Skip to the main content.

Manage your portfolio with ease and evaluate potential investments.

The platform is fully synced with Companies House, to provide you with accurate, real-time insight.

Request a demo

manage iconManage

Add your investments for complete visibility of your shareholdings. View cap tables and detailed share movements.

organise iconOrganise

Organise investments by fund, geography or sector, and view your portfolio as a whole or by individual company.

scenario iconModel

Explore future value scenarios based on various growth trajectories, to figure out potential payouts.

streamline iconStreamline

Remove friction and save time. Action shareholder resolutions via DocuSign, access data rooms, and get updates from founders.

SPVs iconSPVs

Set up and manage new SPVs without leaving the platform, then invite co-investors to fund and participate.

capterra rating
The Joy of Enterprise Management Incentives
Read our free guide to the UK's most tax-efficient share scheme.
Get the guide

3 min read

What do investors actively look for in a cap table?

What do investors actively look for in a cap table?
What do investors actively look for in a cap table?

Last updated: 19 April 2024

Capitlisation tables (cap tables) demonstrate much more to potential investors than just a snapshot of your company’s equity - they also tell a story of the decision-making and business acumen that brought you to this point.

This article will tell you what you need to include in your cap table and what investors are looking for between the lines. 

The key details to include in your cap table

Share details

To be recorded and updated after every round of funding. Details to include:

  • Authorised shares
  • Outstanding shares
  • The type of shares (usually ordinary shares or preference shares)
  • Class of shares (for example, alphabet shares)
  • The nominal value of each share
  • Shares reserved for employees (for an employee option pool, for instance). 

Shareholder details

A complete list of all shareholders (including founders) and their details including:

  • Full names
  • Contact details
  • Address
  • Types of shares they own 
  • Percentage ownership 

Details of other securities

If applicable, such as:

  • Convertible loan notes
  • Restricted Stock Units (RSU)
  • Warrants
  • SAFEs

Valuation details

Details of your company's recent valuation, including pre-money valuation (your company's value prior to outside investment).

Every company is different, so not all cap tables will look the same. The important thing is to paint a clear picture of your company.

How to present your cap table to an investor

Your cap table needs to be a simple, organised and accessible representation of your company’s share ownership and any outstanding shares.

The most common structure has the shareholders' details listed on the Y-axis, and the security type on the X-axis. You can download our free cap table template here.

But to be honest, a spreadsheet is not the best way to manage your cap table...

Our customers have access to digital cap tables that update automatically.

This helps minimise costly (and all-too-common) cap table errors, making internal communication and decision-making simpler for founders, and access easier for investors.

So these are the literal details investors need to see, but just as important is the story these details tell about your company and you as a founder.

A healthy cap table demonstrates your company's potential for growth and reflects your judgment.

What investors are looking for in your cap table

Investors look for three main things when evaluating your cap table: sufficient founders stake, a healthy option pool and where the rest of the equity lies.

1. The founder's stake

The top concern investors have is that the founder still has enough stake to stay motivated. A common founder mistake is giving away too much too soon in eagerness (or desperation) to attract investment.

Not only does this demonstrate a lack of judgement, but it can lead to worries they don’t have enough ‘skin in the game’ to be as motivated as they need to be.

If, after the seed round, the CEO owns less than 10% or the founding team less than 50%, alarm bells can start ringing. This can be avoided by limiting the number of bridge rounds in the early stages and taking care of your share dilution.

Learn more about dilution and why it shouldn’t keep you up at night.

2. Healthy option pool

Employee option pools can be a valuable means of recruiting and keeping top talent, especially in the early stages when your company can’t compete with blue-chip salaries.

This is a fact investors are quite aware of, and indeed, some may even insist on the creation of an unallocated option pool prior to investment.

Knowing how much to set aside for your employee option pool (and who gets what) is another matter. That’s why we’ve created a tool to help you work out how many shares to give to your team.

3. Where the rest of the equity lies

Investors tend to prefer an even equity distribution; one not split too far or spread too thin.

You want to avoid situations where too much equity is sacrificed to early-stage investors, incubators or accelerators, or in exchange for one-off contributions.

This not only complicates future strategy decision-making but results in too much ‘dead equity’ - shareholders adding nothing more than their initial cash or contribution.

Luckily, this can be avoided easily enough with proper terms and conditions in shareholder documentation - like buyback provisions, leaver clauses and vesting schedules.

A living record

Cap tables can seem simple at first, but the success of a business brings with it inevitable complications:

  • New investors
  • New recruits
  • Different option grants and vesting schedules
  • Dilution of existing shareholder stakes 

The list goes on.

A cap table is an organic, ever-evolving record of your company's equity.

And one it is imperative you maintain with diligence and accuracy. A small mistake in your table at the start will get magnified over time!

A digital cap table that automatically updates, makes the job that much easier and minimises the prospect of costly mistakes.

Read up on effective cap table management in your own time or go right ahead and get your digital cap table set up today. 

Discover our Essentials plan
How to mobilise your cap table

How to mobilise your cap table

As a startup, getting investment is key. After all, it takes more than a winning idea to grow a successful business. Unless you plan to fund your...

Read More
Cap table mistakes to avoid at all costs

Cap table mistakes to avoid at all costs

Last updated: 3 May 2024. Every day, we help businesses unlock the power of equity to incentivise employees, reward key players and ultimately, grow....

Read More
Investment round or exit ahead? Clean up your cap table

Investment round or exit ahead? Clean up your cap table

We spend a lot of time talking to founders, investors, lawyers and accountants who have been involved in numerous major investment rounds and exits....

Read More