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.” Although the safe may not be suitable for all financing situations, conditions must be balanced with the interests of the start-up and investors in mind. As with the original safe, there are always trade-offs between simplicity and completeness, so that while not all Edge cases are addressed, we believe that the safe covers the most relevant and common issues. Both parties are encouraged to have their lawyers` safes checked if they wish, but we believe it provides a starting point that can be used in most situations without change. We believe in our first-hand experience, seeing and helping hundreds of companies raise funds each year, as well as the thoughtful feedback we received from founders, investors, lawyers and accountants with whom we shared the first designs of the post-money safe. 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. A “SAFE” is an agreement between an investor and an entity that grants the investor rights to the company`s future equity, which are similar to a share warrant, unless a certain price per share is set at the time of the initial investment. The SAFE investor receives future shares in the event of an investment price cycle or liquidity event.