Lighter Capital raises more cash for model that lets startups get funding without dilution – GeekWire

Lighter Capital raises more cash for model that lets startups get funding without dilution – GeekWire

Lighter Capital raises more cash for model that lets startups get funding without dilution – GeekWire

Melissa Widner. (Lighter Capital Photo).

Lighter Capital has raised more than $100 million to help back startups using its revenue-based financing model.

Since launching more than a decade ago, Lighter Capital has invested more than $200 million in 400-plus companies across the U.S., using a process known as “revenue based financing” (RBF) that lets early-stage startups raise cash without giving up equity or board seats.

The Seattle-based firm is among a crop of “alternative VC” groups that enable entrepreneurs to raise funding without going the traditional route of venture capital.

Startups agree to share a percentage of future revenue with Lighter Capital; loan payments are tied to monthly revenue. The firm uses proprietary technology to guide investments in the $50,000 to $3 million range. It backs companies such as Aisle Planner and Courseloop across the U.S., Canada, and Australia.

More than 90% of the latest funding is a debt facility. Backers include Credit Suisse and i80 Group, as well as National Australia Bank, Silicon Valley Bank, and Voyager Capital.

Melissa Widner, a longtime venture investor who replaced Thor Culverhouse as Lighter Capital’s CEO in September, said the market for startups seeking funding is the strongest she’s seen since 2000.

“The difference now is that there are many more funding options with a wide variety of investors seeking exposure to early stage tech,” she said. “More than ever, entrepreneurs are in the driver’s seat. They don’t have to take dilution and give up control.”

Lighter Capital was co-founded by Andy Sack along with Randall Lucas and Erik Benson of Voyager Capital in 2009.

The firm laid off staff in April and July of last year, reducing its workforce from approximately 80 employees to 23. The company now has 36 employees and is profitable, Widner said. Culverhouse is now CEO at Submittable, a Missoula, Mont.-based social impact platform.

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