For small equity holders, the reality is that any investment round has a likelihood of seeing you diluted far more than the high stake holding founders and key leadership group (or groups, if they're different). And by definition, agreements within the current structure tend to get replaced as part of the round.
The stance the founders take during the round will likely be decisive in how that turns out to feel for other stakeholders. Everyone should recognise that investors are looking for a certain kind of structure of core equity. But there's room for creativity.
There are two opposing tendencies here. The rule of thumb for financial investment is that the people who do best come as late as possible but by the first decisive round; the rule of thumb for the team is that the people who do best are the first in who stay around and add value. In this situation you're being pulled both ways at once!
So my thought is
- Don't expect you can necessarily achieve your goal of diluting equally to the founders. If that's not realistic, you'll find yourself opposing a successful fund-raising round - which is absolutely not where you want to be
- Do communicate with the founders so they know how important it is to achieve a result that will be seen as fair - and look for creative ways to achieve this (whether through equity classes, additional option schemes, general remuneration etc)