Most entrepreneurs dream of the moment when they get to send out that press release announcing they have struck a funding deal. Usually involving millions, it’s a great, rock-star moment for the entrepreneur and a milestone for the start-up. For employees at the start-up, it’s a sign of validation, of success and of growth to come. The sad reality, however, is that most start-ups never get there. Before a big venture-capital (VC) injection, most start-ups need to go through a type of funding ladder, with each rung representing a journey of credibility as the entrepreneur progresses. At the beginning, most start-ups are bootstrapped or self-funded. If they get through this stage, they go through seed funding rounds involving "friends, fools and family" — those most likely to buy into your entrepreneurial vision with least due diligence. As the start-up grows, entrepreneurs often move to angel funding – cash from wealthy individuals typically smaller than that of VC. Start-ups mostly ...

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