The time from first contacting the client to sealing the deal, typically a little over a month.

In the context of sealing a deal, particularly within startup fundraising, “Days to Term Sheet” refers to the average time it takes for a company seeking funding to reach a term sheet agreement with an investor. It essentially measures the speed at which negotiations progress from initial discussions to a formal document outlining the key terms of the investment.

Significance for Both Sides:

This metric holds importance for both startups and investors:

  • For Startups: It helps set realistic expectations for the fundraising process. Knowing the average timeframe allows them to:
    • Plan their runway (available cash) effectively. A longer-than-average time might necessitate adjustments like extending the runway through cost-cutting or seeking alternative funding sources.
    • Refine their pitch and valuation. If deals are taking longer than expected, it might indicate a need to strengthen the pitch or adjust the valuation to better align with investor expectations.
    • Target the right investors. Different investors have varying deal timelines. Startups can use this metric to prioritize investors known for faster decision-making processes.
  • For Investors: It allows VCs and angel investors to allocate their time and resources efficiently when evaluating potential investments. By understanding the typical timeframe, they can:
    • Benchmark deals and prioritize those with a higher likelihood of closing within their desired timeframe.
    • Manage their own deal flow more effectively, ensuring they can dedicate sufficient time and attention to promising opportunities.

Factors Influencing Days to Term Sheet:

The speed of reaching a term sheet can vary considerably depending on several factors:

  • Market Conditions: Hot markets with high investor interest generally see faster term sheets. Conversely, cooler markets might lead to longer fundraising cycles.
  • Startup Maturity & Traction: Companies with a proven track record, strong financials, and clear market validation tend to attract investor interest quicker.
  • Investor Type & Focus: Angel investors or smaller VC firms might be more flexible in their timelines compared to larger VC firms with stricter investment committees and processes.
  • Negotiation Complexity: The complexity of deal terms, valuation discussions, and due diligence can significantly impact the timeline. More complex deals naturally take longer to finalize.
  • Startup Readiness: A well-prepared startup with a clear pitch deck, solid financial projections, and a strong team is more likely to secure a term sheet faster.

Challenges and Considerations:

While Days to Term Sheet offers a helpful directional benchmark, some challenges exist:

  • Limited Data Availability: There’s no central repository for tracking this metric across the entire VC landscape. Data might be based on anecdotal evidence or reports from specific investor groups.
  • Variability: The numerous factors influencing the timeframe make it difficult to establish a single “ideal” number of days.