Tips and tricks for loans in the start-up phase

Starting up your own business is exciting – and stressful, because many founders are now learning first-hand how tough and malign bureaucracy can be. For the foundation, however, money is also needed, which is not always easy. But what options are actually available for funding the startup?

Bank loans play a rather minor role

Pure bank loans play only a secondary role for founders. There are certainly loans for further education or even start-up loans, but other sources are obviously more important. An overview:

  • Majority – the vast majority, or 82.4 percent of founders, finance their startup with their own funds.
  • Government funding – it accounts for 34.7 percent of the money. This includes all programs supported by the state.
  • Friends and family – around 31.6 percent of founders receive financial support from family or friends.
  • Business angel capital – this area of startup finance accounts for 21.3 percent.
  • Internal financing – here, too, comes up with as much as 18.6.
  • Banks – only 10.9 percent of funds are financed through conventional banks.
  • Crowdfunding – this may come as a bit of a surprise, as this is always a popular area to mention. But only 1.8 percent of German founders draw on this capital.

The principal banks are still important, of course, because KfW subsidies, for example, are not applied for directly, but via the bank. Founders who can present a good business plan right from the start also receive appropriate loans from banks. In addition, it is often possible to apply for a continuing education loan for the next step in one's career. This can be a qualification that becomes important for one's own start-up.


The federal and state governments not only want to know startups are in the country, they want to promote them accordingly. However, the funding landscape is quite complicated, at least when all possibilities are exhausted. Partly the funding world sorts itself into industries, partly into cities and again the federal government. But what is there generally?

  • Support programs – many of the support programs for start-ups in all sectors are run by the Kreditbank fur Wiederaufbau, or KfW for short. Equally different options are available under the 'Startup and Succession' super-heading. For founders, the start-up money, the ERP capital for founding and the universal start-up credit are the default.
  • From the state – each state offers its own subsidies, some of which are transferred to municipalities and cities. Founders must do their own research in this regard. Especially in the larger cities, there are often special funding programs so that the location is considered a start-up location.
  • From the federal government – apart from the KfW programs, Germany also offers special funding opportunities nationwide.
  • EU subsidies – in some areas, companies can include from the EU subsidies.

Founders should in any case inform themselves well or get a specialist in this area on board. Several funding programs are not mutually exclusive, but can be used together. Without a good research it is quite conceivable that founders lose a lot of money.

Other ways

Founders need in the first phase of their enterprise primarily money. The founders may have innovative and purposeful ideas, but supply chains, facilities, or even internal technology must be built to achieve the big goal. While the majority of founders manage the start-up from their own resources, money is still often necessary to achieve success. The Business Angels or also Crowdlending can help here. But what are Business Angel investors?

  • Private Hohle der Lowen – a business angel is actually nothing other than the investors that the participants in the Vox format hope for. An investor who not only gives money, but the company with expertise, relationships and experience As a rule, these are not just pure investors, but funders who also help as a person further.
  • Rule – for the money the investor receives a share in the company. This can be beneficial for both sides, because the funder is naturally interested in monetizing his investment, so he gets involved. The start-up benefits from the commitment and can become successful. However, most investors sell their shares after a major growth phase. In this variant, founders also benefit from the knowledge and business relationships of their investor. In return, they give away a part of their business in shares and have to expect that the investor will sell his shares later on.
  • Venture capital – this also gives equity, but such participation often occurs later. The investment requirement is often higher, but in return more is invested in the company.

In addition, there is the option of crowdlending. Entrepreneurs can also participate in this, but crowdlending also serves private individuals as a means of investment. But why and how does this work?

  • Platforms – there are special platforms and providers for crowdlending. Private individuals and small investors can provide sums if they find an offer interesting. Depending on the platform, a start-up applies for a loan, in other offers the intermediary takes over this part.
  • Worthwhile? – for start-ups crowdlending can be quite interesting. In the pure loan area, however, it can be seen that the conditions are often a little worse than with comparable loans. For the financier, on the other hand, crowdlending offers a form of investment that compensates for the low interest rates and returns of other forms of investment.
  • Contractual design – depending on the platform, the founder independently reaches an agreement with the financier and draws up a contract. With managed portals, this part can be taken over by the provider. The investor now sets the conditions.

In any case, the founder must become active, because neither investors nor financiers in crowdlending come by chance.

Conclusion – several pots are available

Today it is much easier for founders to get money for their start-ups. How easy it is to get the money depends, of course, on the company and its tangibility. A start-up with an idea that appeals to a lot of people and is easy to understand is naturally more likely to get funds than a company whose expertise is in the field that is difficult for the general public to categorize. However, the startup grants from KfW are available to every founder.