I'm raising funding for my startup. It's an early stage social network startup albeit with users and some traction. One of the advisors on my team (not technical) thinks we can get investors who are providing us with free hosting for example. Or for example get an sms company to partner with us so they send out our SMS for us for free in return for a percentage in the company.
It goes against the conventional wisdom I know because I know basically investors will invest an amount say $1M in our startup and we do whatever we want with it.
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Good luck :)
What you're referring to is "in-kind investment" of "sweat equity", of a fashion. Basically, they both mean that the "investor" provides something to your business that isn't money per se, in return for a share of the company's equity. The short answer is yes. The long answer is dependent on some follow-up questions that I'd need answering before pointing you in the right direction. I think you need to put the brakes on and start at the beginning. What sort of funding have you already secured? e.g. friends and family, savings, co-founders, etc?