Tag Archives: y combinator

Initial Thoughts on the Y Combinator Angel Investor Documents

I wanted to give my initial thoughts on the Y Combinator Series AA Angel Investor Legal Documents that were officially released late last week. I plan to write a document-by-document breakdown in the coming week:

Term Sheet – August 29th
Stock Purchase Agreement – August 30th
Board Consent – August 31st
Stockholder Consent – September 1st
Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation – September 2nd
Investors’ Rights Agreement – September 3rd

But until then, the following are my general comments about the documents and are geared towards those readers thinking of using the Y Combinator documents on their own:

“Neutral” is all about perspective. Entrepreneurs are often worried about being taken to the cleaners by their investors. Thus neutral legal documents appeal to the startup entrepreneur. But in order for an entrepreneur to be taken to the cleaners by an investor, the investor or investor’s counsel must be sophisticated regarding these deals. That isn’t always the case. (I have experienced situations where both investor and investor’s counsel were unsophisticated about these types of financings…and no I don’t have their contact information for you.) So keep in mind that you could be giving away terms instead of getting better terms by using these documents.

Delaware corporation and not [Insert state and type of legal entity here]. There’s a reason why the documents have a Delaware corporation as the default entity. A Delaware corporation is really the only option if you want to do these types of financings and move on to venture capital. I have written a few posts about “Why Incorporate in Delaware?” and “Why a Corporation for Venture Capital?” explaining the subject. Of course, the Series AA documents aren’t for venture capital financings, but the underlying reasons for using a corporation exist in an angel round.

Read between the disclaimer’s (many) lines The lawyers at WSGR didn’t add the legal disclaimer at the top of each document just to run up Paul Graham’s legal bill. Sure, WSGR doesn’t want to get sued. But implied by WSGR not wanting to get sued is that people will take these documents and royally screw up.

And don’t think only those that do large amounts of editing to the sample documents will screw up. Legal documents must reflect the deal. You could be in a bad situation if you sell (or believe you have sold) your investor one thing and the documents reflect something different.

No legal document is dispute-proof. Don’t assume that you are immune from disputes because you used “neutral” document or “boilerplate” provisions. If I created a dispute-proof legal document, I’d be (a) the first lawyer in the history of the world to accomplish that, and therefore (b) be on my way to Boracay for a 12-month sabbatical.

And finally, I think you should take a look at this article at the Startup Company Lawyer. It is written by Yokum Taku, a partner at WSGR (the law firm that wrote the Y Combinator documents), and therefore he will have fantastic insight regarding these documents.

Next – The Y Combinator Term Sheet

Y Combinator Series AA Equity Financing Docs Back Up

Y Combinator and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati are happy to announce the Series AA Equity Financing Documents.

The Y Combinator documents are back up again–grab them while you can.

At first glance, it looks like they added a term sheet. And now each document comes with a fancy new header:

This [document] and all of the Series AA financing documents on this website have been prepared by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati for informational purposes only and do not constitute advertising, a solicitation, or legal advice. Transmission of such materials and information contained herein is not intended to create, and receipt thereof does not constitute formation of, an attorney-client relationship. Internet subscribers and online readers should not rely upon this information for any purpose without seeking legal advice from a licensed attorney in the reader’s state. The information contained in this website is provided only as general information and may or may not reflect the most current legal developments; accordingly, information on this website is not promised or guaranteed to be correct or complete. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all the contents of this website. Further, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati does not necessarily endorse, and is not responsible for, any third-party content that may be accessed through this website.

So don’t forget to delete the headers when you customize your legal documents…