Skip to main content

Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist

Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist

ISBN: 978-0-470-92982-7

Aug 2011

240 pages

Select type: Hardcover

Product not available for purchase


An engaging guide to excelling in today's venture capital arena

Beginning in 2005, Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson, managing directors at Foundry Group, wrote a long series of blog posts describing all the parts of a typical venture capital Term Sheet: a document which outlines key financial and other terms of a proposed investment. Since this time, they've seen the series used as the basis for a number of college courses, and have been thanked by thousands of people who have used the information to gain a better understanding of the venture capital field.

Drawn from the past work Feld and Mendelson have written about in their blog and augmented with newer material, Venture Capital Financings puts this discipline in perspective and lays out the strategies that allow entrepreneurs to excel in their start-up companies. Page by page, this book discusses all facets of the venture capital fundraising process. Along the way, Feld and Mendelson touch on everything from how valuations are set to what externalities venture capitalists face that factor into entrepreneurs' businesses.

  • Includes a breakdown analysis of the mechanics of a Term Sheet and the tactics needed to negotiate
  • Details the different stages of the venture capital process, from starting a venture and seeing it through to the later stages
  • Explores the entire venture capital ecosystem including those who invest in venture capitalist
  • Contain standard documents that are used in these transactions
  • Written by two highly regarded experts in the world of venture capital

The venture capital arena is a complex and competitive place, but with this book as your guide, you'll discover what it takes to make your way through it.

Foreword xi

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xix

Introduction: The Art of the Term Sheet 1

1 The Players 5

The Entrepreneur 5

The Venture Capitalist 6

The Angel Investor 8

The Syndicate 10

The Lawyer 11

The Mentor 13

2 How to Raise Money 15

Do or Do Not; There Is No Try 15

Determine How Much You Are Raising 16

Fund-Raising Materials 17

Due Diligence Materials 23

Finding the Right VC 23

Finding a Lead VC 25

How VCs Decide to Invest 26

Closing the Deal 28

3 Overview of the Term Sheet 31

The Key Concepts: Economics and Control 32

4 Economic Terms of the Term Sheet 35

Price 35

Liquidation Preference 41

Pay-to-Play 47

Vesting 50

Employee Pool 54

Antidilution 55

5 Control Terms of the Term Sheet 61

Board of Directors 61

Protective Provisions 63

Drag-Along Agreement 68

Conversion 70

6 Other Terms of the Term Sheet 73

Dividends 73

Redemption Rights 75

Conditions Precedent to Financing 77

Information Rights 79

Registration Rights 80

Right of First Refusal 83

Voting Rights 84

Restriction on Sales 85

Proprietary Information and Inventions Agreement 86

Co-Sale Agreement 87

Founders’ Activities 88

Initial Public Offering Shares Purchase 89

No-Shop Agreement 90

Indemnification 93

Assignment 93

7 The Capitalization Table 95

8 How Venture Capital Funds Work 99

Overview of a Typical Structure 99

How Firms Raise Money 101

How Venture Capitalists Make Money 102

How Time Impacts Fund Activity 106

Reserves 108

Cash Flow 110

Cross-Fund Investing 111

Departing Partners 111

Fiduciary Duties 112

Implications for the Entrepreneur 112

9 Negotiation Tactics 113

What Really Matters? 113

Preparing for the Negotiation 114

A Brief Introduction to Game Theory 116

Negotiating in the Game of Financings 118

Negotiating Styles and Approaches 120

Collaborative Negotiation versus Walk-Away Threats 123

Building Leverage and Getting to Yes 124

Things Not to Do 126

Great Lawyers versus Bad Lawyers versus No Lawyers 129

Can You Make a Bad Deal Better? 129

10 Raising Money the Right Way 133

Don’t Ask for a Nondisclosure Agreement 133

Don’t Email Carpet Bomb VCs 134

No Often Means No 134

Don’t Ask for a Referral If You Get a No 134

Don’t Be a Solo Founder 135

Don’t Overemphasize Patents 136

11 Issues at Different Financing Stages 137

Seed Deals 137

Early Stage 138

Mid and Late Stages 138

Other Approaches to Early Stage Deals 139

12 Letters of Intent—The Other Term Sheet 145

Structure of a Deal 146

Asset Deal versus Stock Deal 149

Form of Consideration 151

Assumption of Stock Options 152

Representations, Warranties, and Indemnification 155

Escrow 157

Confidentiality/Nondisclosure Agreement 158

Employee Matters 159

Conditions to Close 160

The No-Shop Clause 161

Fees, Fees, and More Fees 162

Registration Rights 163

Shareholder Representatives 164

13 Legal Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know 167

Intellectual Property 167

Employment Issues 169

State of Incorporation 170

Accredited Investors 170

Filing an 83(b) Election 171

Section 409A Valuations 172

Authors’ Note 175

Appendix A: Sample Term Sheet 177

Appendix B: Sample Letter of Intent 197

Glossary 205

About the Authors 213

Index 215

"...offers hard-headed advice on dealing with lawyers and venture capitalists, so you can make the right decisions for you and your business..." (, 30th January 2012)

"Long term horizons, coupled with clear analysis in the book, provide a clear understanding and historical perspective into financial crises" (Ad-Hoc-News, November 2011)