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A轮融资条款及创始人股份兑现

(2009-12-23 09:13:27)
标签:

杂谈

分类: 原创by林萍地

 

A轮融资条款及创始人股份兑现

 

First Round Funding Terms and Founder Vesting

by mark suster

 

 

 

这是我在写的“如何向VC演示”的系列博文之一。

今早有个关于简化融资条款和文件的讨论。讨论由CHRIS DIXON引发,他发表博文说投资协议条款清单应该简化,并做到把投资者和企业家的利益统一起来。这激发了FRED WILSON在博客上,呼吁风投行业做出简化的条款清单标准。最后BRAD FELD在博客上讨论说,只有两个条款需要拿来谈判,就是融资金额和估值。

This is part of my ongoing series "Pitching a VC".

There's a great meme developing this morning on the need to simplify funding terms and documents.  The meme was kicked off by Chris Dixon with this post saying that term sheets need to be simplified and align investor / founder interests.  That prompted Fred Wilson's blog post appealing to the industry to make these simplified term sheets standard.  Last to weigh in was Brad Feld whose blog post argues that the only 2 terms that should be negotiated are amount raised & valuation.

 

 

我完全同意,但想说一下另外一个话题。如果你读过我的博客,你可能已经知道我是属于那种认为企业家和投资者应该结成统一联盟的人。我对过去VC的做法十分痛恨。

I totally agree but want to cover a different issue.  If you've read any of my blog posts before you'll probably recognize that I'm from this school of thought where founders & investors need to be more aligned and I've been very cynical of historic VC practices.

 

 

2006年是我最后一次吸引风投资本。我拿到几个条款清单。很多是典型的对偏向投资者的条款,它们能够控制企业家,而且企业家却毫不知情,直到几年之后才会发现。这是之前的风投黑客,网上的条款没什么帮助。 最好的条款系列博文是BRAD FELD在他博客上写的。但这是我的第二个公司,我已经从之前的经历中,学到教训,不过也交了不少学费。

 

2006 was the last time I went out to raise venture capital.  I had multiple term sheets to do my Series A financing.  Many had the typical investor-friendly terms where entrepreneurs would get screwed and not even understand how they got screwed until many years later.  This was pre Venture Hacks so not a lot of help on terms on the Net.  The best series was done by Brad Feld on his blog here.   But it was my second company so I had already learned all o f the lessons the hard way.

 

曾有个创投给我一个对企业家有利的“香草”条款清单,这家创投就是TRUE VENTURES, 这也是我相信他们能吸引很多早期企业家的原因。他们说他们相信企业家和投资者的利益应该一致。我跟另外一个潜在投资者说,我准备接受TRUE的条款清单。他们马上同意也给我们和TURE一样的条款清单。我心里想,“你本来还想吃我一回,认为我对条款不了解,现在你却想要表现出友好?我在想那如果三年后,我们在另一个有异议的事情上发生争执了,你们会怎么样呢?”

There was one firm that offered me an entrepreneur friendly "vanilla" term sheet and that was True Ventures, which is why I believe they are attracting great early-stage entrepreneurs.  They said they believed in aligning investor and entrepreneur incentives.  I told another potential investor that I was accepting True's term sheet.  They immediately agreed to match True's terms.  I thought to myself, "OK, you were willing to F me when you thought I didn't understand these terms and now you're going to be friendly?  I wonder what will happen 3 years from now when we hit our next contentious issue?"

 

我相信有一些新型的VC出现,包括TRUE VENTURES, FOUNDER’S FUND、UNION SQUARE VENTURES、FOUNDRY GROUP等等,他们赞同创始人和投资人的利益应该一致。当然,我自己也是这一种类型。CHRIS的原博文里的条款中,有一个FRED或者BRAD没有提及的,就是创始人兑现。CHRIS写道,早期项目融资必须:

如果控制权改变,创始人应加速兑现。 我将在这边详细讨论。如果你的律师建议你不用考虑创始人兑现(最近有些人这样做),我建议你换个律师。

I believe that there is a new breed of VC emerging including True Ventures, Founder's Fund, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group and several others that have this founder / investor alignment ethos.  I have this mentality, too.

One very important item from Chris's original post that wasn't picked up by Fred or Brad is founder vesting.  Chris writes that early-stage deals should have:

Founder vesting w/ acceleration on change of control.  I talk about this in detail here.   If your lawyer tries to talk you out of founder vesting (as some seem to be doing lately), I suggest you get a new lawyer.

 

我完全同意。可惜的是,我在过去的18个月里,因为这个条款而失去了两笔投资。我认为企业家并不真正理解这个条款。我曾经有很长时间站在企业家的角度理解这个条款,我认为我会是这个条款的优秀仲裁者。我总结如下(不过请先阅读上面CHRIS的链接)

I totally agree.  Unfortunately I've lost two deals in the past 18 months over this issue.  I don't think that entrepreneurs properly understand the issue.  Having spent way more time on the entrepreneur side of the table I believe I am a good arbiter of the issue.  I sum it up here (but read Chris's link above)

 

我在你的公司投了几百万美元。我看中的就是你。我需要得到保证,你不会兑现大部分或全部的股份,拿着公司大部分的资金走人,这不仅勒索了我,也包括公司的员工。我不是SEQUOIA, 我并不想找一个新的队伍来代替你。如果你离开了,那我的投资基本泡汤了。

I'm putting millions of dollars in your company.  My thesis is YOU.   I need some protection that you're not fully or mostly vested where you could simply walk away with a large stake in the company, screwing not just me but the entire employee base of the company.  I'm not Sequoia.  I'm not looking to bring in a new team to replace you.  If you leave my thesis is largely out the door.

 

 

 

没有合理的兑现条款,其他联合创始人的离开对你也是个风险。在我的第一个公司,在种子期融资的时候,根本没有兑现条款。我们其中的一个联合创始人在第一年内就离开了,他带走公司股份的1/3.我当初“很傻很天真”。那时候我还不理解创始人兑现条款。

Without proper vesting you also place a risk on all other co-founders.  In my first company there was no vesting in the seed round.  One of  the co-founders walked within the first year.  He walked with 1/3rd of the company.  It was naive and stupid on my part.  I didn't understand the issue back then.

 

我相信应该保护创始人。而最常用的方法就是在控制权改变是加速兑现创始人股份。这意味着,如果你的公司被收购,你所有的股份都需要被兑现。一般这叫做“双板机”,你的公司被收购,同时你被请走。CHRIS描述了“单板机”情形。我经常会提出这个条款,因为我希望创始人得到保护。

I do believe in protecting the founder.  The most common way is to grant acceleration on change of control.  That means if the company is purchased all of your shares become fully vested.  Usually it is done as a "double trigger" meaning if your company is bought AND you're asked to leave the company.  Chris described the "single trigger" scenario.  I regularly bring this up with founders as I want them to be protected.

 

你也可以牢牢抓住一些权利,以防你被开处方后,你的部分或全部的股份得到保护。依我的经验来说,这个会引发双方的谈判。如果在控制权发生改变时,你拥有创始人兑现条款和保护,还有在你被开除后对你股份的保护,那么我们的利益就是一致的了。我得到保护,避免你一走了之。你得到保护,避免我把你请走或者把你公司卖掉拿走你的价值。

You can also cement rights for yourself in the case where you're fired without cause to protect some or all of your shares.  In my experience this issue is likely to be a source of negotiation.

If you have founder vesting and protection on change of control + protection against losing your shares of you're fired then we're completely aligned.  I'm protected against your walking (as are your co-founders protecting each other).  You're protected against my asking you to go or a company buying you and taking away your value.

 

两年前我曾试图和一家我准备投资的公司谈论创始人兑现条款。那次是A轮融资,当创始人已经兑现了75%的股份了。他们已经引进了新的CEO,该CEO也已经兑现66%的股份。他们最后从英国非正统的VC那里拿到钱。创始人兑现条款对他们来说只是个情绪上振奋人心的条款而已。如果市场变坏,他们没有实现目标,不规范的投资人决定不再跟进投资。那他们拥有的只是100%没有用的股份。

 

I tried to argue my views on vesting to a company I tried to invest in 2 years ago.  It was an A round deal but the founder was already 75% vested.  They had brought in a new CEO who was 66% vested.  They eventually took money from non-traditional VC based in the UK.  Founder vesting was one of the emotional hot buttons for them.  When the markets turned sour and they didn't hit their objectives the non-standard investor decided not to follow its investment.  They now own 100% of worthless stock.

 

 

我最近失去另外一笔投资,而兑现条款是其中的主要原因。所以我满脑子都在想如何使创始人和投资者的利益保持一致。我相信我上面描述的交易也许不公平,但它能保护所有人的利益。如果你有不同意见,请在评论里留言。

I more recently lost another deal where this was a major issue.  So I'm trying to reconcile it all in my head.  I believe the trade I described above is not only fair but protects everybody's interests.  If you feel differently, please weigh in with comments.

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