500 Startups created this super useful, set of legal documents for founders and investors affectionately called the KISS (“Keep It Simple Security”). The KISS docs are designed to save founders & investors time and money. They’re free legal docs you can use to raise money quickly & easily, hopefully without getting into trouble.
Over the past few years, convertible notes have become one of the most popular ways to structure seed stage financings. Although some VCs and investors may not always like using convertible notes, they are nonetheless an extremely common and frequent form of legal structure in the US and particularly in Silicon Valley. Because convertible notes are generally simpler and less expensive than doing a more formal priced round, many founders and investors use them to “bridge” a company until it gets to larger, more traditional financing.
If done right, convertible notes are a simple and efficient means to close a round of financing because they contain limited rights and defer some of the more complicated negotiations until the (larger) priced round. However, convertible note financings have grown increasingly more complicated recently as companies push for complex conversion scenarios and an abundance of features. This complexity increases legal costs (for companies and investors) and extends the time it takes to close a deal.
To keep convertible equity financings quick and simple, 500 Startups has created theKISSlegal docs. The KISS docs are short and sweet “open source” documents drafted after multiple discussions with a number of Silicon Valley law firms and early-stage investors. They are designed to be flexible without being overly customizable, simplewhile still including all of the necessary features, and balanced from both a company and investor standpoint.