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Series A round

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Series A round

A Series A round is the name typically given to a company's first significant round of venture funding in the Silicon Valley model of startup company formation.

The name refers to the class of preferred stock sold to investors in exchange for their investment. It is usually the first series of stock after the common stock and common stock options issued to company founders, employees, friends and family, angel investors, etc.

Description

Series A Preferred Stock is the first round of stock offered during the seed or early stage round by a portfolio company to the venture capitalist. Series A preferred stock is convertible into common stock in certain cases such as an IPO or the sale of the company.

Series A rounds are traditionally a critical stage in the funding of new companies. A typical Series A round is in the range of $2 million to $10 million, purchases 10% to 30% of the company, and is intended to capitalize the company for 6 months to 2 years as it develops its products, performs initial marketing and branding, hires its initial employees, and otherwise undertakes early stage business operations.

Because there are no public exchanges listing their securities, private companies meet venture capital firms and other private equity investors in several ways, including warm referrals from the investors' trusted sources and other business contacts; investor conferences and symposia; and summits where companies pitch directly to investor groups in face-to-face meetings.

Smaller investment amounts are not worth the legal and financial expense, the burden on a company of adjusting its capital structure to serve new investors, and the analysis and due diligence on the part of institutional investors. A company that needs money for operations but is not yet ready for venture capital will typically seek angel capital. Larger amounts are usually unwarranted given the cost of business in fields such as software, data services, telecommunications, and so on. However, there are routinely Series A rounds in excess of $10 million in fields such as pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, and real estate development.

Series A rounds arising in the United States venture capital community, particularly in Silicon Valley, are widely reported in business press, blogs, industry reports, and other media that cover the technology industry. There are many Series A rounds in other business contexts, underwritten by investment banks, corporate investors, angel investors, public agencies, and others, that do not often receive press coverage. They all share a similar legal and financial framework, but specific terminology, deal terms, and investment practices vary according to business customs within different countries, business sectors, investor communities, and geographical regions.

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