Typically, what percentage of the company is sold during each round of funding


Typically, what percentage of the company is sold during each round of funding: angel investment or seed round, and A, B, and C venture capital rounds. The goal, I suppose, is the hold enough back at each round so that at the next round someone will still be willing to invest in the amount that's left over.

Plenty of commentary concerning what is best and why would be appreciated.

Venture Capital Investment Seed Funding

asked Nov 17 '10 at 16:09
John Berryman
388 points
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4 Answers


In startups there is no "typical". Only you can analyze your need and determine what you can afford to divide up. Also what kind of partner do you seek? A financial only VC or someone to build that business along side of you. By rule of thumb the money side wants it all AND control of day to day, but it is a negotiation process.

I believe you may want to sit down and pin down some ambiguous issues to help course your growth and what you really hope to gain from the business. is it a lifetime of income? A middle exit? These issues need to align with whoever you "partner" up with to avoid disasters down the line. Think of it as a marriage..easy to get in but not so much if one needs to get out...
Be well

answered Nov 18 '10 at 01:04
Xs Direct
275 points


You should think about is in terms of 3 variables:

  1. How much money will your company have to raise before you ultimately exit (sell your shares)?
  2. When do you anticipate raising rounds of financing? How much money will the company have to raise from these rounds and what inflection points will you try to link these financings to?
  3. How much of your company will you be willing to sell to complete each of these financings. Alternatively, you might ask yourself; how much of the company you think you should still own when you cross the finish line?

Naturally, there are a wide range of precedents so it is hard to derive a formula for this. Ultimately the stronger the performance of you and your company, the less capital you raise and the better you time your financings; the greater the stake you will retain in your company.

answered Feb 21 '11 at 05:02
871 points


John, I'm not sure, but it could sound as if you have the problem understood backwards. Capital investment is an additive process, you print new shares to the new investors.

There are no typical percentages. There could be some typical percentage ranges, but IMHO it is misleading to think in those terms -- it is better to think in terms of pre- and post-money valuation.

Pre-money valuation is really the important part. It depends on lots of things, typically:

  • Gut feeling of how formidable the entrepreneurs are, what the size of the potential market is, how solid barriers to entry the company will be able to erect.
  • Proven tracktion (proven end user demand), exisiting sales.
  • Reduction of technology risk (going from Powerpoint slides to working prototype to working at scale).
  • What other companies at a similar stage have been valued at lately.

Here is a classic e-book which kind of outlines typical business angel thinking on early stage valuations.

answered Nov 18 '10 at 12:42
Jesper Mortensen
15,292 points


Particularly at later stages of financing (when a company is mature, generating significant revenues, and maybe on a clear 1-2 year path to an IPO), the structure of a security can help you manage dilution from a share issuance. Complex structures can allow investors to pay a higher nominal price (i.e. own a small %) in order to trade for: (i) managing the risk of returning less than their invested capital (ii) more predictability in returning a minimum amount of cash. Some rights/preferences that can achieve these goals include: liquidation preferences, dividends & redemption rights.

Although Zippy's framework is helpful, it can be ineffecient, or worse, dangerous if you (mis)interpret his rational as calculating the minimum amount of capital to raise. Reasonably overcapitalizing a business can help you extend your lead in tough times when your competition is capital constrained, help you sleep better at night while you experiment (and fail) with your startup, and avoid being in a very weak negotiating position if/when you reach out for more funds.

answered Feb 27 '11 at 00:19
431 points

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