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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.

Series Seed or Convertible Note? Which one is more founder friendly? Which one do investors prefer?

There is not a definitive answer to this, because a good lawyer can write terms into either one to make one or the other preferable to one or the other party.

That said, the primary entrepreneur-friendly reason for doing a Convertible Note (and the reason that no serious investor under regular circumstances will therefore do an uncapped note) is: