Pre-money & Post-money valuation

Equity financing considers two crucial terms, namely pre-money valuation and post-money valuation. They refer to the valuation of a company prior to and post to equity financing.

Normally company receives equity financing in several rounds in order to motivate management and decrease the underlying investment risks.

If a company is worth 60 units (pre-money valuation) and an investor makes the investment of 20 units, the new, post-money valuation of the company amounts to 80 units. The ownership share gained in exchange for a new investment thus amounts to 25%.

In case of start-ups, the value estimation is due to high risk somehow vaguer. Therefore angel investors and venture capitals often offer certain investment amount for a particular ownership share based on their experiences and insights. Let’s say 25% for the investment of 20 units. However, by doing so, they have implicitly set the post-money valuation of the company to 80 units and pre-money valuation to 60 units.

This basic example illustrates the general concept. However, in reality the calculation of post-money valuation is more complicated due to convertible loans, in-the-money warrants and in-the-money employee stock option plans (ESOP).

In fact, the pre-money and post-money valuation should derive from the calculation of price per share multiplied by the total number of shares. Therefore, one has to consider the number of shares on a fully diluted and fully converted basis.

If the value per share increases compared to the previous round, then the investment is called an upround. It eventually means that the pre-money valuation is higher than the post-money valuation of the previous round. For the vice-versa case industry practitioners use a term downround.