What is Liquidation Preference?

Legal Definition
A liquidation preference is one of the primary economic terms of a venture finance investment in a private company. The term describes how various investors' claims on dividends or on other distributions are queued and covered. Liquidation preference establishes that certain investors receive their investment money back first before other company owners in the event the company is sold, has a public offering, pays dividends, or has another liquidation (payout) event.
-- Wikipedia