My first piece of advice would definitely be to surround yourself with the right people when fundraising. It’s best if you settle on representation before you even sign your first term sheet (a letter of intention to invest) with an investor.
At Qonto, we’ve partnered with Solferino & Associates, as they’ve been providing counsel for our co-founders since their very first entrepreneurial project. They’ve been with us since our first fundraising round in 2016, through Series A, B, C, and now, most recently, Series D. Working with a firm that has known you from inception provides a unique advantage: they tend to be more responsive and can better anticipate the needs of investors.
Your lawyer will support you during negotiations and help polish the wording of your legal documentation (e.g. your term sheet, investment agreement, or shareholder’s agreement) to ensure that when you sign, the conditions meet your expectations. And when it comes to your first meetings with investors, don’t take suggestions of ‘market practices’ too close to heart: be a firm negotiator! The documents you sign during your first fundraising round act as a launching point for negotiating the following rounds.