banks, or other lenders, whereas experienced investors typically provide venture capital. In addition to looking at future potential, investors helping young companies also consider current performance by using a revenue calculator to determine current revenues and using those figures as a good predictor of future revenue potential.

Early Stage

Venture Debt Funds

Venture debt does not replace equity, and it is crucial to understand the differences between debt and equity. Equity does not typically require a contracted repayment plan. Instead, equity is long-term and flexible. Companies can use it to fund almost any legitimate business venture.

On the other hand, venture debt provides short or long-term capital. Venture capital fund structure, pricing, and duration are tied closely to the purpose of the capital. Lenders mitigate credit and other risks through financial covenants, defined repayment terms, and other features configured into agreements. The terms surrounding venture debt funds limit the use of the debt by the borrower to a set of predefined business objectives.

 Also known as venture lending, venture debt is a critical source of financing for startups provided by specialized banks or non-bank lenders. It is used to fund working capital to help with things such as purchasing new equipment. Startups seeking venture debt must find a list of venture debt fund providers and begin the application process.

Venture debt is often used as an alternative to equity financing. Equity financing tools such as convertible debt or preferred stock dilute the equity stake of a company’s existing investors. Venture debt funds prevent further dilution. In addition, venture debt is unlike conventional debt financing options because it does not necessarily require tangible collateral.

venture debt funds
Venture Debt Firms

Venture Capital Loans

Business startups need money to rent or purchase space, equipment, furniture, supplies, and other things necessary for day-to-day operations. Money to pay employees is another significant financial need for startups. There is a difference between venture debt vs. bank loan. Through venture capital loans, businesses can acquire large amounts of money to help with startup expenses and to help ignite rapid company growth. Venture capitalists are often associated with funding “dot com” companies; it is a common understanding of how venture capital works. However, venture capital firms fund all types of businesses. Venture capital firms have funds or pools of money they can use to invest in startup companies. The pool of money consists of money from wealthy individuals or investment companies, pension funds, and other sources of capital people want to use for investing. The venture capital firm will raise a fixed amount for a specific fund and then invest that amount in several different startups.

To receive venture capital loans, startup companies seek out venture capital firms, then provide their business plan showing what they do and their growth potential. The venture capital firm looks at the business plan, and if they believe it is a good investment, they start providing money to the startup. In exchange, the company gives the venture capital firm stock and often a seat on the board of directors. With a venture capital loan, a startup is giving the lender some control over company decisions.

Capital loans
Early Stage
Venture Debt
Debt funding for startups

Venture Debt Financing

Venture debt financing is debt financing available only to venture-backed startup companies. It is typically a less expensive option than equity financing. Lenders evaluate a startup company’s growth rate, track record, and business plan to determine if lending is approved. A venture debt calculator is used to help determine a company’s current and future growth potential. Venture debt terms include venture lending and venture debt interest rates.

In contrast to traditional bank loans or other types of credit, companies acquiring venture debt financing do not have to prove they can repay the loan. Therefore, this type of financing is more accessible to startups. Venture debt lenders use a company’s total amount of funding raised per round, an investor’s track record, a company’s business plan, and an ARR calculator to determine if providing financing is worth the risk. One of the many differences between traditional bank loans and venture debt financing companies is that companies without a positive cash flow have a chance to obtain venture financing. However, these more flexible financing features come at a cost, as the loans are often expensive, and venture debt interest rates may be high. Venture debts are high-risk for lenders and startups.


Venture debt lenders outline terms and conditions in the venture debt term sheet.

The term sheet is a non-binding outline of the venture debt. It is prepared before the final contract.

Venture debt term sheets from lenders typically include:

  • Debt amount: fixed or a range.
  • General information: name, date, and other information.
  • Interest rate.
  • Payment schedule.
  • Warrants: establishing the debt lender may buy equity at a fixed rate.
  • Maturity date: date or time period for last payment.
  • Conditions precedent: actions must occur before the agreement is closed.

Venture debt term sheets are an excellent way for startups looking for financing to compare different venture debt providers and conditions. Venture debt is significantly less expensive than raising equity and, therefore, a more viable option for many startups. Venture debt lenders may be banks or non-bank financing companies such as venture debt firms. Due to federal regulations, banks have limitations when approving venture debt loan amounts.

When choosing venture debt lenders, it is essential to compare options and find timely funding by selecting an established and dependable lender. It is also necessary to consider the loan amount the lender offers to ensure it is enough to fund day-to-day operations for at least six months.

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Venture Loans

Venture Debt Pros And Cons

Venture debt is a loan from a bank or nontraditional lender provided to companies with secured venture backing. Lenders consider backing from institutional investors as validation, giving confidence for underwriting loans startups can use to increase cash flow and fund expenses. Startups traditionally struggle to obtain traditional loans because a startup is considered risky for the lender. However, a vote of confidence from investors lowers the risk factor for lenders, helping them obtain funding. Venture debt is a valuable source of financing for startup companies; however, there are pros and cons.

Venture debt pros and cons include:


  • Favorable terms, often quick and convenient.
  • Extended runway, helping startups survive and grow.
  • Less dilution.


  • Financial covenants that establish expected performance metrics.
  • Future funding may be impeded by the debt incurred.
  • Repayment requirements do not include flexibility.
  • Added compliance costs such as a lawyer and added accounting fees.
  • Operational covenants restricting business operations and financial decisions.

In most cases, acquiring venture debt is an excellent option offering startup companies more flexibility for growth. As a result, startups usually prefer venture debt as a short-term option to help them get off the ground.

Capital loans
Early Stage
Venture Debt
Factors for Consideration

Venture Debt Example

Venture debt is also known as venture lending. It is a minimally dilutive debt financing option used by startups with high growth potential. It is available to non-venture capital and venture capital-backed companies and may be used to complement equity financing or as an alternative to equity financing. Venture debt structure can vary but is typically structured the same way as a term loan with interest payments and warrants. The purpose behind venture debt is to provide startups with growth capital to reach business goals while also allowing founders to maintain control of their companies and minimize dilution.

Venture debt has many benefits, such as reducing the average cost of capital to rapidly scaling companies. In addition, venture debt provides flexibility and the ability to maintain control of the company founders. The best venture debt example of flexibility and control is in how venture debt does not require owners to give up a board seat in exchange for capital. Instead, venture debt is used as a short-term financing option that is an excellent option for many companies when those companies have a high level of confidence in their growth potential.

Here’s what our partners are saying…

From our MVP in 2015 to demonstrated Product Market Fit to strategic support with our growth funding, the Golden Section team has been an indispensable partner and resource for System Surveyor.

Christopher Hugman
Founder & CEO, System Surveyor

Since QMSC’s inception, Golden Section has provided valuable direction regarding strategic market alignment, branding, and most importantly intuitive guidance for our technology roadmap.

Marshall R. Williams
Founder, QMSC

As an entrepreneur, I need to have a partner who understands my vision, not just a digital order taker. Golden Section has exceeded my expectations, providing tools and people to help grow my business rapidly.

Charles Turner
Founder & CEO, KARE

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