Neil Patel

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Micro investment for early-stage startups is quickly emerging as a transformative option for founders seeking capital. This upcoming trend in the venture capital industry is making startups available for investing to a larger pool of small investors.

On the flip side, small founders with disruptive business ideas can get funding from small investors open to supporting them. As a rule, venture capitalists and private equity firms look for early-stage startups to back that demonstrate high growth potential.

Their objective is significant returns in terms of a strategic sale or IPO. VC funding is crucial for the startup ecosystem because of the funding, guidance, and industry-specific expertise it offers.

Micro-investors, or micro VCs, as they are also called, invest smaller denominations of capital in early-stage companies. But also take on higher risks. Their backing allows entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into marketable products.

Micro VC capital is typically geared toward upcoming startups that need low amounts of capital at the onset. They enable founders to avoid diluting equity and utilize their resources more efficiently.

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The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks

Micro Investment for Early-Stage Startups is Rising in Recent Years

Micro VC firms are accelerating their impact on the startup ecosystem and emerging as major players affecting change. These investors manage smaller funds than conventional VCs. Micro VCs funding is worth an average of $25M against VCs operating funds worth $100M and above.

While VCs invest funding worth several million dollars, Micro VCs are open to making small loans of around $100K and $500K to $1M. Essentially, they fill the large gap that VCs leave.

Micro investors are growing rapidly over the last decade or so. Statistics indicate a rise of 291% in deals from 2010 to 2020.

In contrast, VC investment deals indicated a 200% increase, while angel investor deals increased by 256%. In 2022, close to 70% of micro-investments were directed toward seed and early-stage startups and upcoming founders.

The worldwide micro-investing platform added a revenue of $392.1M in 2021. By 2032, it should reach $ 3,187.2M, which translates into a CAGR of 21.1% within the same interval. At present, the market represents around 20.9% of the aggregate online investment market.

Founders looking for investment and support for early-stage startups but in small denominations should look into this option. They need not worry about dilution or ceding equity and can partner with small investor funds.

Several other advantages come with these partnerships. Read ahead to know more.

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Micro Investment for Early-Stage Startups – What You Need to Know

Micro investments are the process of investing small or micro amounts of capital into early-stage companies or startups. These firms manage smaller funds that can be as low as a few hundred dollars.

Technology, digital platforms, the Internet, and regulations have helped in bridging the gap between small investors and startups. These facilities have effectively eliminated the barriers to entry into the startup ecosystem, enabling new entrants with disruptive ideas.

Micro VCs have more similarities with traditional VCs than angel investors, but both firms have crucial differences in their structures. Micro VCs deploy a more partnership-driven approach to their funding.

MVCs are primarily high-net-worth individuals, family offices, and foundations other than institutional investors.

Traditional VCs are usually private and public pension funds with sophisticated investment strategies and approval processes. They also have much more substantial funds at their disposal. In contrast, micro VCs operate smaller funds. Their top executives have been founders themselves.

Although conventional VCs also have seasoned entrepreneurs running the funds, they typically have impressive success track records. This factor influences their screening processes, raising their probability of backing startups that demonstrate the potential for rich returns.

Micro VCs are more open to spreading their funds out over a larger number of smaller startups. Their approach is to diversify the risk and include a higher number of startups in their portfolio that can grow quickly. In this way, they also raise their chances of maximizing returns.

Features of Micro Investment Firms

Micro investment for early-stage startups has added an element of inclusivity and diversity to the startup ecosystem. More innovative, mission-driven, and underrepresented founders can successfully approach investors for backing.

From the investors’ perspectives, they can support ideas in which they are personally invested and that align with their values. Such investors need not have large sums of money available, but are open to investing what they have.

Early-stage startups that typically don’t attract VC attention can now apply to micro VCs to get the funding they need. This new surge in funding availability has sparked exponential growth in the startup ecosystem, with many founders grabbing opportunities.

Similar to traditional VCs, micro VCs also offer industry-specific mentoring and guidance along with the capital they offer. Here’s some additional information:

  • Micro VCs focus on geographical criteria and are more likely to invest in startups closer to their home grounds.
  • Founders need not demonstrate successful track records to attract micro-investment.
  • Micro VCs are not interested in replacing CEOs or require a board seat as a condition for investing.
  • Micro investment rounds are smaller, and they prefer to participate in syndicates.
  • Micro VC firms have lower overhead costs, which allows them to allocate a higher portion of their capital to investing. The minimal operational costs free up more available capital.
  • Founders can expect in-depth support, mentoring, and guidance in running their companies. They can also leverage expertise from CEOs and their management teams.
  • Founders can access networking opportunities that can be indispensable assets for upcoming entrepreneurs. This advantage is not just for their current startup but also for any other businesses they want to build moving forward.
  • Micro-investment funds may not conduct extensive due diligence when screening candidates.
  • Term sheets and shareholder agreements include flexibility and are founder-friendly.

Micro Investment Firms Structure

Microinvestment firms operate as limited partnerships in which the fund managers work as limited partners. Typically, partners are seasoned entrepreneurs and founders with extensive experience in building startups.

They leverage this experience and expertise to screen candidates and select startups that have value and potential. The firm raises capital from investors interested in supporting innovative and disruptive companies but also making substantial returns.

These investors can include family offices, high-net-worth individuals, angel investors, and others. Typical micro-investments range from $100k and $500K to $1M. However, the fund value can be anywhere from $10M to $50M.

Similar to most traditional VCs, their approval criteria can include specific geographical locations and high-growth sectors. Micro VCs stay invested for shorter time frames of five to seven years and require a small equity stake.

Keep in mind that storytelling is everything in fundraising. In this regard, for a winning pitch deck to help you here, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor on Facebook, with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.

Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.

Typical Sectors Micro Investment Firms Target

Micro investment for early-stage startups is typically geared toward disruptive sectors. One of the most renowned examples of a micro VC-funded unicorn is Lyft. The company launched in 2012 with early-stage backing from Mayfield Fund. Currently, it is one of the most popular ride-sharing services.

Other notable examples include Flexport, backed by Anorak Ventures, Robinhood by Elefund, and Monzo by Passion Capital. As for the targeted sectors, 60% of micro VC capital is diverted to banking and Software as a Service (SaaS).

Healthcare, life sciences, eCommerce, Artificial Intelligence (AI), consumer applications and platforms, insurance, and finance are also verticals attracting interest.

Micro Investment for Startups’ Screening Criteria

As a rule, micro-investor firms operate with lower amounts of capital and non-financial resources. This factor makes extensive due diligence and screening processes cost-prohibitive. Nor do they have the resources to monitor their investments post-funding. Even so, here are the basic criteria they use.

  • Micro VCs prefer to invest in early-stage startups.
  • The company should have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The firm follows up the initial investment with small contributions over fixed intervals. The staggered approach could be over months or quarters.
  • The business vertical they support depends on the fund manager’s area of expertise and experience in that vertical.
  • The number of deals micro VCs enter annually can be between 50 and 100.
  • Capital amounts are a maximum of $1M.
  • Stress is on diversity, inclusion, underrepresented founders and sectors, and startups that can have a positive social and environmental impact.


Micro investors are just one of the diverse funding options you can approach for your startup. For more details about how to build a targeted list of investors for your startup, check out this video below.

Why Micro Investment for Early-Stage Startups is Rising

In the last decade, micro VCs have been mushrooming worldwide, and experts estimate this trend will continue.

The sectors that will likely note more micro-investment include manufacturing, retail, FMCG or Fast-Moving Consumer Goods, and information technology. Several reasons have contributed to this, such as:

  • The primary reason for more micro-investment players coming into the market is demand. Close to 4.7 million businesses are started each year across different verticals needing capital and support. The year 2023 was a record year, marking 5.5 million startups. Micro VCs provide the funding to get them off the ground.
  • Many states have instituted regulations to promote a startup environment conducive to their growth. Entrepreneurs with innovative ideas have more federal support as well.
  • Micro investment for early-stage companies is less risk-averse. They are open to supporting fresh ideas that may seem impossible to execute. Startups that find it more challenging to get support from other investors opt to rely on them for capital.
  • Traditional VCs often struggle with the issue of lack of agility because of their size. And the need for accountability to their investors. Micro VCs don’t worry about such restrictions and can pivot quickly according to changing market conditions. If they come across promising startups, they will grab the opportunity quickly.
  • Technological advancements, the Internet, and digital platforms have enabled investors and founders to connect and eliminate the gap. Smaller investors are willing to jump into the market to make profits.
  • Microfunding has opened to door to diversity and innovative thinking, adding dynamism and substance to the startup ecosystem.
    Since micro-investment funds operate within specific geographical locations, they effectively support local economies and founders. This factor has helped create economic hubs in previously unexplored regions and territories by tapping into their unique resources.

Downsides to Micro Investment VCs

Founders relying on micro VCs for funding should be aware of the potential downsides. While small capital is an excellent tool for getting startups off the ground, that’s all they can expect. The stringent screening procedures that traditional VCs deploy add credibility to the startup.

When founders need further funding rounds, they may have to go through these processes. That’s because startups that micro VCs fund are less likely to get financing from conventional VCs and angel investors. Entrepreneurs must demonstrate exceptional profitability and traction to access support.

Since micro VCs have fewer resources, they may not be able to offer top-notch guidance comparable to traditional VCs. The potential for making a strategic exit and selling the company is low after micro VC funding.

Although the small amounts of capital are helpful, founders will have to work very hard to stabilize the company before they can take it to the next level. However, the initial funding can be a massive advantage for a startup that cannot attract interest from the big players.

The Takeaway–Leverage Micro Investment as a Stepping Stone for More Opportunities

Founders who haven’t been able to secure funding from conventional venture capitalists, banks, angel investors, and sources can consider micro VCs. Precisely when they need small amounts of capital to get the startup off the ground.

Micro investment for early-stage startups is more accessible and approachable than VCs, allowing founders to test their ideas. But with low liability. Innovative ideas that are disruptive and inclusive may not align with the investment policies of larger VCs.

That’s where micro VCs come in–to fill the gap and promote ideas that can potentially become unicorns. Founders can leverage a bespoke approach that allows them to test their ideas with just the basic amount of funding. And grassroots level guidance and mentoring to propel the company.

If the initial prototype works, they can consider taking the startup to the next level with funding from more sophisticated investors.

You may find our free library of business templates interesting as well. There, you will find every single template you will need when building and scaling your business completely for free. See it here.


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Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want help with your fundraising or acquisition, just book a call

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