After former Pizza Online CEO Erik Byrenius exited his online delivery company to Delivery Hero, he had some time on his hands and decided to become an angel investor. “When I was about to do my first investment I started asking around what was normal [in a term sheet]. No one could really answer,” he says.
What he found was that investors bring in their own investment template, written up with their lawyer, while Swedish entrepreneurs used documents they’ve received from a friend or built bespoke with a lawyer themselves. These two parties would start out with their extreme versions and negotiate them together, which costs time, lawyer hours, and as Byrenius points out, you might lose trust in each other through the negotiating process.
In a quest to figure out what was normal in the Swedish market, he started talking to entrepreneurs and investors about building a set of standardized startup documents to use as a balanced starting point for discussions. And launching today he’s put together StartupDocs.se Term Sheet and Subscription & Shareholders agreement to give you everything that you need for your seed round.
Of course, having these documents doesn’t just let you plug in your name and sign away. There are some paragraphs that will always be discussed, like vesting or the investors’ protected provisions that deserve a word or two, but starting from a balanced point of view will make things easier to move forward, and saving entrepreneurs some time and money.
There are similar initiatives out there which prove the viability the concept. In the United States you can find SeriesSeed.com, which was the basis for SeriesSeed.fi, launched in 2011 for the Finnish startup ecosystem.
But going beyond both versions of SeriesSeed, Startupdocs.se has put together the “Ultimate Guide to Stock Options”, which challenges the notion in Sweden that stock options are too complicated and expensive to set up under Swedish law. With the guide and corresponding documents ready to entrepreneurs, we might actually see it more commonplace for Swedish companies to put together equity based incentive schemes.
There’s no business model behind these documents and due to the closed-door nature of these agreements it will be difficult to judge their impact. But it’s good for the Swedish startup ecosystem that there is a good starting point for getting a fair legal structure for your seed investment, but also that Swedes have an open framework for putting in place a long term incentive plan for their employees.