6 Best Startup Business Loans 2023
Last Updated: By TRUiC Team
Depending on the type of business and numerous other factors, entrepreneurs can sometimes face an uphill battle in getting financing. Fortunately, there are some lenders attempting to streamline startup business loans so passionate entrepreneurs can get the funding they need to advance their ventures.
Inventory, payroll, equipment — founders need funding to get all the necessities for starting a company. However, many traditional lenders make it difficult to get loans when you haven’t been in business for long. That’s where new lending options from companies like Lendio and Uncapped come in. These lenders try to take a more holistic view of the lending process so they can help new companies that need it.
The following list is here to help you narrow your potential lending options. If you are founding a startup, we hope that one or more of these lenders will be able to assist you on this part of your entrepreneurial journey.
Recommended Startup Business Loan Marketplace: Lendio
Best Business Loans for Startups
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Every business is unique, so your startup might have different reasons for seeking financing than others. One company may need to purchase significant inventory, while another may be focused more on payroll to attract the best employees. Whatever your specific needs, the fact is that your company needs money to become viable.
Whenever you really need funding, it can be tempting to take anything you can get. But we urge you to consider the full picture of any loan before you commit to a specific lender. Interest rates, secured vs. unsecured, credit score requirements, short-term vs. long-term — there are several factors to consider.
Learn as much as you can about possible funding options and what they entail so you can make an informed decision that’s best for your specific needs.
The top 6 best business loans for startups and entrepreneurs:
Lendio Startup Business Loans
Lendio is the best startup loan marketplace. You can compare funding options from different sources to ensure you get the best loan for your needs.
- Loan Amount: $500–$750,000
- Minimum Credit Score: 680
- Term: Up to 25 years
- Fees: 0-17%
Lendio is our favorite for small business loans, including startup loans, for several important reasons. The great thing about Lendio is it can help you get a wide variety of loans. For the purpose of this list, we are covering Lendio’s startup loan, but you can use the marketplace to get accounts receivable financing, business line of credit, SBA loans, business cash advances, and a variety of others. Whatever type of loan your venture needs, chances are Lendio can help.
Lendio’s loans are quite versatile, offering anywhere from $500 all the way up to $750,000. They typically take two to four weeks to fund and are available in terms of up to 25 years. The interest rates are competitive, too, ranging from 0% to 17%.
You can find a loan calculator on Lendio’s site that you can use to see how much funding you should seek.
Lendio looks at a variety of factors to determine your eligibility, including loan amount, interest rate, term, and collateral. Since it’s a marketplace, you can expect to find different loan products with significantly different terms and other details.
- Credit score of 680 or higher
- At least $6,000 in revenue per month
- Must be in business for at least three months
Because Lendio shows you so many different options from different lenders, it’s easier to make an informed decision about your loan. You don’t have to jump between a bunch of different sites to compare your options.
Here are some benefits of Lendio:
- Approval is fast and easy
- Encourages competition between lenders for your company
- Excellent customer support
- Transparent fees
- Collateral not required
- Get up to $750,000 from a startup loan
Lendio does have a few drawbacks, as with any lending service. They are usually not deal breakers for most companies, though.
- Soft credit check before approval
- Need a credit score of 680 for a startup loan
- Funding takes two to four weeks
Who Is Lendio Best For?
Lendio is best for startups with solid credit scores that want to see a variety of lending options for their venture in one place.
Recommended: Find the right business loan for your startup with Lendio.
- Loan Amount: $50,000–$10 Million
- Minimum Credit Score: Revenue-based lending doesn’t require a personal credit score
- Term: Fixed-term loans available between three and 24 months
- Fees: 2%–12% flat fee
UnCapped is a different kind of lending option than many you will find. It offers two types of loans: revenue-based finance and fixed-term loans. Your venture must be an online business, such as ecommerce, to qualify.
Revenue-based loans have a flat fee structure ranging between 2% and 12% based on the risk profile of your company, past performance, and intended use of the loan. If you qualify, Uncapped will withdraw a portion of your revenue from your bank account to pay for the loan. You can choose from daily, weekly, or monthly payments, with no fees for missed payments.
Fixed-term loans from uncapped are locked into a specific payment schedule ranging between three and 24 months. The interest is also charged at a flat fee, not compounding, at a rate of 2%–12%. These loans are available between $10,000 and $10 million.
Your company must be online and meet several other requirements, including earning at least $10,000 in monthly revenue and being in business for at least six months. These requirements are fairly high compared to some other lenders, but that is likely due to the unique types of loans that Uncapped offers.
- Must be in business for at least six months
- $10,000 in monthly revenue
- Online businesses only
Some companies will be unable to meet Uncapped’s requirements, particularly if they are brand new. But if you can meet those requirements, you can take advantage of the lender’s attractive loan options.
Here are some benefits of Uncapped:
- Higher lending limits than many competitors
- Personal FICO or credit history not required
- No fees for missed payments
- Flat interest rates
- Two types of loans available
Probably the biggest drawback of Uncapped is its relatively high barrier of entry. Many startups don’t earn $10,000 in monthly revenue when they first open. You also need to be in business for six months.
- Only available to ecommerce merchants and online businesses
- Must generate $10,000 in monthly revenue
- Due diligence process can take time
Who Is Uncapped Best For?
UnCapped is best for ecommerce businesses with decent revenue streams in excess of $10,000 per month.
- Loan Amount: $5,000–$10 Million
- Minimum Credit Score: Unlisted
- Term: Varies
- Fees: Varies
Nav is another lending marketplace where you can get suggestions for different loans from a wide variety of lenders. Beyond lending, Nav serves as a credit monitoring and business services app, including providing help with accounting, business formation, and much more.
If you already use Nav for its services, it’s probably an easy decision to try out its lending options as well. And there are a lot of options. Nav can connect you with all the standard business loans, including equipment loans, SBA loans, business lines of credit, and so on.
There is nothing in particular that makes Nav stand out from other lending marketplaces listed here, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s a great resource for finding out all your loan options, especially if you are currently using Nav for other needs.
The eligibility for lending products found on Nav varies widely depending on the type of loan. Business credit cards can sometimes be had without much time in business at all, while SBA loans tend to be available to more established businesses.
- Depends on the type of loan
- SBA loans require a 155 FICO SBSS
- Business lines of credit require 500–680 FICO
- Microloan requirements vary
Nav is a solid resource for most types of startup loans because it’s a lending marketplace. You can likely find an option for your company if you are willing to be flexible.
Here are some benefits of Nav:
- Lending marketplace featuring over 70 lenders
- Multiple financing options available, including SBA loans, business lines of credit, microloans, and more
- Platform includes helpful services like business formation, business insurance, and accounting solutions
There are a few things about Nav that can be frustrating, such as how confusing its website is to use. It’s also difficult to determine what options are available to you without signing up and applying.
- Website is difficult to use
- If you aren’t using Nav for other reasons, there are better lending marketplaces out there
Who Is Nav Best For?
Nav is best for companies that are already using Nav for other services, such as payroll, business formation, or business insurance.
- Loan Amount: Unavailable
- Minimum Credit Score: Varies (Calculated by Tillful)
- Term: Varies
- Fees: Varies
Like Lendio, Tillful serves as a marketplace for a wide variety of lenders. What sets Tillful apart is its approach to categorizing your company’s credit options.
Tillful calculates its own credit score for your company based on traditional factors, like payment history, as well as other cash flow patterns. These include:
- Increasing or decreasing trend in your cash balance
- Irregularities in inflow and outflow
- Usage of overdraft facilities
Once you sign up for Tillful and get your business credit score, you gain access to multiple types of loans based on that score. These include business lines of credit, business credit cards, SBA loans, and working capital loan products.
Your eligibility for different loans through Tillful all depends on your business credit score - which is calculated by Tillful. That makes Tillful its own lending ecosystem.
- Payment history
- Increasing or decreasing trend in your cash balance
- Irregularities in inflow and outflow
- Usage of overdraft facilities
- And other factors
The nice thing about Tillful is you don’t have to worry about your personal credit score being a factor. Tillful looks at the finances of your venture and determines what types of loans and loan terms you qualify for.
Once you are signed up (and Tillful finishes your credit score), you get to see every option available to you.
Here are some benefits of Tillful:
- Self-contained lending ecosystem
- Access to hundreds of potential lenders
- Calculates a business credit score to base all your lending on
- Multiple types of loans available
- No need to use a personal credit score
There are a few things entrepreneurs might not like about Tillful. For instance, some might not trust Tillful to come up with an accurate credit score for their company.
- Only Tillful gets to decide the credit score used for your lending options
- No startup-specific loan categories
Who Is Tillful Best For?
Tillful is best for small businesses that want lending options based on a unique credit score that factors more than just payment history.
- Loan Amount: $5,000–$250,000
- Minimum Credit Score: 625 Personal FICO Score
- Term: Up to 24 months
- Fees: 29.90%–97.30%
OnDeck keeps things simple by sticking to business lines of credit and short-term loans. The appeal of OnDeck is its accessibility and speed of funding. The credit score requirement is lower than some at 625, and it can often fund your startup within a few days if you qualify.
One of the unique things about OnDeck is its SMART Box capital comparison tool. The tool explains in plain language the key terms needed to evaluate loan offers. It gives you a simple, comprehensive breakdown of the cost of each so you can more easily compare loan products.
There are a few drawbacks to OnDeck, including its requirement for a year in business and frequent payments — either daily or weekly — to qualify for a loan.
OnDeck has a few basic requirements for anyone who wants to apply for loans through its platform. They include requirements for your time in business, personal credit score, and business revenue.
- One year in business
- Personal FICO score of 625
- Business annual revenue of $100,000
- Business bank account
- Not available in Nevada, North Dakota, or South Dakota
OnDeck is going to be very attractive for certain types of ventures, particularly those that need fast money over a short time period. The company tries to streamline the process as much as possible so you can find out quickly if you qualify and get your money fast.
Here are some benefits of OnDeck:
- Money is often available within a day but is always available within 3 days
- Credit score requirements are relatively low
- Not a lot of paperwork
- SMART Box Capital comparison tool makes it easier to compare offers
Fast, accessible money always comes at a cost. OnDeck is no exception. Interest rates on these types of loans are often high compared to longer-term loans.
The company also expects you to have been in business for a while and to have a decent revenue stream, among other limitations.
- Interest rates can reach almost 100%
- Must be in business for a full year to apply
- Not available in Nevada, North Dakota, or South Dakota
Who Is OnDeck Best For?
OnDeck is best for businesses that need money quickly and want an easy way to compare loan offers.
- Loan Amount: $150,000
- Minimum Credit Score: 600
- Term: 24 weeks
- Fees: 10.10%–79.80% APR
Fundbox offers a single type of loan: a business line of credit. If that is the type you are looking for, Fundbox can be an excellent resource. It has streamlined unsecured business loans, so you don’t have to jump through too many hoops to get funding. Simple paperwork, transparent requirements, and fast funding make Fundbox a good choice for some ventures.
Fundbox can often get you money within one business day. And its time in business requirements is fairly easy to meet at just six months. And even that is not set in stone. The website specifically says, “Ideally 6+ months in business.” You only need a 600 personal credit score as well, along with $100K in annual revenue.
Rates are high from Fundbox, but that is expected from lenders that make their requirements easy to meet. For many startups, there is no avoiding high rates because all lenders will see a new venture as a higher risk than a well-established one.
One of the best things about Fundbox is that its eligibility requirements are easy for most ventures to meet. There are not too many lenders with more accessibility.
- Based in the US
- 600+ personal FICO score
- $100,000 in annual revenue
- Business checking account
- Ideally six months or more in business
Fundbox is one of the easier lenders to work with because its eligibility requirements can be met by many startups. The lender is also fast and streamlined, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to get approved and get your money.
Here are some benefits of Fundbox:
- Funding with one business day
- Application is easy to complete
- Only need to be in business for around six months
- 600 personal credit score
There are a few downsides to using Fundbox, including high-interest rates and needing to make weekly payments. You also can’t use Fundbox to build credit for your company, which is unfortunate.
- High-interest rates compared to traditional banks
- Could be required to make a personal guarantee
- Can’t be considered to build credit for your company
Who Is Fundbox Best For?
Fundbox is best for ventures that need fast cash and have limited eligibility for other loans, such as those with a low credit score or limited time in business.
Our Choice for the Best Startup Business Loan
For startup loans, we prefer Lendio. It offers the best combination of speed and loan options. Because it’s a lending marketplace, it gives you plenty of options to suit your unique needs. And Lendio handles the initial application process, so you can fill out one application and see what you qualify for with numerous lenders.
One of the things we really like about Lendio is its ease of use. The company’s website is user-friendly, just like its app. Whether you are on a computer or a mobile device, you can quickly navigate the site to find exactly what you need with minimal hassle.
Lendio is also an excellent resource for startups because it offers options for low credit score approval and just six months of bank statements. Even if your company is relatively new, it’s likely you can find some type of funding on Lendio. And you get a clear picture of each offer from the start, so there are no surprises later on.
The TRUiC team evaluates each startup loan based on the following:
- Rates and Terms The interest rate and terms of each loan are probably the most important facts you need to know, which is why we focus on getting you clear information about them.
- Eligibility Requirements: A loan is only worth pursuing if you are likely to qualify. We check the eligibility requirements for every one we recommend.
- Accessibility and Transparency: No one wants to be surprised with negative information after they accept a loan. We prioritize accessibility and transparency to ensure you know what you are signing up for.
- Customer Support: If something goes wrong, you need to know you can get quality help fast.
What to Do Before Applying for a Startup Loan
Understand How Business Loans Work
There are multiple types of business loans, so it’s important to read up on each type before you apply. You want to know key information, including how much interest you will pay, how long you have to pay back the loan, how frequent your payments will be, and more.
Know How to Spot Predatory Loans
Predatory loans are designed to attract you with “too good to be true” offers. There is no such thing as free money. If a loan seems way less expensive than others (or way easier to qualify for than others), be sure to read the fine print. Otherwise, you could wind up paying a lot more than you are expecting.
Determine if You Qualify for a Business Loan
Most lenders will list their minimum loan eligibility requirements. Things like time in business, credit score, revenues, and other factors are likely to be important. Read all the eligibility requirements so you don’t waste time applying for loans you will automatically be rejected for.
Conduct Research to Find the Right Loan
Our list is a great place to start, but it can’t hurt to do as much research as possible. Taking a loan out is a big commitment, and you want to be sure it’s right for you. Be certain you only take out as much money as you need, that that money will truly help your venture, and that you can pay the money back.
Types of Startup Business Loans
Term loans are for a specific sum of money that you repay over a fixed schedule. For example, you could get a term loan for 24 months. The lender will give you a repayment schedule that you follow to pay off the loan by the 24-month mark.
These are loans backed by the US Small Business Administration (SBA). There are a variety of types that fall in this category, including microloans for up to $50,000 and 7(a) loans for established businesses.
Lines of Credit
This is a flexible type of financing where you apply for an amount of credit up to a certain limit. You can borrow up to that limit on an ongoing basis, such as if you need to buy inventory or cover payroll. The money you borrow accrues interest, and you are expected to pay it back within a set time period.
Business Credit Cards
Many startups use credit cards because they are relatively easy to qualify for and often have useful rewards programs. However, failing to pay off your balance can rack up a lot of interest quickly.
These loans are for buying equipment for your company. This type of financing is usually easier to access than other types of loans because lenders can sell the equipment if you fail to pay.
Microloans are offered by a variety of lenders, including nonprofits, and are often a valuable resource for new businesses. Terms are usually generous when you get these loans from nonprofits because they are designed to help underserved communities.
How to Apply for a Startup Loan
1. Pick The Type of Loan
As you can see from reading the article thus far, there are a wide variety of potential loans you can seek. Of course, only some of them will be appropriate for your needs. And likely, only some of those will you be able to qualify for.
2. Verify Business Finances and Personal Credit Scores
Different lenders are going to have different eligibility requirements. Before you start filling out applications, check your finances and credit scores so you know which loans you can qualify for. There is no point in applying for one you are not eligible for.
3. Gather Documents
The documents you need for each application may vary, but you can collect the common ones before you start looking at individual loans. Business tax returns, bank statements, accounts receivable, outstanding invoices – most lenders are going to want to see these.
4. Research Lending Options
It’s worthwhile to take some time and compare a variety of lenders. Fortunately, this guide and the lending marketplaces we listed should make comparing lenders much easier.
5. Fill Out and Submit Application
When you decide on a lender, you can dig deeper and find out everything it requires from applicants. Get all the documentation together, fill out and submit the application, and wait for them to get back to you. Chances are they will want more information. Once you provide it, you can see if you are approved.
Alternatives to Startup Business Loans
There are times when you might want to look for alternatives to business loans. You might struggle to qualify or just want to avoid paying all that interest. Here are some other options that could work depending on your circumstances.
While an immediate cash injection could quickly solve some of your current problems, it might be possible to bootstrap and raise the money yourself. Depending on the situation, you might be able to find other ways to advance your venture. Cut costs, raise prices, put in more time and effort – sometimes entrepreneurs surprise themselves and accomplish great things without extra funding.
Friends and Family Funding
Depending on your friends and family, it might be possible to get some or all of the money you need from them. In the right circumstances, a loan from a friend or family member could cost you less (or at least be more accessible than a traditional loan).
There are organizations out there that provide grants for startups. They tend to focus on specific types of businesses or demographics, such as tech or underserved communities. A little research might find you a grant that you can qualify for.
Sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow you to set up a crowdfunding campaign for your startup and gain significant exposure. In exchange for donations, you offer gifts — such as products from your company or special edition releases. Equity crowdfunding is also an option, where you get funding from a public pool of investors in exchange for equity in your venture.
Venture capitalists are always looking for the next big thing. They invest in high-risk startups that have a high potential for growth. This type of funding can mean giving up some control of your company, but you may not have to pay back the loan if the venture fails.
While venture capitalists use traditional funding to make their investments, angel investors tend to use their own money. They are also looking for businesses with big potential but tend to give you more control over your company than venture capital firms. It’s also possible that you won’t have to pay back the loan from an angel investor if the business fails.
Which loan is best for a startup business?
The best loan for a startup is one that fits the venture’s needs and qualifications. Some new startups only really have business credit cards as an option – because that’s all they can qualify for. Others, with a little more time in business and some decent revenues, can qualify for a business line of credit or SBA loan.
Are business loans right for a startup?
Loans can be great for a startup if they allow the company to grow stronger and more profitable. Not every entrepreneur is lucky enough to get an angel investor. For those that don’t, a loan might be the only solution to a barrier to growth.
How do you apply for startup business loans?
To apply for a startup business loan, find one you can qualify for and complete an application. As long as you submit all the right documentation, you should get an answer in a timely manner.
How do business startup loans work?
Startup loans give you access to money for a fee which typically includes a certain interest rate. If you meet a lender’s eligibility requirements, you should be able to qualify for one.