ONE OF THE MORE CHALLENGING THINGS a new entrepreneur must deal with is fundraising. It is a time consuming distraction from business operations that is made more difficult by the challenge of setting a realistic company valuation and the expense of complex funding documents.
This reality has led many to try and use convertible notes instead of stock in their early funding rounds. But using convertible note to raise funds presents its own challenges as I was recently reminded by two separate entrepreneurs at Georgia Tech.
First, there is the question of whether you use a convertible note or a SAFE (simple agreement for future equity) document of the sort developed at the Y combinator. The advantage of a SAFE document, when investors will use it, is that it gets rid of the fiction that the seed stage company using it will be in a position to repay the money if it does not raise needed funds in a next financing. Instead, if a fundraising does not occur, the holder of the instrument converts to equity at a predetermined formula.
Whether it is a SAFE document or a convertible note, several questions remain about how it should be structured. A partial list would include:
Photo of the 'post office' on the Galapagos Islands. Copyright 2008 by Clinton Richardson.
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Clinton Richardson, has been writing and photographing for decades. His acclaimed venture strategy series is now in its 5th edition. His Ancient Selfies is an International Book Awards Finalist and an eLit Award Gold Medal Winner. Many of his images can be seen online at TrekPic.com.