There is a direct impact of equity dilution with the early stage startups. While running a business many entrepreneurs need to raise funds for their business. This ideally is the time for deep reflection and not to celebrate when you find a source to fund your business operation.
Ideally, when there is a sudden influx of money you by default get some room to grow your business. However, it does not come without any riders attached to it. You will have to show enough control over your expenses and maneuver your business properly to make the most of the room provided for your business growth.
To ensure proper control you must make sure that you take up only as much capital as you may think is required by your business and not more. However, the hardest part of it is to find out how much that amount really is. If you raise too much capital you will unnecessarily give away a larger share of your company.
On the other hand, if you raise too little a share you will automatically risk running out of cash much before you can actually achieve any considerable milestones and may have to go back to your investors once again.
Equity Dilution for Early Startup
Therefore, you will need to know the exact amount of capital required by your business and for this, you will at first know about the intricate details of different financing instruments such as equity rounds, convertible notes, and SAFEs. This is required and essential as the long-term implications of each can be relay very daunting for your business.
Raise as much as you need
When you want to go about raising capital for your business and are not very sure as to how to go about it, you must start with a proper and precise forecasting. There are different ways of doing this along with a few specific things to know to make sure that you forecast your capital requirements without any error or ambiguity.
- You will have to do a fair amount of calculation and along with it know the easy and effective ways to cut through the legalese.
- You must also know exactly how much you want for your business and never raise more than you need. Though a few people may advise you otherwise, you must stick to this basic principle that most founders and advisors of startups follow and suggest.
- You must consider different factors for this such as your economic conditions as well as the amount of buzz your startup has created with the investors.
- If you look at matters from the dilution perspective you will get a very simple and clear answer. It suggests that you take on as little outside capital as you can handle and get away with it.
- According to the experts, such money that you take early on will eventually be the most expensive money that you will ever take for your business. It is much similar to taking on a loan according to your affordability to repay so that you do not fall into the debt trap and have to look up in sites such as Nation Debt Relief Fund Program to find an easy way out.
- When you see that the initial backers of your company are getting equity even at a time when your company has the least value, it means that each dollar invested will buy a larger stake proportionally.
- This theory will be true in all cases and situations even when you use any specific type of investment vehicle such as the convertible note or a Simple Agreement for Future Equity or SAFE. Both of these will defer the decision regarding the amount which the equity investors may get at a later date.
- Ideally, if the valuation is high when you raise a priced round then the difference in dilution in the long term irrespective of the amount raised will not be much. However, this difference will be much more visible and substantial when the valuation of fundraising decreases.
- Moreover, there is no early-stage startup that will help you to forecast accurately all your business expenses. That does not mean you should not try it before you go out to raise money. You must do your best to make a proper estimation that will help you in a great way to take your startup to the next stage.
You must identify and map out all the critical milestones of your business that will decrease the once you reach to the next stage when you find that the investors are willing to pay more.
Get going quickly
When you reach the later stage you must not rely on the notes for a long time. You must ideally get going very quickly when you raise pre-seed funds from your friends or family members or the angels or use convertible notes or SAFEs. This will eliminate the need to put on a precise value on your company because the added risk assumed by the holders will typically get discounted when you do the first priced round.
If you hold on to this for too long then it will affect your business growth because the amount that you raised through these instruments will constantly grow. At the same time, the pressure to raise the priced round with a higher valuation will also grow consistently. This means that when you have netted a considerable amount through SAFEs or convertible notes, you can common a better post-money valuation when it comes to a priced round.
Therefore, you should not overthink a convertible note and a SAFE as both of these are easy and effective ways to raise money for your business without requiring a specific value to be put on your company. You will not have to determine the amount of equity the investor get as well.
At the same time, you must keep in mind that the terms must not be out of the ordinary so that it does not materially change the ownership structure of your startup in the long term.