In these unprecedented times, entrepreneurs need all the help they can get. BetaKit has teamed up with Microsoft for Startups on a new series called Just One Thing, where startup founders and tech leaders share the ‘one thing’ they want the next generation of entrepreneurs to learn.
Erin Bury has had many roles in her tech career (including being the first managing editor of BetaKit), but it wasn’t until she became the CEO of Willful that she dug into the realities of a startup’s cap table.
“100 percent of zero is zero.”
– Erin Bury, Willful CEO
The one lesson she wants to impart on first-time founders? “Understand the value of your cap table, understand how that will change over time, and be very cognizant of what you’re giving away when you give away even one share in your company.”
Bury was first taught the value of understanding your cap table inside and out after entering Willful into FounderFuel‘s accelerator program in 2019. For founders unable to take advantage of the program due to the current requirements of self-isolation, Bury has the perfect backup: the book Venture Deals by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson.
As a journalist with BetaKit, Bury learned that most founders only retain a 7 percent ownership stake in their company at exit. Her recommendation to founders is to create an intentional strategy towards equity and fundraising, which is a requirement for most high-growth startups.
As Bury says in the video below, 7 percent might not seem like a lot, but “100 percent of zero is zero. It’s necessary to give equity away to get your company to the next level.”