Venturing into your own startup or already there?
Venturing into your own startup or already there?
If you are considering your own business or already running your own startup, you can rely on IT and Startup Lawyers to be your trusted advisor on all your Startup Law matters. Our principal lawyer has over 20 years’ experience providing professional services and half of that while running his own business. With qualifications across Law, Business Administration, Corporate Governance, Accounting, IT and Science you are assured you can always speak to a lawyer with a multidisciplinary perspective.
We work with business owners and entrepreneurs through the startup and scale up phases of their journey. We can help you choose the right structure, prepare Legal Documents for Startups, provide advice on regulation and compliance, assist your business with secretariat duties and help you bring on new investors when the time is right.
Startup Law issues we can help you resolve
Every business and owner is unique. However, here are common questions everyone needs to ask themselves as they embark on a startup journey:
What business structure is appropriate?
Entrepreneurs often ponder over the best structure for their business. Government websites often lay out the options of sole trader, partnership, trust or company. However, often the best structure is a little more complex.
It may be the business is operated as a group of companies, perhaps a group holding company, trading company and an intellectual property or asset holding entity. The shares in those companies may be held by a trustee for a family trust. That trustee may be an individual or a corporate trustee.
IT and Startup Lawyers can talk you through the options and help you set up the right structure for you and your venture. It’s probably the first Startup Law question most people have.
How is the startup funded?
Most startups will obtain funding from the founders either as share capital, a loan or both. Getting that process right is one the first corporate governance tasks to be addressed. As the business begins to scale further funds may be required to expedite growth. They may come from venture capital, further debt capital (loans) or via a small scale capital raising.
IT and Startup Lawyers assist boards with a range of funding activities including advice relating to small scale capital raisings, drafting shareholder agreements and preparing loan documents.
Contracting with suppliers and customers?
Startups are a risky proposition on many fronts, even if you have a great product and customers knocking at the door. IT and Startup Lawyers draft a wide range of Legal Documents for Startups to support a wide range of business models, limit your liability and ensure regulatory compliance. If you are not sure what sort of agreement you need, that is not a problem. It is not the name of the agreement which matters it’s the substance. Just talk to us about your business and we will advise on the legal requirements.
Preparing quality Legal Documents for Startups is probably the most common Startup Law service we provide. In fact, contract law is at the heart of almost everything we do.
Common challenges encountered by startups?
The two biggest Startup Law pain points we see for businesses arise from either a failure to adequately contract or from a corporate governance oversight.
One of the key problems startups and small businesses face is finding the time to apply proper corporate governance principles. This requires knowledge of the risks facing your business, keeping on top of the corporate secretarial tasks and complying with a raft of regulation. Failure to meet the regulatory requirements imposed on businesses not only increases the risk of having statutory penalties applied but can also decrease the value of your business when it comes to exiting or obtaining further funding.
The shark tank
Do you remember back to the television show ‘The Shark Tank’? Well they didn’t call it ‘The Friendly Philanthropist’! Private equity managers and venture capitalists are in it to make a profit. Sure, there are those around who are socially responsible but there are those with game theory firmly implanted in their approach. They have done this before, they have their lawyers and they have the obligation to protect their capital. Make sure you have the right legal advice when dealing with these expert investors.
In today’s society where intellectual property is increasingly important you need to make sure that you have your intellectual property well and truly protected. How you are going to manage your intellectual property is one of the first policies you should be considering. Before you choose a business name, can you register the trade mark? Before you hire a software developer, will you own the code? Before you start trading, are your intellectual property assets secure?
Especially if you are a tech startup then intellectual property is likely to be a significant Startup Law issue you will want to be on top of.
Written legal contracts
Quality written contracts give your business a professional image, effectively communicate the obligations of parties, reduce both the cost of and likelihood of disputes and protect the value of your business when it comes time to exit. Contracts are central to Startup Law and one of our core competencies.