You are just starting your business. You may have a working prototype, a pilot, or you're in the process of launching your first product to market. You are most likely pre-revenue, and you may have raised some outside capital.
Proof of Concept
You are testing out whether your product or service is viable. This stage helps you to identify potential issues with your product or service that might limit its success once you go to market.
Actively Beta Testing
You have a prototype or MVP (minimum viable product) that a small group of potential customers are trying out, in exchange for feedback. This feedback will be used to inform future iterations of your product or service as you prepare to publicly launch.
Product in Market and Generating Revenue
You have a product in-market, and are generating revenue from customers. It may also mean that you have your pitch deck nailed and you’ve raised venture capital. If you have not yet raised capital, it’s time to start thinking about your options so you can grow your business.
You have raised the first stage of money in exchange for company equity from angel investors or venture capitalists looking for a return on their investment—Proceeds from a seed round typically help you develop your first products, find product-market-fit, and/or make your first hires.
You have raised the last stage of money before going after a bigger Series A round. Post-seed companies typically have product-market fit, and they need money for sales and marketing expenses in preparation for a bigger round of funding.
You have raised the next stage of money after your seed round in exchange for company equity from investors looking for a return on their investment. Proceeds from a Series A round typically help a company that has already proven demand achieve scale.