SAFE Agreement Cost

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What does a SAFE agreement cost? If you own a start-up company and seek capital for your new business, you may ask this question. Let’s explore this question and review some general information about SAFE agreements and how they work.

How Much Does a SAFE Agreement Cost?

A SAFE agreement, an abbreviation for “simple agreement for future equity,” is a legally binding contract in which an investor makes a cash payment to a company in return for the right to turn the amount invested into stock in the company if a predetermined trigger event occurs.

SAFE agreements are not traditional loans and are considered more of a contract than a loan. Therefore, unlike a convertible note that abides by maturity dates and interest rates, a SAFE agreement often does not have these features.

This note is very popular with new startup companies that need to secure investors. Still, due to their age, there needs to be more financial data to assign value to the company.

When using a SAFE agreement, a company can postpone the valuation until a later date when more data is available. In addition, SAFE agreements are more straightforward than other funding options. They protect startup companies and investors by covering potential future events like changes in control, company dissolution, and bankruptcy.

Startup companies understand the importance of SAFE agreements, so it is common for these businesses to hire an attorney to draft the SAFE agreement to ensure they are written correctly and include all necessary information.

Based on ContractsCounsel’s marketplace data, the average cost of a project involving a SAFE agreement is $519.24.

What’s Included in a SAFE Agreement?

SAFE agreements tend to be simple contracts and are usually less than five pages in length. As a result, the terms and conditions are fairly simple to understand. Still, the following five provisions must be included in a SAFE agreement.

  • Discounts. It is common for a SAFE agreement to feature a discount on the investor’s future converted equity. Discounts are typically 10%-30%. Investors can purchase shares at a discount in the future.
  • Valuation caps. A valuation cap establishes the highest conversion price. This allows early investors to purchase shares that are less expensive than new investors.
  • Most-favored nation provisions. The first investor must be notified of all subsequent investors. Suppose the first investor believes that a newer investor benefits from favorable terms. In that case, they can ask for those terms to be applied to their SAFE agreement.
  • Pro-rata rights. Also called participation rights, these rights allow investors to invest extra funds to keep their ownership percentage during a future equity financing.

Types of SAFE Agreement

There are three different types of SAFE agreements to choose from. Each has different options and provisions that will affect the investor and conversion.

  • Valuation cap, no discount. The most used safe agreement option allows investors to convert their SAFE agreement lower than the priced valuation cap.
  • Discount, no valuation cap. This SAFE agreement allows investors to convert their notes into shares at a discounted rate.
  • Most favored nation no valuation cap, no discount. When using this type of SAFE agreement, investors can adapt new terms for their contract if they believe newer investors benefit from better terms.

An experienced attorney can help you choose which SAFE agreement is best for the company and the investor.

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SAFE Agreement Drafting Services

SAFE agreements are important financial contracts that could control a large sum of money and a company's future. Therefore, both investors and companies need to be sure that this agreement is drafted correctly, protects the interests of both parties, and is legally binding.

It is recommended that companies hire an attorney to draft this agreement. A contract lawyer experienced with drafting SAFE agreements will meet with the company owner to learn about the company and its finances.

The lawyer can help the company choose which SAFE agreement will work best for its goals, then draft a legally binding contract that the company can present to investors.

SAFE Agreement Review Services

SAFE agreements are relatively simple contracts, so sometimes, a company may draft its SAFE agreement using a standard template. While this is possible, it is recommended that before executing a self-drafted contract with investors, the company hires a lawyer to review the contract.

A lawyer can review the agreement to ensure that it is free from mistakes that could put the business or the investor at risk. The lawyer can add or edit any missing provisions and advise whether the type of SAFE agreement drafted is the best choice for the company.

Hiring a lawyer to review a SAFE agreement is the only way to ensure that the contract is legally binding, adheres to laws pertaining to SAFE agreements, and protects all parties.

SAFE Agreement Drafting Cost

When a company hires an attorney to draft a SAFE agreement, it will incur legal fees. The time it takes the lawyer to draft the contract is usually the most significant factor in determining how much the project will cost.

ContractsCounsel’s marketplace data shows the average SAFE agreement drafting costs to be $540.27 across all states and industries.

SAFE Agreement Review Cost

Suppose a company hires a lawyer to review a SAFE agreement. In that case, they will still incur legal fees for the lawyer’s time and guidance, but it will typically be less than drafting fees.

ContractsCounsel’s marketplace data shows that the average SAFE agreement review costs are $478.22 across all states and industries.

How Do Lawyers Charge for SAFE Agreement?

The two most common fee agreement structures that lawyers charge for their time are hourly or flat fee rates.

Hourly Rates for SAFE Agreements

When a lawyer uses an hourly rate fee structure, they set an hourly rate for their time and then charge a client for each hour spent working on a project or case. The lawyer can also bill for any employee’s time spent on the project, like associate lawyers or paralegals.

ContractsCounsel’s marketplace data shows that the average hourly rate for a contract lawyer ranges from $200 - $350 per hour.

Flat Fee Rates for SAFE Agreements

When using a flat fee rate structure, instead of billing hourly, an attorney quotes the client a flat fee rate for the entire project. If the client agrees to the price, they will pay the lawyer up front, and the lawyer will complete the job.

It is important to note that flat fee rates usually only cover tasks like drafting documents or document reviews. The lawyer may charge more if the client wants consultations, legal advice, or ongoing representation.

ContractsCounsel’s marketplace data shows that the average flat fee rate for a SAFE agreement is $519.24.

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