Private Lenders as with most other investors, invest their money in businesses.  Having a business entity builds credibility with a private investor and provides other benefits such as liability protection, tax advantages, etc.  So, before one begins raising provide money for any kind of investment, it is highly recommended you incorporate in the state in which your business is located, so that you are a legally recognized corporate entity: Corporation, LLC, Partnership... A sole proprietor or DBA (doing business as), marks you as an amateur, and an investment risk.