So, you got a series round funding! For some entrepreneurs, raising a funding round might seem like the time to kick back, relax, and enjoy your success. But actually, raising capital is just the beginning of a long journey. Once you sign a term sheet, your list of responsibilities grows, and there are a lot of things to think about like founder equity, exit valuation, equity split, and business plans just to name a few. This post-startup financing checklist will walk you through them.
Just remember, you aren’t alone. A lot of the things entrepreneurs need to take care of post-startup funding involve finding the right experts to help you through all of the things that you simply aren’t an expert on. Read on to learn more about what you need to do once you’ve secured funding.
Post-startup funding checklist
There is a number of specific information to consider when looking for a bank for your business. Look for one that is interested in helping grow small businesses. Try to find out how their customer service is. Determine whether the bank you’re considering would be helpful with strategic choices such as planning automatic payments according to cash flow and whether they’re willing to discuss growth plans. Your bank should also have reasonable fees and offer a good online user experience.
DocSend’s post-startup financing bank pick:
Silicon Valley Bank
Startup corporate credit card
When choosing a corporate credit card post-startup funding, much like with a personal credit card you should think about which card might be best based on what you’re using it for the most. Understand any potential perks or benefits you get with the card and whether they’re applicable to your business, such as travel rewards, insurance, foreign transaction fees, cash advance fees, and any applicable interest rates. Consider cards meant for startups that don’t require a personal guarantee.
Post-startup funding 409a valuation and cap table management
409a valuations are used by the IRS to set the tax basis for stock option grants. There typically aren’t many company metrics to refer to for early financings, so 409a valuations at this stage typically involve comparables, complex calculations, and evaluating the firm’s intuition. It’s important to find a firm that has a good reputation and that is easy to work with, and responsive, because you must get this valuation done before you distribute any stock grants.
Cap tables are another potentially complicated and time-consuming thing to manage. If you’re hiring more people, and especially if you’re offering stock options to new hires, it’s a good idea to implement cap table management software in order to keep them organized and accurate. It’s also just one less thing you need to stress over getting right.
DocSend’s post-startup funding 409a valuation and cap table management pick:
Scalar (409a), Shareworks (409a and cap tables)
Bookkeeping and tax services
Keeping proper financial records is important for things like filing taxes and providing statements to investors, landlords, and business partners, but also to save yourself time and money. By setting up a good system at the beginning, you’ll save yourself from cleaning up a bunch of messy records. So use a bookkeeping service that does it all for you. Pilot, for example, specializes in bookkeeping and tax prep for high-growth technology startups. When you work with Pilot, you’re paired with a dedicated finance expert who takes the work off your plate and is available to answer your questions so you can focus on your business.
DocSend’s post-startup funds bookkeeping and tax service pick:
Look for payroll software that is suited to the needs of a startup. Some services are particularly helpful to small businesses when it comes to staying on top of new regulations that may impact them. Go for something that has an easily usable and pleasant interface, because your employees will use it as well. Good payroll software will make the process simple for all parties.
DocSend’s post-startup funding team payroll software pick:
You should choose a benefits platform that has great customer support for both you and your employees. Choose something that has a good user interface and that minimizes necessary management on your part. Look for a provider that offers strong support for benefits compliance. Consider everything that you’d like to offer employees first, and make sure the platform you choose makes it simple and easy to do that — because that’s what you’re paying for.
DocSend’s post-startup funding benefits software pick:
This is one area you really should not skimp on. While it is an investment, taking care of your team should be a given, and it will be your healthcare plan too! When choosing a coverage tier, try to go for the highest one you can without too much compromise. You don’t want to break the bank, but you want to attract quality hires and make sure they’re taken care of. As far as plan types, generally, PPOs and EPOs are the most popular options. They don’t require patients to visit their primary care providers before seeing specialists like HMOs do. If you’re able to, consider your team’s preferences in healthcare providers to point you in the right direction.
Quickbooks online is the industry standard for accountants and has useful integrations with other providers. While it is the dominant bookkeeping system of record, it still won’t complete your monthly books for you. Using QuickBooks with a service like Pilot, as mentioned above, will give you your won financial expert and the most accurate financial reports possible. Their expert team is assisted by powerful software that integrates with QuickBooks Online.
DocSend’s post-startup funding accounting software pick:
Expense reporting software
Using an expense reporting software is so much easier than using a spreadsheet. Many tools allow you to customize your expense policies, including how and when your employees get reimbursed. Choose something that is inexpensive and flexible in terms of customization and options — and note that there are some tools that are really easy to integrate with QuickBooks Online.
DocSend’s post-startup investor expense reporting software pick:
Unless you have large numbers of invoices you’re generating, you may be able to hold off on a tool for this. But when you fo need an automated bill payment software, Bill.com is a good one that significantly improves the accounts payable process.
DocSend’s post-startup funding bill payment software pick:
Startup company insurance
Put a little more thought into the type and amount of coverage you’re choosing than the insurance provider itself. Starting out, consider the following types of coverage:
- Directors and officers liability insurance: This type of coverage is meant to protect directors and officers in the case of litigation, and sometimes this is actually required as part of your financing.
- It’s a little known fact that company directors and officers can be personally sued for company dealings—and it’s not cheap.
- Business owners insurance: This is standard and it will cover your business and your stuff — pretty simple.
- Workers’ compensation: This is also standard and doesn’t cost much.
DocSend’s post-startup funding company insurance picks:
Scottsdale and The Hartford
Investor updates and board management software
After raising money, your investors will undoubtedly want to know how you’re doing. It’s important to have a way to securely and professionally share documents with your startup’s investors and your board, so find a software that gives you an edge. DocSend allows you to update any document in real time whenever you need to. You can also see which recipients actually look at your updates and pre-meeting board packets, so you have a good idea of who knows what going in — and you can nudge people who haven’t seen it. Also, knowing which investors don’t look at updates is a great signal — it lets you anticipate who will be helpful and who you should let into future rounds.
Office space broker
Using an office space broker can be to your benefit, because it’s their job to know more about the office space landscape in your particular area. This will open up your options in terms of being connected to office spaces, leases, and landlords that are a good match for your unique situation. While you will pay a commission, you’ll also likely save yourself a lot of time, money and headaches when using a broker.
DocSend’s post-startup funding office space broker pick:
Hopefully you obtained legal counsel before your fundraising, because you should not negotiate your financing documents on your own post-startup funding. After closing, it’s a good time to think about how your law firm performed during this process, as it may be time to consider switching firms. If you only need one-off help for things like Terms of Service changes, you can use a less expensive service like UpCounsel. But for bigger, more important things like financings, pay a firm that has done it before and has the right connections.
When looking for an office space, be realistic about the stage of your startup. Some startups end up working out of founders’ apartments for a surprisingly long time. When you’re ready to find a working space, decide whether you want a co-working space or your own office space. Co-working spaces are nice because they allow for collaboration and networking and they typically are well stocked with snacks and drinks. But, they can really be distracting. If you’re looking for a quiet place where your team can just work away, it may be better to find your own office space. As far as square footage, a good rule of thumb is to aim for 100-200 square feet of usable working space per employee. Make sure to account for the length of your lease and how much you expect to grow within that time period.