• Pradyumna Nag

Convertible Notes/ SAFE Notes Vs. CCPS or Equity - the hidden story

Convertible Note/ Safe Notes

I’ve been seeing many early-stage VCs / HNIs using convertible / SAFE notes financing.

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Should you be choosing them over Equity or CCPS?


SAFE came into vogue in late 2013 for 2 reasons:

> Reduce legal and administration costs

> Reduce back-and-forth on valuations


Here’s how they can go wrong:


SAFE instruments can often get abused and may end up abusing you later.

Multiple rounds with multiple caps can make the cap-table extremely messy and founders tend to lose track of their dilution.


How long will ‘kicking valuation down the road’ help?

Valuation events are healthy. Both discover what gives a business its value and align on the long term objectives.


SAFE is not great for everything.

SAFE notes are great for bridge rounds, but when used as a substitute to ‘venture financing’, they end up becoming dumb money.


Is there an alignment problem?

Investors want a low valuation.

Founders want a high valuation.

This non-alignment could mean reduced flexibility to scout/ wait for better deals.


Lead investors do add value.

A Lead is a pretty potent role. Validation. Diligence. Deliberations. Don't discount the value of that.


My advice:

👊 Be SAFE in moderation.


#cfo #supplychain


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