Pre Seed vs Seed: What’s The Difference

Benjamin Debonneville
Founder & CEO
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So, you've got a brilliant business idea, huh? But, let's get real - even the brightest ideas need fuel to get off the ground, and that fuel is funding.

Now, you've probably heard terms like 'pre-seed' and 'seed' tossed around like confetti at a startup party.

But what do these buzzwords really mean? More importantly, what do they mean for your business idea?

Let's get into the nitty-gritty, the "show me the money" talk.

Here we are going to dissect these two critical stages of early startup funding. Ready?

What Pre-Seed Funding?

So, what is pre-seed funding, you ask? Picture the excitement of nurturing a raw, intriguing idea, the kind that jolts you out of sleep at 2 am, scribbling frantically on a nearby notepad.

Now, imagine the resources to give that idea shape and substance. That is pre-seed funding. It's the spark, the initial boost that helps a startup climb that first steep slope.

This initial round of funding, often ranging between $10,000 to $250,000, may come from family, friends, angel investors, or even accelerator programs.

Key Goals for Raising Pre-Seed Funds

  • Develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP): That precious idea needs a form, right? Pre-seed funding can help you create a functional prototype, a tangible whisper of what's to come.
  • Assemble a Stellar Team: Behind every successful startup is a team of passionate, self-driven individuals. Pre-seed funds can help attract and retain this talent.
  • Market Research: Understanding your potential market is crucial. Pre-seed funding often covers the costs of gathering and analyzing critical market data.
  • Develop a Distribution Strategy: How will your product reach its audience? Pre-seed funding helps in strategizing your product's distribution channels.
  • Generate Traction: You've built something beautiful. Now, you need people to notice it. Pre-seed funds can be used to generate interest and gather feedback from early adopters.

It's a bet on your idea's potential, its capacity to disrupt, and a leap of faith in your capabilities as an entrepreneur.

So, are you ready to take that leap?

Sources of Pre-Seed Funds

So you've got a mind-blowing idea and a dream to bring it to life. But where does that initial cash injection come from?

Here are the most common sources of pre-seed funding:

  • Bootstraping: Self-funding your startup can be an appealing option. You maintain control while demonstrating conviction in your idea. Remember, it's about passion, not just profits.
  • Friends and Family: They've seen your passion and commitment first-hand. Often, they're your first financial supporters, placing their trust in your vision.
  • Other Founders: They've been in your shoes and may offer financial support. Plus, they bring invaluable first-hand experience and insight to your venture.
  • Incubators: These organizations foster startups, offering resources and guidance in their early, delicate stages, often in exchange for a slice of equity.
  • Accelerators: Similar to incubators but in the fast lane, accelerators offer mentorship, resources, and funds for rapid growth.
  • Crowdfunding: Thanks to the digital age, you can share your story with the world and gain backing from interested supporters globally.

So, which path speaks to you? Remember, the right source not only provides funds but also adds value to your budding startup.

What is Seed Funding?

Seed funding is like jet fuel for your budding startup. It's the financial boost needed to validate your product, build infrastructure, strategize scaling, and gather a star-studded team.

Generally, amounts raised in this stage range between $500,000 and $2 million.

Key Goals for Raising Pre-Seed Funds

  • Proving Product-Market Fit (PMF): Your product is like a puzzle piece, and the market is the big picture. Seed funding allows you to research if your piece fits in perfectly.
  • Business Infrastructure: It's time to lay the bricks of your startup castle. Seed funds establish the critical operations that will keep your venture running until the next round of funding.
  • Scaling Strategy: Every sapling dreams of becoming a mighty oak. With seed funding, you map out your growth plan, detailing how you'll use future financing to expand.
  • Hiring Talent: Behind every successful startup, there's a formidable team. Seed funding enables you to recruit an array of experts that will help transform your startup into a sensation.

Bear in mind that while seed funding is a significant leap toward your startup's success, it's not a golden ticket.

It's a pivotal step, providing the base camp for your business's exciting ascent.

Sources of Seed Funds

Ready to turbocharge your startup with seed funds?

Here's who can help you refuel:

  • Friends & Family: Those closest to you might double down on their trust, backing your venture with seed capital too.
  • Angel Investors: These benevolent beings can bestow more substantial funds, believing in your potential to skyrocket.
  • Incubators: Like a caring mother hen, incubators may provide additional financial support to help your venture fly.
  • Accelerators: Already helped you gain momentum? These speed boosters may further power your flight to success.
  • Venture Capital: If your startup is showing great promise, venture capitalists might enter the scene, keen to fuel your growth trajectory.

Remember, most of these sources aren't one-trick ponies. They're versatile supporters, providing support at both pre-seed and seed funding stages to early startups.

Now, time to power up your engines!

Pre-Seed vs Seed Funds: What's the Difference?

Now, let's take a peek behind the curtain to see the subtle but pivotal differences between pre-seed and seed funding:

  • Risk Level: Pre-seed stage, being the earliest, carries more risk. Seed funding, backed by a working product and some market traction, reduces that risk factor.
  • Investor Control: Investors usually have more control over seed funding, given the startup's proven track record and advanced development, compared to the early, uncertain pre-seed stage.
  • Investor Network: While pre-seed investors are often close connections, seed funding introduces external investors, broadening your network for future funding rounds.
  • Funding Amounts: Pre-seed amounts are smaller ($50k-$250k), just enough to launch your idea. Seed funding, however, propels growth with a bigger capital injection ($500k-$2M).
  • Product Stage: Pre-seed is all about ideation and early development, while seed funding pushes a fully-formed MVP with demonstrated market traction.
  • Valuation: Pre-seed companies' valuations are often based on perceived value ($1M-$3M), but seed-stage companies, with their proof of traction, achieve higher valuations ($5M-$15M).
  • Runway: Pre-seed funding typically keeps you aloft for 3-9 months. Seed funding, on the other hand, extends your flight time to 12-18 months.
  • Investor Type: Pre-seed funds often come from the founder and their network. Seed funding, however, attracts institutional investors, like angels, incubators, and accelerators.


In the fertile grounds of venture capital, discerning your startup's stage—pre-seed or seed—is paramount. It governs what to request and the implications.

Navigating through this early stage of startup fundraising can seem a daunting task for founders, but with knowledge comes power.

Savvy entrepreneurs will understand not just the present but anticipate future funding stages too. After all, the journey from a seed of an idea to a thriving startup is all about growing smarter, not just bigger.

Here's to your entrepreneurial voyage. May it be as fruitful as the seeds you sow!

Benjamin gave great tips to my start-up Blend for polishing and optimising my pitch deck, refreshing perspective. Recommend!