SAFE is a kind of warrant that gives investors the right to obtain shares of the company, usually preferred shares if and when there is a future valuation event (i.e. when the company collects “cheap” equity next year, is acquired or it files an IPO). Some issuers offer a new type of security as part of some crowdfunding offers they have called safe. The acronym means Simple Agreement for Future Equity. These securities are risky and very different from traditional common shares. As the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) states in a new investor newsletter, despite its name, a SAFE offer cannot be “simple” or “safe.” Engel`s experienced investors are skeptical about whether issuers want to offer generous enough discounts. Given the much greater risk seed-stage investors take compared to later investors, a 10% or 15% discount for investors of discerning angels may not seem much like a reward. Try 50%, which would represent a 2x jump in cf-round valuation to the liquidity event, reasonable enough if the time between events is unlimited. The exact conditions of a SAFE vary. However, the basic mechanics are that the investor makes available to the company a certain amount of financing at the time of signing. In return, the investor will later receive shares in the company in connection with specific contractual liquidity events.
The main trigger is usually the sale of preferred shares by the company, usually as part of a future fundraising cycle. Unlike direct equity acquisition, shares are not valued at the time of SAFE signing. Instead, investors and the company negotiate the mechanism with which future shares will be issued and defer actual valuation. These conditions generally include an entity valuation cap and/or a discount on the valuation of the shares at the time of triggering. In this way, the SAFE investor participates above the company between the signing of safe (and the financing provided) and the triggering event. Unlike the converted debt, there is no debt with a SAFE. There is also no maturity date, which means that investors have to wait indefinitely before they can get their hands on the equity they have purchased, if they do. Another new function of the safe concerns a “prorgula” right. The original safe required the company to allow holders of safes to participate in the financing round after the financing round in which the safe was converted (for example. B if the safe is converted into series group preferred actuators, a secure holder – now holder of a Series A preferred share subseries – is allowed to acquire a proportionate portion of the Series B preferred share). While this concept is consistent with the original concept of safe, it made no sense in a world where safes were becoming independent funding cycles.
Thus, the “old” pro-rata right is removed from the new safe, but we have a new model letter (optional) that offers the investor a proportional right in the preferential financing of Series A on the basis of the converted safe property of the investor, which is now much more transparent.