Question: Where are the best sources of funding for startups?

Next Story

Geni Clone Growing A Lot Faster Than Geni

As part of a continuing series, I’m asking you, the reader, to contribute your thoughts on various subjects (and I’m open to suggestions for topics). So here’s the latest:

Question: Where are the best sources of funding for tech startups?

Please note that I am not asking, ‘what’ are the best sources of funding for startups. I am not trying to prompt debate about whether a startup should do a ‘friends and family’ round, or seed funding or VC funding. That debate is too philosophical. I’m asking where you think the best sources are. Let’s name some.

Now, yes, it does depend on the circumstances of the company yadda, yadda, yadda… so please think in terms of early-stage startups, because these are the ones who most likely need the benefit of your manifest experience and advice. Some examples might include some Angel networks you’re heard of, Y Combinator-style incubators, or even government grant schemes. And yes, there are some VCs who invest at the early stage too. If you want, talk about your experiences raising money for your startup… [takes one step back].

The usual rules apply. Please be respectful and non-libelous in your answers. Any firms attempting to PR-the-hell out of their own company in the comments below need to be aware that it could well backfire. Badly.

  • James Cherkoff

    NESTA was created to invest in projects that were too early (ie risky) for anyone else. They funded a project of mine in 2001 and continue to help innovative souls across the UK. Top fellas that they are!

  • Joe Drumgoole

    In Ireland the order generally goes,

    County Enterprise Boards (small amounts)
    Enterprise Ireland (small amounts initially, but will co-invest up to 500k)
    Incubator Programs (small amounts)
    Angel Funding (the Halo network)
    BES Schemes (tax breaks of 40% for investors)
    Seed Capital (tax breaks of 40% for founder’s investment)

    Then we are into VC world.

  • Rob

    The G2i portal is a good place to start for London based companies.

  • Arethuza

    VCs in Scotland seem to be extremely risk adverse at the moment – for software companies they are claiming to be interested in later funding rounds.

  • steven Dotsch

    Blatant plug . . . .

    I am the managing director of WirelessMatch Ltd -UK’s Wireless Funding Network- at We facilitate funding in pre-screened early stage and emerging UK-based companies with wireless, mobile internet, online media and mobile telecoms activities requiring funding between £50,000 – £2.5m

    Currently our network has 112 investors, both sector dedicated individual investors (in the main former entrepreneurs in telecoms (fixed & mobile), wireless, IT, software, hardware, media, advertising, technology) as well as TMT venture capital and development capital funds.

    Unfortunately most of our investors will only consider investing in companies with (some) revenue, or, about to sign a major contract, etc, rather than pure start-ups. Nevertheless, we have a dozen or so active investors who consider start-ups which are likely to be

  • Nigel Eccles

    Arethuza is right about Scottish VCs being fairly risk averse on seed rounds but are worth approaching particularly for further into development. Early on there are a number of grants from Scottish Enterprise that can be accessed. NESTA is definitely worth going for as well.

    There are also quite a lot of business angels and business angel networks in Scotland. You should be able to Google them pretty easily. Also if you are based in our near Edinburgh you should get along the Edinburgh Entrepreneur club ( which hosts an excellent series of talks from Silicon Valley veterans.

  • langer

    Oxford Early Investments and the Oxford Invesment Opportunity Network are good for tech startups in the Oxford / London / Thames Valley area.

  • Ian Shields

    If you are a London based company you should look at the g2i programme ( To date the programme has helped 27 companies raise early stage and seed funding totalling over £20 million.

  • Sarah Gregory

    MyDealMaker ( provides technology entrepreneurs with a way of connecting to investors online. You can post details of your company, business proposition and investment requirements for a community of investors to view.

  • Sarah Gregory

    MyDealMaker has been developed by a not-for-profit organisation called Connect Yorkshire that brings young companies together with investors. We have strong links with investors like RisingStars Growth Fund ( and the following sources of investment –

    Business Angels:
    * Yorkshire Association of Business Angels
    * Fox Hayes Entrepreneurs Club
    * Beer & Partners

    Viking Fund – hybrid institutional/angel investment organisation

    Private Sector:
    * Aberdeen Murray Johnston
    * 3i
    * Lloyds Development Capital

    * Yorkshire and Humber Equity Fund
    * Coalfields Enterprise Fund
    * South Yorkshire Investment Fund
    * Partnership Investment Finance

    Some of these investors are available to contact through the MyDealMaker website.

  • Kevin Dorren

    It’s pretty simple – Friends and Family bring in cash but not a lot of help – personally I would focus on a few well connected tech angels that can add much more than money (connections, experience and the most valuable – experience of mistakes).

    I personally haven’t seen incubators work – cookie cutters produce cookie cutter companies – which most investors don’t want to touch.

    As an early stage tech company focus heavily on the team – that will make all the difference to any investor – angel or institution – get a good basic team in place that can work together and the world is your oyster.

    The best sources of investment are people you respect and think you can work with – remember an investor is for life not just for xmas!

    Good Luck.

  • Mont blanc ballpoint pens

    Please note that I am not asking

  • steroids

    :-) parents and friends.

blog comments powered by Disqus