Don't Undercut Your Equity Stake

After a decade’s lull, the IPO is back, stoking dreams of entrepreneurs looking to cash out. Yes, dramatic market swings have changed some game plans recently, but in the first two quarters of 2011, 79 companies issued initial public offerings generating $24.3 billion, more than double the amount raised in the same period last year, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. Often overlooked by newbies: By the time a company is ready to go public, the founders usually have diluted their personal ownership stakes considerably through previous financing rounds.

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