Dilution: The good, the bad and the ugly

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Bernard Moon Contributor Bernard Moon is co-founder and partner at SparkLabs Group, a network of accelerators and venture capital funds. More posts by this contributor Fintech is playing the long game What’s trending in the IoT space

Since 2013, SparkLabs Group has invested in more than 230 companies, and my general advice to our founders and portfolio companies hasn’t changed: I always tell them not to overthink valuation, know what they need in terms of capital for their seed round and how there is “good dilution” and “bad dilution.” Whether your dilution ends up being good or bad (or ugly) generally depends on how well you execute.

To solidify my advice, I sometimes go through the math of possible seed rounds and how future rounds can play out. To keep the discussion simple and focus on my core points, I keep the amount of investment the same and assume the company is starting with a 20% stock option pool, which venture capital firms typically require by a startup’s Series A round.

Three scenarios

I map out three valuations, representing a standard Silicon Valley startup with a pre-money valuation of $5

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