Searching For VC Term Sheets Prior To 1990

On the heels of all the noise around Groupon’s $100m financing at a $7.5b (billion) post valuation, I thought I’d put out a call for “old VC term sheets – prior to 1990.”

My partner Jason Mendelson and I are working on a book titled Venture Financings: How To Look Smarter Than Your Lawyer and VC.  The final draft is due at the end of February (feel free to give us your sympathy if you happen to see us between now an then) and based on my previous experience with our publisher (Wiley) on Do More Faster, I expect it’ll be out by the end of Q211.

The basis for the book comes from the Term Sheet series that Jason and I wrote on this blog in 2005.  We’ve updated the series for the current reality of 2010 (of which much is very similar to 2005, with some differences), talk about lots of different twists that have appeared, and tell plenty of stories to illustrate what the implications of various terms and financing configurations are.

As part of this, I’m looking for some early VC term sheets.  I started by trying to hunt down the original Digital Equipment Corporation term sheet (or letter describing the investment) from AR&D to Ken Olson but came up dry.  Today, as I was working on some stuff, I realized it would be interesting to look at some term sheets from the 1970’s and 1980’s in whatever form they are in.

If you happen to be in possession of an older VC term sheet – either for a company that was successful or one that was a failure – I’d love to see it.  You can email it to me if easy, or drop me a note and I’ll tell you where to fax it.  I’ll make sure I honor your request to keep it anonymous if you want me to (either you, the company, or both) but of course would love the ability to weave it into the book where appropriate.

  • I’m going to search for some early 90’s ones.

    I think the main reasons things have changed so much is the failure of the public markets. Firms like Alex Brown and Janney are gone and opportunities to sell to the public in a structured way have dried up.

    Edited out my rant.

    Happy New Year Brad.

  • Kyle Pearson

    Would really be interested in this book! I love the history of financing and creativity surrounding early stage ventures, so i would be particularly eager to learn more about the way VC used to be in its early stages compared to today.

    • Glad you are excited! Now all we have to do is finish writing it.

  • scott

    Brad, not sure if checked with Gordon College, Wenham, MA. Ken Olson donated alot of his writings and other assorted items when they dedicated the science building in his honor a few years back along with setting up a library of his doanted items. Might be worth an email to someone there.

    • Good suggestion – I’ll chase it down.