Financing Innovation: The Rise of “Dequity”
I was talking with a banker the other day and he used a term that I hadn’t heard before but made a lot of sense. He said, they make ‘dequity’ investments. What he meant was they make loans, but the risk they take and the way they look at underwriting loans is similar to an equity investor, and the cost of that capital is much higher than a bank (often between 15%-30%), but it allows companies to get additional capital without giving away the most precious thing owners want to preserve: their equity.
In a way ‘dequity’ type loans have been around for a long time. Mezzanine financing and/or subordinated debt is one type. Its been pervasive since the 1980s and those types of products typically combine both debt and equity into a single investment instrument where it consists of a term loan with an interest rate PLUS takes some equity (i.e. shares) or ‘warrants’ to buy equity. Through this structure, the investor is getting returns from both an interest rate and additional upside by owning some of the Company's equity. This is often called an investment return ‘kicker.’ Typically, when this type of structure is compared to traditional venture capital or private equity options, the business owners is able to preserve much greater equity or ownership because a large part of the investors' return is earned through an interest rate. Again this type of instrument has been around for a long time.
Past Client Testimonial
Delta Data Software, Columbus GA
“Lantern helped us secure creative financing to fund new product development. Lantern introduced several different options and did a good job of helping us analyze each.”