Many founders want to do SAFE note financings for their early rounds to save time and money.
My response to that is “let’s do a priced round, we can use a standard financing form we both like, we won’t use a lawyer on our side, and we can close in a week.”
The key to being able to do that is the availability of standard financing forms. Many venture law firms and also the NVCA have published standard forms on the web.
Here are Cooley’s forms.
Here are Orrick’s forms.
Here are the Series Seed forms created by Fenwick.
Here are the NVCA forms.
Here is Gunderson’s document library.
I am not suggesting the founder go without a lawyer. I am suggesting that the founder and their lawyer pick a “standard form” to use to do the equity round, send it to us for our review, and if we are comfortable with it (they are all pretty much the same), then we will agree to sign it without negotiation and close within a week.
Typically the only thing we all have to agree on is what the cap table will look like before and after the financing so that the correct numbers are put into the documents. Everything else is pretty standard anyway.
There is this narrative that equity rounds are expensive and take a long time and that SAFE notes are quick and inexpensive. That is not right. We can do priced rounds as quickly and inexpensively as SAFE notes. And we do that regularly.