Thoughts on startups by investors that
fund them & entrepreneurs that run them

Blog Archives

Co-founder Equity Split: A New Framework to Objectively Divide Startup Ownership and Get Back to Building a Business

We’ve just released our free Co-founder Equity Split tool. It’ll give you a fair and objective recommendation about how to divide your startup’s ownership, so you and your co-founders will have a sensible, real starting point for this notoriously hard, crucially important conversation.

Many startup founders find themselves lacking clarity and direction when it comes time to divide their

Read more >

Is it legal to have a crowd-funding site that gives equity as reward?

In the United States, equity-based crowdfunding will not be legal until January, 2013 at the earliest, when the SEC issues its rules regarding the process. It will then be permitted, provided that it is done in strict compliance with those SEC rules, and the provisions of the JOBS Act, which was signed by President Obama earlier this year.

*original post

Read more >

Thinner Slices of an Extra-Large Pizza: Mathematical vs. Economic Dilution of Startup Equity

Back from a hiatus, it’s time to venture forward once more.  I appreciated hearing from those who asked about upcoming posts.  Thanks in particular to the reader who reminded me that Part II of “Bored” of Directors Can Become Clash of Titans is still in the queue.

Let’s get right down to business: Dilution of founders’ and other early shareholders’ equity in

Read more >

When should a convertible note be treated as a replacement for an equity round, and take on characteristics of an equity financing?

It doesn’t work that way. A convertible note and an equity round are two different things, done for different reasons. In most cases, the former is a quick way to get some money in the door in anticipation of the latter.

Which equity based crowdfunding startups hold the most promise / have the highest growth potential at this point?

Since no equity crowdfunding platforms under the JOBS Act will be able to even begin operations for another six to nine months, it is impossible for any of them to be “the market leader” at this point…even though every single one of them—as in a drawing room farce—is claiming the title.

And since the three logical big players (KickStarter, Gust

Read more >

Should a startup set aside equity?

The first thing you should do is talk to a lawyer who is familiar with setting up startups, rather than trying to handle things yourself. This need not be expensive; at the very high end from a top tier firm, you’re probably talking no more than $5,000, for which you’d get absolutely everything a startup needs.

Typically, since only you

Read more >

What is the most viable model for equity based crowdfunding?

One of the following two:

Revenue-backed, interest-bearing notes with a kicker multiple The funds go into the company as a loan, and get repaid with interest by distributing a fixed percentage of gross revenues (say, 5%) among all the note holders. Once the base+interest has been returned to the investors, the company continues to pay out a percentage of revenues

Read more >

Users Guide to Startup Advisors

What’s an advisor to a startup deal? Technically, advisor is one of those bucket terms that means anything and everything, depending on context. Those names and faces and backgrounds that turn up in pitches and business plans might be deep and important relationships, somebody with options or equity who is going to be helping for the long term; or meaningless

Read more >

How much stake (equity) is an idea worth?

It depends on the quality of the idea. I’m a firm believer in Derek Sivers‘ calculus, which goes like this:

AWFUL IDEA = -$1 WEAK IDEA = $1 SO-SO IDEA = $5 GOOD IDEA = $10 GREAT IDEA = $15 BRILLIANT IDEA = $20

The real value, of course (as other answers here have noted), comes from executing on the

Read more >

What is an effective “pre-incorporation-agreement” between possible founders of a startup?

The bottom line is that the very question you are asking is one of the trickiest things of all when it comes to startup founding.  On the one hand, if you DON’T make things explicitly clear up front, you are just begging for a future disaster by ‘kicking the can down the road’. On the other hand, if everything is

Read more >