Access to Capital
Dive into the most diverse funding sources available anywhere
The United States hosts the most developed, liquid, flexible, and efficient financial markets in the world. Access to capital is an important reason businesses choose to invest in the U.S. market, where a wide range of funding sources – from banks and investment firms to venture capitalists and angel investors – enable business innovation and expansion. Learn more about federal financing resources.
Wide-Ranging Sources of Capital
Companies operating in the United States – from individual entrepreneurs with a dream to established businesses expanding their local physical presence – have access to a wide range of short- and long-term investment sources. Unlike in many other markets, capital investors in the United States are typically not involved in the day-to-day management or operations of the organizations they are funding. Sources of funding for businesses operating in the United States include:
The U.S. banking system supports the world’s largest economy with the greatest diversity in banking institutions and concentration of private credit. At the end of 2018, the U.S. banking system had over $17 trillion in assets.
Commercial banks in the United States offer retail and commercial financial services to companies of all sizes – and while these banks are not government-owned or managed, they are regulated by the federal or state governments according to their charters.
Investment banks in the United States provide strategic guidance on raising capital for greenfield investments and mergers and acquisitions, in addition to offering other advisory services such as valuation and due diligence. These institutions help secure funding for businesses through stock offerings, bond issues, or securities/derivative trades. Investment banks are regulated by Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission, which offers an investment adviser database.
U.S. private equity firms invested $685 billion in U.S.-based companies in 2018. Private equity comprises a broad range of securities and debt that are not publicly traded on a stock exchange. One of the most popular private equity mechanisms is venture capital (VC), a type of financing for small, entrepreneurial companies:
The VC industry was born in the United States, which remains the most attractive VC market in the world.
In 2018 alone, venture-backed companies received $131 billion in funding, the largest amount since the dot-com era of the early 2000s.
Alternative private equity funding mechanisms – be they large angel investments by individual or small groups of investors, or crowdfunded small investments – are also attracting growing interest, particularly among smaller innovators.
Trust in Corporate Governance
Because publicly-held companies in the United States are subject to clear corporate governance regulations that help to prevent fraud and mismanagement, shareholders are more confident that their value will be protected, enabling companies to raise funding more easily. Private companies have greater flexibility with respect to corporate strategy, financial reporting, and performance metrics, but many in the United States are increasingly implementing formal corporate governance guidelines to attract and reassure investors.