Pre-seed funding refers to the first external investment in an early-stage startup, typically raised to launch and develop an initial prototype or proof-of-concept. Pre-seed rounds range from $10,000 to $150,000 and usually come from the founders themselves, friends and family, incubators, angel investors, or micro VCs focused on pre-seed. The capital allows founders to get a minimum viable product off the ground and perform initial market validation before applying to accelerators or pitching to seed investors. Pre-seed funding carries huge risk investing in ideas not yet validated. But it can also reap massive returns getting in early on the next big thing. Promising startups may raise pre-seed funding before applying to top startup accelerators like Y Combinator, which itself offers a standard $125k pre-seed investment to accepted companies. Venture capital firms will later seek out those winners that gained momentum during the pre-seed stage.