5 Tips on Negotiating an Investment Deal

Tim Berry

1 min. read

Updated May 25, 2023

Last night I listened to attorney Karen McKercher presenting tips for negotiating an investment deal to a group of angel investors (the Willamette Angel Conference members). I think her list of five points is good reading for both sides of the table, both startup founders and angel investors. Here’s a summary (points are Karen’s, and the explanations are my summary):

Balanced interest

If a deal isn’t good for both sides, it isn’t a good deal. An investment begins a deep mutual relationship. Both sides have to have shared goals, common objectives.

Industry experience

The deal lead should have specific industry experience. Deal lead in this context refers to the one angel investor who leads the negotiation for the group of angel investors.

Use an experienced lawyer. She means experience in the specifics of negotiating investment deals between investors and entrepreneurs.

Avoid over-negotiating

Don’t over-negotiate. It happens a lot; people focus too hard on the negotiation process and end up spending too much time and money because of too much focus on relatively unimportant details.

Observe behavior

Observe behavior. The negotiating is about creating a long-term business partnership between investors and entrepreneurs. There are things people can do that indicate the long term isn’t going to work out. Do you want to do business with these people? It’s a question both sides should be asking. Negotiations can reveal a lot about the way people approach business and, for that matter, life.

Entrepreneurs: keep this list in mind as you negotiate with investors. It will help you understand what they are thinking.

Content Author: Tim Berry

Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software , a co-founder of Borland International, and a recognized expert in business planning. He has an MBA from Stanford and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame. Today, Tim dedicates most of his time to blogging, teaching and evangelizing for business planning.