Startup Scaling

Stages of Startup: Discover the Unique Stages for New Business Growth

6 Stages of Startup: Leverage each stage of your startup growth to grow your business. Invest in the right stage of your business to maximize Revenue & Growth.
A roadmap to success for startups, divided into six stages
Min Read
January 3, 2023

If you are looking for funding for your business, you'll have better success when you know what stage of startup you're in. You'll be ready to tell your funding investors exactly where you are and the type of investment you need.

For example, Wayra funding focuses on late-seed to grwoth stage, but not all stages. We've found that entrepreneurs who know where they are and their next steps have a head start when it comes to getting an investor's ear.

Starting a business is an exciting and challenging journey that involves many different stages of a startup. These stages, from pre-seed to exit, represent the different phases of a company's development and growth.

With a history of advising startups, Silicon Valley Bank advised:

It is often difficult to precisely identify exactly where you are in the startup lifecycle because it involves many factors. The length of each startup stage will vary greatly depending on business execution, your industry or sector, and your fundraising abilities.

We have a lot to cover today. That includes the 6 Main Stages, Funding for Each Stage, Ways to Secure Startup Money, Scaling Your Startup, Stage Leverage, Corporate Venture Capital, and Your Startup Vision for Success. Let's dive in.

The 6 Stages of a Startup: From Idea to Success

Starting a business can be a thrilling and rewarding experience, but it also involves a lot of hard work and challenges. One way to better understand the journey of startup is to break it down into distinct stages of growth. In this article, we'll explore the various stages of startup growth and discuss key considerations for each stage, including customer acquisition, business development, and more.

Infographic detailing the six key stages of building a successful startup

  1. Idea stage: This is the beginning of the startup journey, where you have a new business idea to turn into a reality. During this stage, you'll need to validate your idea, conduct market research, and begin to build a business plan.
  2. Pre-launch stage: Once you have a solid business plan in place, you'll move on to the pre-launch stage. This is when you'll begin to assemble your team, create a prototype or MVP (minimum viable product), and start marketing your business to potential customers.
  3. Launch stage: This is the official start of your business when you begin selling your product or service to customers. During this stage, you'll need to focus on customer acquisition, building your brand, and scaling your operations to meet growing demand. As well, Wayra is here to help you win your first corporate client and grow your revenue.
  4. Growth stage: As your business grows and gains traction, you'll enter the growth stage. This is when you'll need to focus on expanding your customer base, building a solid sales and marketing strategy, and potentially raising capital to support your growth.
  5. Maturity stage: Eventually, your startup will reach a point of maturity where it has established itself as a successful business. During this stage, you'll need to focus on maintaining and improving your operations and exploring new opportunities for growth and innovation.
  6. Exit stage: This is where founders or investors can make a graceful exit from the business and move on to other projects. The exit strategy should be discussed and agreed early when considering new cofounders or investors to join the business. This way the exit is well-planned and smooth for everyone.

No matter your startup's stage, it's important to stay focused on your customers and continue to innovate and adapt to the changing business landscape. You can turn your startup idea into a successful business with hard work and determination.

Before you search for funding, know what stage of growth you are in right now and how you want to reach the next level. This will help you focus on your goals for funding.

Funding for each Stage of Startups

Understanding these stages can help you navigate the process of building a successful business and asking for the right funds at the right time in your development. When your status and goals align, you'll have a better chance of matching with your startup investor. The stages of startup funding are the financial journey of your growing business.

  1. Pre-seed stage: The pre-seed stage is the very beginning of a startup's journey. At this stage, the idea for the business is still being developed and refined. Entrepreneurs may be working on prototypes, conducting market research, and seeking out advisors and mentors. Funding at this stage is often minimal and may come from personal savings or grants.
  2. Seed stage: The seed stage is the next step in a startup's development. At this stage, the company has a clear idea of what it will offer and is working on a business plan and marketing strategy. Funding at this stage is still relatively small, often coming from angel investors or seed funding rounds.
  3. Early stage: The early stage is when a startup begins to take shape and gain traction. The company has a product or service that is being sold to customers, and it may have a small team in place. Funding at this stage may come from venture capital firms or strategic investors.
  4. Growth stage: The growth stage is when a startup starts to see significant expansion. The company has a proven business model and is focused on scaling up operations and increasing revenue. Funding at this stage may come from a series of investment rounds, such as Series A, B, and C. These Series also relate to the investment stages of a startup.
  5. Expansion phase: The expansion phase is when a startup has established itself as a successful business and is looking to grow beyond its current market. This may involve entering new markets or launching new products or services. Funding at this stage may come from a variety of sources, including debt financing or public offerings.
  6. Exit phase: The exit phase is the final stage in a startup's journey. At this point, the company has achieved its goals, and certain investors or cofounders are looking to transition out of the business. This may also involve selling the company to a larger entity, merging with another company, or going public through an initial public offering (IPO).

Funding Your Startup: 4 Ways of Securing Money and Investors

One of the key considerations for any startup is funding. As a new business, you'll likely need money to cover expenses such as product development, marketing, and hiring a team. There are a few different options for securing funding for your startup, including:

  1. Seed funding: Seed funding is an early stage of financing for startups, typically provided by angel investors or venture capital firms. This type of funding can help cover the costs of getting your business off the ground and can also provide valuable mentorship and guidance from experienced investors.
  2. Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow you to raise money from a large number of people, usually through online campaigns. This can be a good option if you have a product or service that resonates with a specific audience and you're looking for a way to fund its development.
  3. Loans: Depending on your business needs, you may be able to secure a loan from a bank or other financial institution. This can be a good option if you have a solid business plan and are confident in your ability to repay the loan.
  4. Corporate venture capital: If you're looking for a more long-term source of funding, you may consider bringing on investors who can both provide capital and a direct link to a big corporate client. This can be a good option if you have a scalable business model and are looking for growth with corporate customers.

No matter which option you choose, it's important to do your due diligence and carefully consider the terms of any funding agreement. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions, as well as the expectations of your investors, before committing to any funding arrangement.

Illustration of a arrow going upward, representing the growth of a startup

Fueling Early-Stage Startup Growth: Tips for Scaling Your Business and Customer Base

For any startup, growth is a critical aspect of success. However, achieving meaningful growth in the early stages of your business can be challenging. Here are a few tips for fueling early-stage startup growth:

  1. Focus on a scalable business model: As you work to grow your business, it's important to have a scalable business model, meaning it can handle an increase in demand without requiring a corresponding increase in resources. This could involve developing a product or service that you can easily replicate or deliver to a large number of customers, or automating key processes. (For example, software, SaaS, and micro-services.)
  2. Prioritize customer acquisition: In the early stages of your business, it's critical to focus on acquiring new customers. This could involve developing a strong marketing and sales strategy, building a network of strategic partnerships, or leveraging word-of-mouth marketing.
  3. Invest in your product: As your business grows, it's important to continue investing in your product or service to ensure it meets the needs of your customers. This could involve gathering customer feedback, conducting market research, and continually innovating and improving your offering. Re-evaluate and update your PMF (Product-Market Fit).
  4. Build a strong team: As your business grows, you'll need a strong team of talented and dedicated individuals to support your efforts. Make sure you have the right people in place to handle the various tasks and responsibilities required to drive your business forward.
  5. Seek out growth opportunities: As you work to grow your business, be on the lookout for opportunities to expand your customer base, enter new markets, or explore new channels for growth. By staying open to new possibilities and being willing to take calculated risks, you can help drive your startup's growth.

Leverage Each Startup Stage for Faster Growth

As a startup grows and progresses through the different stages of development, it is important to leverage each stage to drive faster business growth. We'd like to emphasise these points again from a different angle. Here are some ways to add clout at each stage:

  1. Pre-seed stage: At this stage, it is important to validate the business idea and gather as much feedback as possible from potential customers, advisors, and mentors. This can help refine the idea and increase the chances of success once the business is launched.
  2. Seed stage: During the seed stage, it is important to focus on building a solid foundation for the business. This includes developing a business plan, marketing strategy, and team. It is also important to secure the right kind of funding for the business, whether it be through angel investors or seed funding rounds.
  3. Early stage: In the early stage, the focus should be on building and growing the customer base. This may involve implementing effective marketing and sales strategies and building partnerships and relationships with key stakeholders.
  4. Growth stage: The growth stage is all about scaling up operations and increasing revenue. This may involve expanding the product or service offering, entering new markets, or implementing process improvements to increase efficiency.
  5. Expansion phase: During the expansion phase, it is important to continue building on the successes of the business and focus on growth opportunities. This may involve launching new products or services, entering new markets, or exploring strategic partnerships.
  6. Exit phase: In the exit phase, it is important to plan for the future of the business and determine the best course of action for transitioning out of the company. Again, plan and update the exit phase very early, starting from Stage 1.  This may involve selling the business to a larger entity, merging with another company, or going public through an IPO.

When is a Startup Ready for Corporate Venture Capital?

Corporate venture capital (CVC) refers to investment in startups made by large corporations. CVC can be a valuable source of funding for startups, as it can provide capital and access to the corporation's resources, expertise, and network. However, it is important for startups to be prepared when seeking CVC.

Here are a few key factors to consider when determining if your startup is ready for corporate venture capital:

  1. Market fit: Is the startup's product or service solves a real problem for its target market? Is there a clear demand for the product or service?
  2. Traction: Does the startup have any proof of concept or early adopters? This could include early sales, pilot programs, or partnerships.
  3. Team: Does the startup have a strong, experienced team with the skills and expertise necessary to execute the business plan?
  4. Scalability: Is the startup's business model scalable and capable of achieving significant growth in the long term?
  5. Alignment with corporate strategy: Is the startup's product or service aligned with the corporation's strategic goals and interests? Or is there potential to give a special value-add to the corporation?

If you can demonstrate these factors, you may be ready to pursue corporate venture capital. Keep in mind that each CVC firm has its own criteria for investment, so it is essential to thoroughly research and understand the specific requirements of each potential investor.

If you think your startup is ready for CVC, read our introduction for a deeper understanding of corporate venture capital.

Know Where You Are Now, Where You Want to Go Next, and Your Vision of Future Success

Leveraging each stage of the startup journey can drive faster business growth and increase your chances of success.

You must understand which stage of the business you are currently in and match that stage with the appropriate funding source. Each stage of a startup has unique challenges and opportunities, and choosing the right funding source can make a significant difference in the success of the business.

For example, during the idea stage, seeking funding from friends and family or participating in a startup accelerator program may be beneficial. In the business stage, the startup may require more substantial funding from venture capitalists or loans. And during the product stage, crowdfunding or pre-sales may be effective ways to raise the necessary funds.

If you are looking for funding, we invite you to read our introduction to the standard startup investment process. And of course reach out to us with any of your questions.

Your startup journey is a dynamic and ever-evolving process that involves many different stages. Understanding these stages can help you navigate the challenges and opportunities of building a successful business.

By understanding which stage your business is in and aligning the funding strategy accordingly, you can position your business for success and set the stage for future growth.

At Wayra, we're always ready to hear your idea for corporate venture capital. Connect with us right now on Twitter, LinkedIn, or directly here.

Share this:
Written by
Wayra Germany
Written by
Wayra Germany

Explore the Ultimate Startup Guide: Latest Blogs to Fuel Your Journey