Introducing the Open Cap Table Coalition – TechCrunch

by Jeremy

On Tuesday, the Open Cap Table Coalition announced its launch through an inaugural Medium post. The goal of this project is to standardize startup capitalization table data and make it far more accessible, transparent and portable.

For those unfamiliar with a cap table, it’s a list of who owns your company’s securities, including your company shares, options, and more. A clear and straightforward cap table should quickly indicate who owns what and how much of it they own. For various reasons (sometimes inexperience or lousy advice), too many equity holders often find companies’ capitalization information opaque and not easily accessible.

This is particularly important for the small percentage of startups that survive in the long term, as growth makes for far more complicated cap tables. A critical part of good startup hygiene is always to have a clean and updated cap table. Since there is no set format and cap tables are generally not open, they are often siloed rather than collaborative. Cap tables are near and dear to me as someone who has advised hundreds of startups over the past two decades as the founder of an accelerator, a venture partner, and a senior adviser at a government-funded startup launchpad. I have been on the shareholder side of the equation. I can assure you that pretty much nothing destroys trust between shareholders and startups quicker than poor communication, especially around issues such as the current status of the cap table.

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