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  • Heather PresleyCowen

Exploring Different Capital Sources: Tailoring Your Financial Strategy




Hello, Heather here from Capital Stacker. This week, we're delving into the diverse world of capital sources, a critical topic for any small-scale developer. Understanding the types of capital available and aligning them with your project's needs is not just a skill – it's an art.


Let's break down the options and find the best financial fit for your development dreams.


Types of Capital:

  1. Debt: This traditional form involves borrowing money that must be repaid with interest. Suitable for projects with predictable cash flows, it includes bank loans, mortgages, and construction loans.

  2. Equity: In equity financing, investors provide funds in exchange for property ownership shares. Ideal for shared risk and decision-making projects.

  3. Preferred Equity from Foundations and/or Corporate Partners (like employers): This is a unique form of equity where foundations or corporations provide funding with preferential terms over other equity investors. It's suitable for projects that align with the mission or interests of these organizations.

  4. Grants (including Land Donations and TIF): Grants, often misunderstood, are non-repayable funds provided by entities like governments, corporations or foundations. In the world that I live in, they can include land donations and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for residential or commercial projects. However, it's crucial to ensure the project is:

  • Community-Prioritized: The project should address a need and be a priority for the community.

  • Demonstrably Necessary: Clearly show that without the community's investment (land, TIF), the project would not be feasible. This approach safeguards the community, taxpayers, and the developer's reputation.

  1. Crowdfunding: A modern approach where developers raise funds from a large number of people, typically via online platforms. Suitable for projects with unique appeal or strong community resonance.


Evaluating the Best Fit:

  1. Project Scope and Scale: Assess the size and complexity of your project. Larger, more complex projects might benefit from a mix of debt and equity, whereas smaller projects could be well-suited for crowdfunding or grants.

  2. Risk Appetite: Understand your willingness to share risks and profits. Equity involves sharing both, while debt keeps you in full control but with the obligation to repay regardless of the project's success.

  3. Cash Flow Predictability: Projects with steady, predictable income (like rental properties) may be more suited to debt financing, as the regular income can cover loan repayments.

  4. Long-Term Objectives: Consider your long-term goals. If you aim to retain full ownership and control, debt might be preferable. For long-term growth with shared risks, equity could be a better option.

  5. Community Impact: Projects with a strong community focus or social benefit might be eligible for grants or attract crowdfunding support.


Actionable Tip: Start by creating a detailed financial model of your project. Include all potential costs and revenue streams. Use this model to simulate different financing scenarios – a mix of debt and equity, pure crowdfunding, etc. – and analyze their impact on your project’s viability and your personal goals.


Selecting the right type of capital is fundamental to the success of your development project. As a small-scale developer, your choice should align with your project's nature, your financial goals, and your risk tolerance. Stay tuned for next week’s installment, where we will dive into the intricacies of creating compelling proposals for potential financiers.


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