Start-Up Entrepreneur Series: Convertible Debt

In the Start-Up Entrepreneur Series, I will be taking a deeper look into some of the most common questions early stage founders face in putting together and operating their new businesses.  

The Start-Up Entrepreneur Series will be published each Wednesday morning until conclusion. For more information, check out or drop Rick a line at

Unless your new start-up is fully capitalized by its Founders, one of the first questions a new company must ask itself is “How are we going to fund this thing?”.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking into different funding avenues available to the start-up entrepreneur, as well as at the various types of investors from which a company might pursue those funds.  And for more in-depth analysis of preferred equity financings in particular, be sure to check out our Financing Term Sheet Deep Dive Series.

Today, we’ll talk a bit about one of the most prevalent forms of early fundraising: “convertible debt”.

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Financing Term Sheet Deep Dive: Redemption Rights

Whether you’ve only recently decided to seek out capital for your business or you’ve already received (or made) your first offer, the term sheet (or “letter of intent”) is an integral part of the process.  

In this series we’ll look to shed some light on the legal language contained in that term sheet by taking a “deep dive” into the most often used terms and how choices made in selecting those terms can affect both Company and Investor.  Check out an overview here.

Financing Term Sheet Deep Dive will be published each Monday morning until conclusion. For more information, check out or drop Rick a line at


Earlier in this series when we initially discussed the concept of dividends, we equated the idea to that of lenders receiving interest payments on the “loan” they made to the company.  In that context, “Redemption Rights” are the rights held by a company’s investors to call that “loan”; to force the company to buy them out.

While redemption rights are rarely, if ever used by the Investors that hold them, like so many rights that we have discussed in this series (and will discuss in the future), they are important because they set the playing field for future discussions.

In other words, they establish leverage; the nature of which you can see indicated in the header image to this post.

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