Chicken vs Egg - What comes first; a prototype or fundraising to build a prototype?

I’m probably spending too much time wondering about this, but just thought I’d ask here to see what kind of feedback I can get? I want to build a “project” that would consist of an API and a front end. As most web apps are evolving to a backend / frontend philosophy it seems to make sense to build an API, and then use a frontend tech such as React.js to present the data to the users of the app.

Now, I’ve been following the Elixir ecosystem for the better part of 2017 and would love to build an API using Phoenix / Absinthe / GraphQL, but I don’t have the know how. I’m not opposed to learning the tech but I’m also open to using such tech as Node.js to build an API. And it currently seems there are more resources available for people building API’s using Node.js presently.

Now, I’ve worked on and completed several projects before in the past, and it ended up just being me working on the project. I’d like to know how to put together a “MVP” or something similar so that I could receive some seed funding, so that way if someone wants to work on the project I could offer them some money for the time and effort they put into the project. Now this brings me to the title of my thread, is it always necessary to having a working prototype before you receive funding, or can one put together an “outline” of some sort so that way the visionary of the project can pay / fund the people who are contributing to the project? Any thoughts / suggestions would greatly be appreciated.