If you are under the impression that getting your startup off the ground as a college student is an insurmountable task – then you could be wrong.
In the world of startups, investors are always looking for bright new talent. And one of the first places they look is at colleges.
However, if you think about it – being a student means you will be under the umbrella of your school. It can also give you access to resources and support that is not easily accessible otherwise.
Before You Start
What is the first thing you do when you get a college assignment? You make an outline of what your arguments are – at least in your head. However, when you are using an essay service such as EssayWritingService, you need to communicate your perspective clearly so that writing experts on the platform will know what you expect. The same works for your startup funding as well.
When you are asking someone else to invest money, you need to tell them what they will get in return.
Before trying to reach out to an investor, make sure you know how you are going to spend their money and how they will merit from it. A startup goes through many stages – such as pre-seed, seed, Series A, B, or C. You need to have a clear understanding of what phase your startup is at, so you understand what you are trying to accomplish with the funds.
On that note, let us consider how you can gather funding for your startup while still in college.
1. Check Whether Your College Offers Startup Funding
Many universities want to invest in the startup sector – as a means for capital gains as well as to encourage their students. As such, it is likely that your college has partnered with startup accelerators to support you in many ways.
These spaces can help you find mentorship, guidance, infrastructure, and even capital for your entrepreneurial projects. For instance, here are some of the startup support communities and initiatives offered in colleges:
- Harvard’s Innovation Lab offers a Venture Incubation Program
- StartX at Stanford University
- Delta V at MIT
- StartUP Challenge at University of Pennsylvania
- Berkeley SkyDeck at University of California, Berkeley
2. Venture Firms with College-Targeted Programs
As you can imagine, every year, hundreds of college students come up with pitches to venture capitalists to launch their startups. As such, many of these established VCs are actively seeking talented students enrolled in colleges. You can find out about these by doing online research on reaching you to your college.
3. Find Angel Investors
Apart from VCs, there are many angel investors who are keen to offer support for upcoming startups. If you don’t know the difference, venture capitalists are institutions that invest their money, whereas angel investors are individuals who want to fund an entrepreneur.
You can network to find an angel investor through online events or even directories such as Gust.com.
4. Ask Friends and Family
It might come as a surprise to you that a majority of the small businesses find their capital funding from friends and family. If this option is viable for you, there is no reason why you shouldn’t consider this. Such help can be crucial, especially in the early stages of your startup.
However, it is imperative that you inform those involved about the possible risks. Unlike experienced investors, your friends and family might not be fully aware of the circumstances.
5. Try Crowdfunding
Thanks to the internet, raising money from benefactors across the world is not impossible anymore. There might be several people across the world who are genuinely interested in your idea and want to contribute.
Through crowdfunding sites such as CircleUp, or AngelList, you can take advantage of your social network to gather funding. It is another way to prove to your investors that there is a market for the product you are selling. Regardless of whether you are raising investor capital, a crowdfunding campaign can have marketing benefits for your startup.
6. Take a Loan
You can always try to find more money for your startup by taking out a personal loan. Today, financial institutions such as banks offer special deals for such investments. Depending on your situation, you might be able to procure a loan for a specific phase on any pieces of equipment required for your startup.
7. Look for Multiple Investments from Smaller Firms
It is not necessary that all your funding should come from a single investor. If you are unable to fund your entire project with one source of money, make sure that you look for smaller investments from different resources.
Also, remember that being in college, you will also be able to lower your overhead costs – as you might be relying on the college infrastructure.
The key is to have a clear business plan, both in your head and on paper. And ultimately, make sure that you pitch your idea with confidence – no matter whom you approach for funding.