When seeking equity funding—whether through venture capital, angel investors or even family and friends—proper documentation is essential, as it provides transparency and protects both the company and the investor from any last-minute changes. They also work to minimize disagreements by ensuring that the understandings of both parties are properly set forth.
There are several documents, both legal and financial, used throughout the equity-financing process. The legal documents below are for example purposes only, and we highly recommend obtaining independent counsel from a qualified attorney before implementation. The financial templates, however, can easily be used once relevant financial figures are inserted.
Each funding scenario is unique, but these templates will get you off to a good start and help familiarize you with terminology and concepts you’ll likely encounter throughout the financing process. The rest is up to you.
A business plan is a strategic document that communicates business goals and how they will be achieved. It’s often used to obtain investor funding and establish three- to five-year goals for a business.
You can customize important sections, such as the executive summary, market analysis, investment analysis, business operations, marketing strategy and more. A business plan is considered a “living document,” so it should be updated as your business evolves in order to provide internal and external guidance.
Click here or the link below to download a free business plan template.
Business Pitch Deck
Considered a modern version of the traditional business plan, a pitch deck is a concise presentation that briefly describes your business to potential investors. The goal of the pitch is to clearly communicate your company’s value proposition and the customer problems it seeks to address and resolve.
Decks should be as short as possible, ideally less than 10 minutes, to ensure your audience remains attentive and engaged. Rather than reading off the slides verbatim, use the deck for supporting visual content, such as graphs, charts and key buzzwords, and develop a verbal pitch that supports the visuals. Ensure your audience isn’t bored by describing the ups and downs your business has experienced and the market traction you plan to build upon.
For a free pitch deck, click here or the link below.
Often portrayed as a “snapshot of a company’s financial condition,” a balance sheet is a basic financial statement that measures a company’s assets, liabilities and ownership equity.
A company’s assets, such as physical property and intellectual property, give investors an idea of how much a company owns. On the other hand, liabilities, such as payroll and debt, specify how much a company owes. Lastly, ownership equity indicates the amount invested by shareholders and the company’s retained earnings.
Potential investors may ask to see an updated balance sheet to get a glimpse of your company’s financial condition, so it’s a good idea to have one handy.
The template provided contains step-by-step instructions on important cells that will guide you through the process of creating your own balance sheet. Additionally, “Sheet 2” of the template provides a filled-out example for your convenience.
Click here or the link below for your free template.
A capitalization table is a record of all the shareholders of a company, along with their respective ownership percentages. It also outlines all of the securities issued by a company to investors throughout different investment stages (i.e. series or common/preferred shares and options/incentives), as well as the various prices paid for those securities.
This table specifies ownership shares on a fully diluted basis—if all convertible notes and stock options are exercised—therefore enabling a company’s ownership structure to be easily ascertained.
This template contains instructions with an example on “Sheet 2.” For your free template, click here or the button below.
Convertible Promissory Note
Convertible notes are an increasingly popular funding option that start out as debt but could get converted into equity upon the occurrence of a specific event. The parties specify when and how the debt will get converted into equity. Typically, debt gets automatically converted into equity either on a future date or upon qualified financing.
Convertible notes are advantageous for both parties since they offer downside protection and are cheaper than typical equity financing.
Click here or the link below to download a free convertible promissory note template.
Corporate Director Agreement
If you bring on an angel investor, it’s possible the investor will demand a seat on your company’s board of directors to protect their investment. This corporate director agreement is between a corporation and a duly-elected director that specifies the director’s duties, corporate meeting requirements and compensation, if any. This particular agreement also contains a non-disclosure clause and ensures the director doesn’t have conflicting obligations.
Click here or the link below for your free corporate director agreement.
If your company is a corporation, you are required to hold annual shareholders meetings and periodic directors meetings. Throughout equity financing, directors and shareholders meetings must be held to approve investors, issue new stock and, if applicable, appoint new directors. In addition to holding meetings, you must also keep accurate records of meetings, which are called “minutes.”
This template specifies who was present at the meeting, who wasn’t present at the meeting, the issues decided, the outstanding issues and more. Click here or the link below for a free template.
Discounted Cash Flow Projection
A popular valuation method, a discounted cash flow projection (DCF) can be used to establish a monetary value for your business during different stages of the equity-financing process. DCF estimates how investment funds will affect your future cash flows while discounting the time value of money.
This particular template includes two projections, one over a five-year span and the other over a 10-year span. Instructions are included on important cells, and there’s a filled-out example on “Sheet 3” of the template. Click here or below for a free DCF template.
Share Subscription Agreement
This agreement is between a company and an investor, whereby the company promises to sell a specific number of shares to the investor at a certain price.
Typically, this agreement should be used once a company and investor have fully agreed upon financing terms to memorialize the understanding. A written agreement protects both parties by establishing important terms and minimizing last-minute misunderstandings.
Click here or below for a share subscription agreement template.
A term sheet is an important document that a company seeking financing provides to potential investors.
Generally non-binding, a term sheet specifies the amount of financing sought, price per share, voting rights, redemption rights, closing details and more. Additionally, this document specifies the total number of directors that investors will be entitled to elect to the company’s board.
Click here or the link below for a free term sheet template.
Also called a profit and loss statement, an income statement is one of three basic financial statements. It simply measures all of a company’s profits from all sources while deducting all of its losses during the same period of time.
Comparing profitability to a prior period of time is vital since it helps investors determine whether a company’s profits have increased. This can be an important tool in making informed business decisions to free up cash flow and ensure profitability.
To download a free income statement, click here or the link below.
Cash Flow Statement
A cash flow statement measures the amount of cash a company generates and spends during a specific period of time. Since it helps investors determine how much revenue a company is generating, where it’s coming from and how it’s being spent, the cash flow statement is considered one of the big three financial statements.
It’s important to understand the key cash drivers for your company’s operations, which will help you make informed decisions on where to grow. This particular template is intended to help you outline those drivers and compare the current time period to the prior time period in detail.
For a free cash flow statement, click here or the link below.
These documents will help protect the interests of you, other co-founders and investors. For more help on compliance, see our articles on how to stay compliant when onboarding investors and the five legal pitfalls new businesses need to avoid.
If you’re ready to go after investors, download our free e-book, The Complete Guide to Equity Financing, which offers tips on how to pitch to different types of investors, including angel investors, venture capital firms, private equity and more.
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