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Traditionally, the management and investors of venture-backed companies would begin considering an exit for the company—an IPO or acquisition—as it entered the growth phase. Today, however, more and more companies (particularly in the tech sector) are opting to stay private longer. Without from these traditional sources, companies are increasingly seeking alternative forms of for the founders, early investors and employees.

You might know it as a or a term sheet. Maybe you’ve heard it referred to as an MOU, or memorandum of understanding. Whatever you call it, this document of about five pages is a summary of the terms of a deal the parties hope to close down the line.

Once again proving that you can’t judge a gift by its box, emerging growth companies (EGCs) received a pleasant, but oddly wrapped, surprise in December with the enactment of a new law authorizing spending on highway and transit projects. Although adopted with less fanfare than the , the new FAST Act (that’s short for Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act) amended the to further streamline the IPO process for EGCs.

As a founder, you need to be scrappy, take care of that bottom-line. We get that, we’re all for a DIY approach when it makes sense (psst we even help you do that through our very free document generator). But, there is a fine line. There comes a time where you need to rope in the legal pros—a lawyer’s experience and knowledge that comes from hours and hours of advising startups, doing deals and even cleaning up DIY-that-went-wrong is your best bet for the long-term.

You always believed your startup would be a success. Now others are realizing it too, and you’re fielding offers for an acquisition of your company. Before you ink any agreements, protect your company, your employees and yourself by avoiding these five common mistakes.

Tags: exit, founders
Assume you have been working on your startup for a year now, have raised one round of funding, and an acquisition offer of $20 million comes your way. As a founder and the majority shareholder, you will see most of this $20 million, right? Right? In truth, maybe you will and maybe you won’t.