Simple Agreement for Future Equity, a new form of funding for early-stage companies developed by Y Combinator to solve a number of issues with traditional convertible note funding.


Small Business Innovation Research grant program from the US government.


The United States Securities and Exchange Commission, charged with regulating all sales of corporate securities.

seed fund

A venture capital fund specializing in very early-stage startups.

seed round

When a number of investors provide capital to a new company with anywhere from $500,000 to $3 million. Investors are typically rewarded with convertible notes, equity, or a preferred stock option in exchange for their investment.


A customer communication platform for sending transactional and marketing email.

What is SendGrid?

serial entrepreneur

An entrepreneur who has previously founded and run one or more ventures.

Series A

When a number of angel investors or VCs contribute typically $2-10 million in exchange for equity. The fund is named after the type of equity investors hope to receive: Series A preferred shares. This implies they will be the first group of investors to receive preferred shares.

Series A crunch

A putative problem that occurs if more companies get early-stage funding from angels and seed funds than are eventually able to obtain later-stage funding from venture capital funds.

Series B, C, D…

Investment rounds from venture capital funds subsequent to the first Series A round.

series seed

Used generically to refer to a company’s first equity round from serious seed or angel investors following its friends & family round but prior to a Series A.

shareholders’ agreement

An agreement signed during a financing transaction by all of a company’s shareholders in which they agree in advance to various provisions. These will typically include indicating which parties are entitled to designate members of the board of directors and thus control the company.

social proof

An investment approach leaning heavily on the identity of other well-known people who are supporting the company.

social venture

A company established to create societal benefit through entrepreneurial methods.

soft landing

A face-saving acquisition of an unsuccessful startup, usually for little or no compensation.

strategic investor

A corporate investor funding an early-stage company primarily for reasons related to the investing company’s interest.

success fee

A percentage commission paid to an intermediary or other individual as an incentive on the closing of a large financing transaction.

sweat equity

The equity or ownership interest created in a startup by its founders as a result of their contributions in the form of hard work and toil.

Why Sweat Equity Often Stinks