August 4, 2004

How to Negotiate a Term Sheet with a VC (Updated)

This is another in a series of postings that relate to Fred’s and Brad’s various postings about venture capital funding. (Please note I have added an 11th item in response to a comment by Jack Sinclair, Return Path’s VP of Finance and my partner in crime on all transactions for the past five years.) I think the most important part of the venture financing process is negotiating the term sheet. Although they’re only 2-3 pages long, term sheets contain summaries of all the critical aspects of a financing, and once they’re signed, the remainder of the financing process is significantly more “automatic.” Based on the financings I’ve seen and worked on – both as a VC and as an entrepreneur – my Top 10 (now 11) biggest takeaways for entrepreneurs are as follows (not in any particular order): 1. Get a good lawyer. I mean a really good one. Not just one who you are comfortable with and who is productive and doesn’t charge you too much (as Brad says, your wife’s brother’s friend’s neighbor), but one who knows venture financings like the back of his or her hand. They’re out there, many of them have worked on both sides […]