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Valuing the Founders Equity
The Basics: What is founders equity? As the name implies, founders equity (also known as founders equity life) is the balance between equity capital and preferred stock capital that a company must carry at any time. There are two types: senior preferred and common. Usually, when referring to the latter, we are referring to the senior version. 
There are many ways that companies establish founders equity. One of the most common ways is to issue a warrant. A warrant represents a future financial commitment to the company by an investor that is publicly listed. In start ups , the investor receives shares of the company's stock as a bonus. A warrant generally has a term of five years or more. 
Some companies issue convertible preferred stock (e.g., from a Series A investment into their startup) for the purpose of raising capital. Convertible preferred stock represents a percentage of the total founders equity. It can also represent a percentage of the company's outstanding stock. However, convertible preferred stock usually have a term of 90 days or less before it becomes exercisable. 
The Two Types of founders equity: A startup must choose one of two forms of founders equity: either fixed or time-based. Fixed founders equity is designed to provide security during the initial period of the company's development. At any time during this period, the company can receive payment in the form of a dividend or capital stock holders' equity if there are enough investors. start ups -based equity is designed to pay dividends annually or semi-annually in the case of a startup with limited liability. 
There are a few different ways to design the distribution of founders equity. Generally, a company will issue an equity certificate to all equity holders. However, some companies choose to institute a one-time distribution rather than a fixed distribution. This option is particularly popular for startups that intend to use the equity as their mode of payment for operating expenses and other purposes while they are growing the business. 
One of the most common forms of founders equity ownership is called common stock. Companies may issue common stock through a company's Board of Directors or by a third-party investor. In a dual-class capital stock scheme, a company issues one class of common stock and owns the other, which makes it represented by two different classes of shares. Dual-class capital stock normally follows a dilution clause. This means that half of a share will be owned by the founder and the other half by a co-owner or another investor. 
In order to determine the amount of founders equity to be issued in a preferred or common stock program, the value of the business must be estimated. This includes the value of the tangible assets owned by the company. The value of these assets is based on current market prices. If a startup has expensive equipment or supplies that depreciate in value, the value of these items must be determined in order to determine the appropriate funding amount. A third party should be consulted if the company requires financing beyond what is necessary to keep its business operational. 
Investors do not like situations where a company is under-funded and therefore offers a low return. Therefore, when a company is offered a low return on its investment, investors will attempt to force the company into a sale in order to receive their return. If the company is able to maintain its market share despite the low investment, then the founders equity will usually not be forced into a sale. The company will still have a long term positive cash flow and can continue to fund the operations of the business. Nevertheless, if the company is sold for too low a price, then some investors will be negatively impacted. This is why it is important for startups to think carefully about how much they are willing to pay for a founders share, and how much they are willing to pay for unvested shares.


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