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: Conversion

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


In our earlier discussions on the rights and privileges set out in a financing term sheet (including our discussions regarding voting rights, dividends, and liquidation preferences), we’ve noted that the phrase “on an as converted basis” or “as converted” has been used in the model terms to describe the full capitalization of the Company.

But what is this “conversion”?  How does it work?  And how does it affect the rights and privileges of the Investors and their securities?

The answer is fundamental to the nature of preferred equity offerings.

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