It’s never too early in the process of building a company to start managing your capitalization table (otherwise known as a cap table). As a detailed document recording all information regarding shareholders and the equity owned in the company, a well-managed cap table will become essential to long term success. Even if you’re thinking that your company does not need to keep such detailed records early on, understanding its importance may change your mind.
At first, keeping track of equity might be a simple task. In the early stages, perhaps equity had only been distributed amongst cofounders. However, as the company grows, equity might be given out to key team members and employees, which all needs to be recorded accurately. Without numbers correctly recorded, it will likely be hard to know exactly how much equity is remaining for the future. Also, with proper recording, it will allow founders to easily determine how certain deals may affect the equity distribution of the company.
For potential investors, the cap table will be a key resource. Before investing in a company, investors will want to become familiar with current shareholders and the equity that each one possesses. The transparency a well-managed cap table allows will help avoid delays and increase investor confidence. During rounds of funding, the founder should also be concerned with how awarding investors with equity will affect their ownership in their company. For both parties during investor negotiations, the cap table will be essential.
Once the company has received investments from investors, managing shareholders will also become an important task, which can be done in the cap table. The cap table will typically include investor information, such as who they are, their voting rights, and the number of shares that they own. With this information in one centralized place, if voting was to take place, the cap table ensures that all investors would be included as necessary.
One major benefit of starting to manage a cap table as soon as possible is that it will save time and resources in the long run. As the company begins to seek funding, the cap table would be already prepared and up to date. If the company did not already begin to keep records in their cap table, they would need to go back and create one, which could increase the chances for errors since it could be possible for them to have lost documents or records that they would need.
So what is the best way to manage your company’s cap table? Even though you can make a simple spreadsheet in Excel, using software such as KoreConX’s all-in-one platform might be more beneficial for long-term success. As deals occur, the cap table is automatically updated, eliminating errors that could result from manual changes. The platform also provides investors with the transparency they need to feel confident in their investments. Companies will benefit immensely from the increased transaction speeds and expedited due diligence that results from a properly managed cap table.