Understanding how fundraising terms can affect early-stage startups – TechCrunch

by Joseph K. Clark

You’ve got a great idea and a strong founding team. So now what? When VCs come knocking, it’s essential to make sure you’re well-positioned to make deals. Fenwick & West partner (and business lawyer) Dawn Belt joined us at TechCrunch Early Stage to break down some of the terms that trip up first-time entrepreneurs.

Belt has been involved in several critical Silicon Valley moves, including EV company Proterra’s recent decision to go public via SPAC, as well as IPOs for Bill.com and Facebook. Here, she discusses critical concepts like equity and the right of first refusal and their role in the early stages of startup funding.

How financially savvy should founders be?


How important is it to have someone on the founding team with a deep knowledge of these financial guidelines when it comes to navigating early-stage deals?

I actually don’t think that’s really necessary. I believe that it’s nice to have, and it’s good to do this, but that’s not the company’s core competency. That’s actually a function. It’s pretty easy for you to outsource to somebody like me at the time when you need it and get the advice then. It’s more vital for you to be really focused on building a good business and then be open-minded and a good listener and learner. (Timestamp: 27:48)

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