What Is Revenue-Based Financing?

Woman at desk with calculator going over business finances.

Revenue-Based Financing (RBF) is a relatively new funding model that, unlike traditional loans or equity financing, provides businesses – especially startups – with alternative financing options. 

This innovative form of financing provides businesses with growth capital in exchange for a fixed percentage of their future revenues.

In this guide, we’ll explain RBF, providing a breakdown for understanding how revenue-based financing works, its benefits, and how it contrasts with other methods like VC funding and bank loan options.

Recommended: Check out our list of the best revenue-based financing companies.

Revenue-Based Financing

Revenue-based financing, also known as royalty-based financing, is a debt financing model that allows businesses to gain initial investment in exchange for a percentage of their future monthly revenue through a revenue-based financing provider.

Unlike financial institutions offering traditional loan options or venture capitalists seeking equity investment, RBF does not necessitate businesses to give up equity or personal assets. 

Instead, revenue-based financing providers receive a cut of the business's monthly payments or monthly recurring revenue (i.e., future revenue) until the agreed-upon amount, plus some interest rates, is repaid.

Examples of companies offering RBF include: 

Advantages of Revenue-Based Financing

Revenue-based financing is emerging as a prominent alternative to traditional financing options, particularly for startups and small businesses. What sets RBF apart? Here's are some of its distinct advantages:

Flexibility in Repayment Terms

RBF's primary advantage is its flexible repayments. Unlike traditional loans that demand a fixed monthly payment, RBF requires repayments based on the business's revenue. 

This method naturally allows monthly payments to align with cash flow, helping businesses especially during months of slower revenue.

No Dilution of Equity

Equity based funding often requires businesses to part with a share of their company. With RBF, there's no need to worry about personal guarantees or diluting ownership, making it an attractive startup funding option.

Lower Risk for the Business Owner

Personal collateral, often essential for bank loans, isn't a necessity here. 

If a business doesn't succeed, assets remain untouched, ensuring the owner's personal credit remains unaffected.

Potential for Higher Returns for Investors

With RBF, revenue-based investors can anticipate higher returns, especially if they back businesses poised for rapid growth.

Drawbacks of Revenue-Based Financing

While Revenue-Based Financing offers several advantages, it's essential to approach it with a well-rounded perspective. 

This model presents certain challenges that businesses must be aware of. Below, we shed light on some potential drawbacks of opting for RBF:

Higher Cost of Capital

Businesses may encounter higher costs with RBF compared to straightforward loan options. Revenue-based financing providers expect substantial returns, given the risks they undertake.

Limited Funding Options

As an emergent model, there are fewer providers in the RBF space compared to more established financing options like private equity investments.

Potential for Conflicts

Discrepancies between business owners and investors might arise, especially during months when revenues dip, impacting investor interest payments.

Requires Stable Revenue

RBF might not be optimal for businesses with erratic monthly revenue or those in the pre-revenue phase. Instead, businesses with ever-fluctuating cash flow and revenue might consider merchant cash advantages. 

How to Determine if Revenue-Based Financing is Right for Your Business

As Revenue-Based Financing (RBF) gains traction in the startup world, many businesses find themselves asking: "Is this the right financing method for me?" 

It's a question that requires careful consideration, requiring a thoughtful look into your business's financial health, understanding your monthly recurring revenue, and comparing this innovative model to more traditional forms of financing. 

Below, we'll guide you through the essential steps to help determine if RBF aligns with your business goals and needs.

  1. Assess Your Business's Financial Needs: Explore your financial statements to gauge the capital you need, its purpose, and urgency.
  2. Evaluate Your Business's Revenue Streams: Understand the consistency of your monthly payments and revenue, taking into account projections and potential risks.
  3. Compare Revenue-Based Financing to Other Funding Options: Compare RBF against VC funding, angel investors, bank loan, and other financing options. Weigh their pros and cons to discern the ideal fit.
  4. Find Reputable Revenue-Based Financing Providers: Prioritize providers with proven success, positive feedback, and those keen on providing capital to businesses aligned with your niche.

Revenue-Based Financing offers an avenue for businesses to raise capital without the constraints of equity investment for venture capital or rigid repayment periods seen in traditional loans. 

While it brings along its set of challenges, like higher costs and potential investor-business conflicts, its merits like flexible repayments and non-dilution of equity make it worth considering for many businesses. 

As with any financing options, thorough research, and consulting with financial experts is important.


How does revenue-based Financing differ from traditional loans?

Revenue-based financing (RBF) allows businesses to receive capital in exchange for a percentage of their future revenues. Unlike traditional loans, which typically have fixed interest rates and strict monthly payments, RBF repayments fluctuate with the business's revenue.

What is debt financing?

Traditional debt financing involves borrowing money, typically through loans from financial institutions or by issuing bonds, which businesses repay over time with interest. Unlike equity financing, it doesn't require giving up ownership in the company and the business gets capital upfront in exchange for fixed payments.

What types of businesses are best suited for RBF?

RBF is ideal for businesses with consistent and growing monthly revenues, such as SaaS or subscription-based models. Companies with predictable revenue streams can benefit most from this financing model.

Why do RBF providers typically require a higher return on their investment?

Given that RBF providers take on the risk of fluctuating revenues and lack of collateral, they seek a higher return to compensate for the added risk compared to traditional financing methods.

Is RBF a form of equity financing?

No, RBF is a type of debt financing. Businesses do not give up ownership or equity in their company when securing funds through RBF.

How are repayments calculated in revenue-based financing?

Repayments are usually a fixed percentage of monthly revenues. So, if a business has a higher revenue month, the repayment will be more and vice versa.

Are there any collateral requirements for RBF?

Typically, RBF does not require personal collateral or guarantees, making it a less risky option for business owners in the event the business faces challenges.

What should businesses consider before opting for RBF?

Businesses should assess their monthly revenues, growth projections, the cost of capital, and compare RBF to other available financing options. Additionally, partnering with a reputable RBF provider is crucial.