The following are recommend resources for various template contract structures to use (with experienced startup/vc counsel) in friends & family, pre-seed, or seed rounds. As counsel to elite VC-backed companies at Optimal, we use these as starting points for simplifying negotiation. They’ve been used hundreds of times, and will be familiar to experienced ECVC counsel.
The beauty of taking an “open source” approach to contract templates is that you don’t need centralized agreement on “standard language.” All it takes is for specialized firms to get experience with a template a few times, and institutional knowledge/efficiency in redlining builds from there. Clients get efficiency from well-understood baseline contract language (code), while they’re still able to flexibly edit and negotiate with their counsel and investors for their unique context.
Friends and Family (Accredited Only) or Founder Funding
- Related Reading: A Convertible Note Template for Seed Rounds
- Related Reading: A Post-Money Convertible Note Template
PRE-MONEY (more company friendly) Template (old download from YC’s website)
- Why startups shouldn’t use YC’s post-money SAFE
- Fixing Convertible Note and SAFE Economics in Seed Rounds
Seed Equity (simplified Series Seed)
Additional Reading: Myths and Lies about Seed Equity
NVCA Equity (full Series A-style docs)
Additional Reading: Startup Term Sheets