If you`re a startup founder or an investor looking to secure future equity stock, you may be considering a simple agreement for future equity (SAFE). This is a popular alternative to traditional equity financing, especially for early-stage companies. Let`s take a closer look at what a SAFE is and how it works.

What is a SAFE?

A SAFE is a legal agreement between a company and an investor that outlines the terms of a future equity investment. Essentially, an investor gives the company money now, and in exchange, they receive the right to convert that investment into shares of stock in the future, at a predetermined valuation.

The key feature of a SAFE is that it does not set a specific price per share of stock at the time of investment, unlike a traditional equity investment. Instead, it sets a valuation cap, which is the maximum price per share at which the investor will convert their investment into stock. This gives the investor the potential to benefit from the company`s future growth without being locked into a set price.

How does a SAFE work?

When an investor makes a SAFE investment, they receive a Future Equity agreement, which outlines the terms of the investment. The agreement typically includes the following components:

– Investment amount: The amount of money the investor is putting into the company

– Valuation cap: The maximum price per share at which the investor can convert their investment into stock

– Discount rate: If the company raises equity financing in the future, the investor may receive a discount on the price per share

– Conversion event: The event that triggers the conversion of the investment into stock (e.g. a future financing round or an exit event)

It`s important to note that a SAFE does not guarantee a return on investment. If the company fails to raise additional financing or has a lower valuation than anticipated at the time of conversion, the investor may not receive a return on their investment.

Advantages of a SAFE

For early-stage companies, a SAFE can be an attractive alternative to traditional equity financing for several reasons:

– Simplicity: A SAFE is typically much simpler and faster to execute than a traditional equity financing round.

– Flexibility: A SAFE allows companies to raise funds without setting a specific valuation, which can be challenging for early-stage companies that are still establishing their value.

– Investor-friendly: A SAFE can be more investor-friendly than traditional equity financing, as it gives investors the potential for greater returns without locking them into a set price per share.


A simple agreement for future equity stock can be a useful tool for early-stage companies looking to secure financing without committing to a specific valuation. However, it`s important to fully understand the terms of the agreement and the potential risks before moving forward. As with any legal agreement, it`s always wise to consult with a lawyer who specializes in startup financing.