Pro rata rights, immigration, the sharing economy, AWS, Ray Dalio, and China’s smartphones – gpgmail


What founders need to know about pro rata rights

Pro rata used to be reasonably simple. Venture investors who bought preferred shares in startups had the right to lock in a certain percentage of equity provided they continued funding the company in the future rounds of financing. But as VCs have raised ever larger funds and cap tables have become ever more congested, who gets pro rata — and who keeps it — has become a massive distraction for many founders during their fundraises.

Andy Sparks, the founder of Holloway Guides (which, as my co-editor Eric Eldon wrote this week, raised $4.6 million from the New York Times and others), writes in with an analysis of pro rata rights from the latest Holloway Guide on Raising Venture Capital. We are really digging this new model of covering the issues affecting startups, and wish Sparks and his team well in their endeavor.

Pro rata is Latin for “in proportion.” Most people are familiar with the concept of prorating from dealing with landlords: if you’re entering into a lease halfway through the month, your rent may be prorated, where you pay an amount of the rent that is in proportion to your time actually occupying the property.

Almost all investors try to negotiate for pro rata rights, because if a company is doing well they want to own as much of it as possible. After all, why not double down on a winner than use that same money to invest in a newer, unproven company? In the 2018–2019 fundraising climate, though, it’s safe to say we’re at “peak pro rata.” Everybody wants pro rata, even those who don’t entirely understand how it works or affects companies.

Which immigration headlines should you care about?

Every day in the United States, immigration issues dominate the headlines. That can be very taxing for startups, which are often founded by immigrant entrepreneurs and often have sizable immigrant employee bases as well. So which stories should you pay attention to and which stories can you ignore and live in blissful ignorance?


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Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio is the wise uncle you wished you had – gpgmail


“I don’t want more success. I don’t want more money.” When most hedge fund managers say something like that to you, you’d be justified in suspecting that they’re giving you their carefully crafted Davos riff.

Because unlike many Silicon Valley billionaires who believe (or sort of believe) in the transcendence of their mission, the motives of the Wall Street titan are often straightforward: it’s about the money, and when the money gets huge, it’s about building a legacy.

But as Ray Dalio looked me in the eyes recently and said those words, I believed in his sincerity. That’s not to say he won’t earn enormous sums more. In fact, last year, the financial press widely reported that Dalio earned in the ten figures thanks to Bridgewater’s flagship Pure Alpha fund posting stellar returns.

But when you spend some time with Dalio and broach the various topics in which he has rarefied expertise, it’s apparent that today, the world’s most famous hedge funder could care less about ascending the ranks of the world’s megarich or in achieving more glory or praise for himself.

Although Dalio has diverse philanthropic interests, he retains a very hands-on role as co-CIO of Bridgewater, where he cuts an imposing figure as a guy with little time for inefficiency or nonsense. But he also wears his heart on his sleeve as he seeks to spread the word about principles-based decision-making and the coming paradigm shift that he says will have a dramatic impact on our economy and the markets.

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Ray Dalio – American investor, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist. Dalio is the founder of investment firm Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge funds. Image via Bridgewater Associates

The gospel of hyperrealism

By adhering to the twin pillars of radical transparency and radical truth-telling, Dalio believes that the idea meritocracy that powers Bridgewater can be replicated by the home-gamer. Are some of the specific principles that Bridgewater abides by controversial and harsh (e.g., Beware of the impractical idealist, Don’t expect people to recognize and compensate for their own blind spots, Use “public hangings” to deter bad behavior)? Yes. Does he care if you don’t buy into them? Not really:


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