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Business borrowing guide stage 1: Loans for startups

Business borrowing guide 1

Find out about the loan options you have to finance your startup.

If you have an idea and are planning to open a company, you will likely be looking for sources of finance to get your startup off the ground. A startup loan can come in many forms and from a range of financiers, any of which might be the right option for you. The guide below will take you through all of these loan types to help you narrow down your search.

Elizabeth Barry

Expert overview: 3 most important things to know about startup loans

  • It’s hard to get a business loan for a startup. Generally, your business will already need to be making money to qualify.
  • You don’t need residential or commercial property to be approved with an alternative business lender, but you usually will with a bank.
  • If you don’t qualify for a business loan yet, you can consider a credit card, angel investor or even crowdfunding.

What is a "startup" business?

Startups are newly emerged, fast-growing businesses that are in the process of developing their product or service. These companies can be sole traders, partnerships or organisations which have a model that can be rapidly scaled. Startups are marked by change, in terms of product, model or staffing. A startup isn't a business, technically, but it is in a stage of developing into a business.

Common funding needs that startups have

Startups can be marked by high periods of growth, but they also have funding needs.

  • To develop the product/service. This is one of the most common funding needs for startups. Developing the initial business idea into a market-ready product or service is a costly exercise and is completed in a period where the startup cannot make money (yet).
  • For operational expenses. Startups often need to hire staff, lease business space and pay the salaries of staff and founders. This requires funds, and the larger the business and the more staff that are hired, the more funds the startup will need.
  • To market the product. Acquiring customers is a common startup hurdle, and this can only be done through marketing. Whether it's online, through social media or using an old-school letter drop, these activities need time and money.
  • To expand the business. This is a positive step forward for any startup – expanding the business. Due to the uncertain cash flow in startups, it's common to use external funds to expand.

What types of finance are available to startups?

Startups have little to no internal funds – that is, profit. Because of this, these companies have the choice between two types of finance: debt or equity. Debt finance involves borrowing the money, so the business takes on a debt, whereas equity finance involves the business acquiring funds from investors or a public float in return for a share of the company.

Here are some options startups have when it comes to debt and equity finance.

Debt financeEquity finance
  • Loans from traditional lenders

Banks and credit unions offer loans to people looking to start small businesses. The application process usually requires detailed business plans and you may need to put up security.

  • Angel investors

These are individual investors who help to finance your startup, usually in exchange for a partnership stake. You can find these individuals yourself or through startup hubs, meetups or investment groups.

  • Loans from online and alternative business lenders

The number of online and other alternative business lenders has increased in the last few years. You can apply for business loans online and receive funding quickly, sometimes within 24 hours.

  • Venture capitalists

This is a specific type of equity capital which involves individuals or venture capital firms providing funds for startups and early stage businesses. Your business needs to demonstrate potential revenue and a solid business strategy.

  • Credit cards

If you only need a small loan or require access to an ongoing line of credit, a credit card may be an option to consider. You can opt for a card that gives you 0% p.a. on purchases for up to 12 months.

  • Public float

This involves you listing your company on the stock exchange so people can purchase shares. Keep in mind doing this will involve a higher degree of transparency with your business than if you remain a private company.


How to compare startup loans?

Finding the right finance for your new company is important, and it all starts with comparing your options. Here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • How much do I need to borrow?
    You will be offered a loan that is based on the details you provide in your application. However, you may be able to see the minimum and maximum amounts on offer depending on the lender. This is more likely with online and alternative lenders and also with credit cards.
  • How long do I need to repay the loan?
    It may be difficult to determine how much you’ll be able to repay if your business isn’t off the ground yet, which is where having a sound business plan comes into play. Work out an approximate budget and don’t apply for a loan you can’t afford.
  • Do I need access to ongoing credit or a lump sum amount?
    Will you need continued access to finance? Consider whether an ongoing line of credit or a loan that offers a redraw may be a better option for you. Remember to take your repayments into account when budgeting your startup financials if you opt for the lump sum loan.

Business loans you can compare today

Rates last updated June 22nd, 2018
Name Product Min Loan Amount Max. Loan Amount Loan Term Application Fee Product Description
NAB QuickBiz Loan
1 to 3 years
An unsecured business loan from $5,000 that can be processed in 1 business day.
Ferratum Business Loan
0.5 to 1.5 years
2.5% origination fee
Competitive business loans from $2,000 based on your business’ cash flow.
Moula Business Loan
0.5 to 2 years
Small business loans of up to $250,000 approved and funded within 24 hours.
Transparent fees and rates. Note: Business must have been operating for at least 6 months and have monthly sales of at least $5,000.
Spotcap Loans
0.25 to 2 years
Take advantage of a fixed interest rate and no upfront fees with this business loan, available up to $400,000. Note: Business must have been operating for at least 18 months and have turnover over $200,000.
Lending Express Business Loans
0.25 to 2 years
Apply online for up to $500,000 and get access to over 25 lenders through Lending Express.
Valiant Finance Business Loan Broker
0.25 to 5 years
A Small Business Lending Specialist from Valiant Finance can give you access to competitive business loans from over 60 lenders. Loans between $5,000 and $1 million are available. Request a call – your loan can be funded in 1 business day.
Prospa Business Loan
0.25 to 2 years
Apply for up to $250,000 and receive your approved funds within one business day. Note: Businesses must have a turnover of more than $5,000 per month and be able to demonstrate 6 months of trading history.
OnDeck Business Loans
0.5 to 2 years
2.5% origination fee
Apply online for up to $250,000 with OnDeck and receive approved funds in one business day. Note: Minimum annual turnover of $100,000 and must be able to demonstrate 1 year of trading history.

Compare up to 4 providers

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Get access to a wide range of business finance options with Valiant Finance. Fill out this form to speak to an expert.

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Valiant Finance works with a large panel of lenders that can help you find a loan for your business.

  • Access to 60+ lenders
  • Dedicated credit specialists
  • Various loan options available

Valiance Finance Lender Logos

How long does my business need to be in operation for a startup loan?

These are the criteria for lenders featured on finder.com.au in regards to how long your business needs to have been in operation:

Business lenderHow long you need to have been operatingRevenue criteriaFind out more
Banjo Loans2 years$500,000 per yearMore
Bigstone9 months$250,000 per yearMore
Business Fuel1 year$10,000 per monthMore
Capify6 months$10,000 per monthMore
GetCapital9 months$10,000 per monthMore
Kikka1 year$10,000 per monthMore
NAB12 monthsNo minimumMore
Max FundingNo minimumNo minimumMore
Merchant Cash12 months$5,000 per monthMore
MiFananceNo minimumNo minimumMore
Moula12 months$5,000 per monthMore
OnDeck12 months$100,000 per yearMore
Prospa6 months$6,000 per monthMore
Spotcap12 months$100,000 per yearMore
ThinCatsNo minimumNo minimumMore

What regulations should I be aware of?

The startup sector is becoming more regulated as time goes on, making it easier for people to turn ideas into companies and for startup founders to access finance. The largest regulatory changes were announced in the Federal Government’s innovation agenda, which detailed various changes to be rolled out in 2016 and beyond. Notable funding-related regulations include:

  • From 1 July 2016 investors who support innovative startups will receive a 20% non-refundable tax offset on investments capped at $200,000 per year, per investor.
  • From 1 July 2016 investors who support innovative startups will receive a 10-year capital gains tax exemption for investments held for three years.
  • Already in place are changes to crowdsourced equity funding (CSEF) schemes to allow entrepreneurs to raise up to $5 million per year in funds from a large number of individuals in return for equity in their company.
  • Companies that went public to access CSEF have a five-year exemption from normal reporting and exemption requirements.
  • From 1 July 2016 partners in a new Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnership (ESVCLP) will receive a 10% non-refundable tax offset on capital invested during the year. Funding size will also be increased from $100 million to $200 million.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to provide security?

This depends on the lender you apply with, but generally it’s up to you whether or not you want to offer a guarantee. Doing so can help lower your repayments but it also puts the asset at risk should you default on the loan.

What do I need to apply?

If you apply with a bank you will need a detailed business plan as well as your own personal information. Online business lenders usually list the application requirements on their website, and you can also find details on finder.com.au review pages.

What interest rate will I receive?

You’ll be offered a rate based on the details you provide in your loan application. Some lenders may offer you a rate estimate before you submit a full application.

Picture: Shutterstock

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6 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MattMarch 6, 2018

    Hi, I am looking for a loan but want to know what contribution would be expected from me. Assuming the loan company won’t give me 100%, what percentage should I expect to put in myself?

    • finder Customer Care
      MayMarch 7, 2018Staff

      Hi Matt,

      Thanks for your question.

      Not really sure what you meant by “contribution” coming from you. If you are looking to apply for a business loan with a bank, you may need to present your business plan to them. As for security or guarantee, that must depend on the lender you apply with, although you have to option to present a security/guarantee. It is always best that you check the overall requirements and eligibility criteria before applying for any loans so you might know what you need to provide and you’re able to gauge your chances of approval.


  2. Default Gravatar
    AnneJune 14, 2017


    We are a start-up looking for a company that will provide finance to our customers rather than us. Any recommendations. We are happy to cover the purchase and have finance go through on delivery of product for security to customer and financier.

    Any insight would be great.


  3. Default Gravatar
    BernardJanuary 24, 2017


    I am looking to be put in touch with lenders that can help me with finance to purchase an existing business.

    Any details will be very helpful thank you.

    • finder Customer Care
      LouJanuary 24, 2017Staff

      Hi Bernard,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you are looking to purchase an existing business, the lenders on this page may help with your borrowing needs.


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