Seed vs Pre-seed vs Idea Stage

Ash Rust
1 min readNov 30, 2023
Video Below

Today, we’re talking about how investors categorize your startup and the key differences between the seed, pre-seed and idea stage.

1. Idea stage

This category is for teams just getting started. The idea may change significantly, any demos will be basic, but the founders should be full-time or about to commit full-time.

2. Pre-seed stage

This describes teams who have settled on an idea and are engaging regularly with potential customers. Ideally, the MVP is live with beta customers and the strongest teams may have some initial revenue.

3. Seed stage

For fundraisers over $1M, investors will usually be looking for clear indications of traction. For B2B companies I suggest at least 3 customers and a minimum of $150k in ARR, for consumer-focused companies I would aim for at least 1k highly engaged users.

Now, if you have standout founder credentials you might leapfrog one or two of these stages but for most entrepreneurs, this will be your framework.

Best of luck out there.

Sterling Road invests in idea stage and pre-seed B2B startups based in the US, Canada and UK.

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