Goodwin Procter attorneys and Founders Workbench contributors, Caine Moss and Emma Mann-Meginniss, recently wrote an article explaining founder-favorable terms to work towards when forming and financing new ventures. Posted to technology news site VentureBeat, the article offers useful tips for founders to consider when negotiating with venture investors in the current hot venture-capital and exit markets, including:
- Retain control: Supervoting stock
- Alternative: Supervoting at the Board Level
- Early Liquidity: FF Preferred Stock
- Limit the VC’s Control: Voting Control
- Greater Ownership: Aggressive Founder Vesting
Many entrepreneurs understand the fundamentals of finance when founding a new company. At the same time, many founders could benefit from a deeper understanding of the typical components of a financing term sheet. To help founders better grasp the key points, Goodwin Procter partner and Founders Workbench contributor Bob Bishop participated in a recent “On Air” Google Hangout hosted by The Capital Network to discuss this topic.
The following is the first in a series of posts that summarize Bob’s discussion. This first post provides some background on convertible debt vs. equity, which is a question that seed stage companies often face in contemplation of their first round
Some highlights from this week’s articles:
“You embrace the uncertainty and discomfort. Lots of people avoid these two things, but without them, you never get good at anything. You never learn anything worthwhile. Embrace these things and grow.” – How to Push Past that Terrifying Dip in Motivation, Leo Babuta, Fast Company
“Launching a highly successful Kickstarter project may be a good way to increase your enterprise’s visibility, as well as generate a customer base, prior to searching for seed funding.” – How to Get Traction for Your Startup and Funding, Murray Newlands, Inc.
“When you start a company everything is going to feel like a mess. And it really should. If you have too much process, too much predictability, you are probably not innovating fast enough and creating enough. So it should feel like every day there is a new problem and what you are doing is fundamentally triaging.” – How to Start a Startup, Sam Altman, Startup Class
At Founders Workbench, we regularly counsel our technology and start-up clients that protecting their intellectual property should be a priority when founding a new company. IP protection is also a top concern for the people who matter most to founders – founders’ capital sources, such as venture capital and angel fund leaders- who also rank IP as a priority when considering funding start-ups.
When Founders Workbench partners talk IP protection with our trusted clients, we invariably field detailed questions about dealing with potential patent litigation from “non-practicing entities” (NPEs) – commonly known as “patent trolls.” Given the volume of questions, we thought a guide to NPEs and their role in the U.S. IP regime would be helpful to our clients.
That’s why we’re pleased to share with our clients the release of Goodwin Procter’s NPE Litigation: A Tactical Guide for Practitioners. Designed as a definitive guide for in-house counsel and business executives at companies facing current or potential patent litigation with NPEs, the Guide is yet another free tool available to founders looking for expert legal advice as they build their companies.
The NPE Litigation Guide is grounded in a thorough review of data about NPE litigation, and will give founders and legal practitioners specific tactical and strategic guidance regarding NPE litigation. Some of the topics the Guide addresses include:
• What exactly is an NPE?
• How many NPE litigations are actually filed each year?
• Did the America Invents Act alleviate or exacerbate the rise of NPE litigation and what could be the effects of the pending legislation before the U.S. Congress?
Our favorite articles from the week advise how to make the most of LinkedIn, discuss why the start-up community in Boston is friendlier to women than in Silicon Valley, explain what you should be doing to survive your first year as a start-up, and offer tips on increasing attendance at start-up events.
We’re excited to share another way for us to deliver value to you and the entire Founders Workbench community. Through our involvement in developing Goodwin Procter’s FinTech Practice, a recently expanded cross-disciplinary legal team, we are now able to offer broader market reach and better access to new business opportunities.
Our work with start-up founders gives us an up-close view of how technology can drive innovation, and we wanted that perspective to be central in developing the new FinTech group. Financial services is one of the industries most profoundly impacted by technological innovation, and the start-up scene reflects that reality. This has resulted in a growing need for legal counsel, particularly for founders, that offers expertise in financial institutions and in broader tech and business services.
Maximizing Reach and Return at Speaking Engagements
Travel costs often turn speaking engagements into an expensive marketing initiative, but they are a great way to build brand awareness. If you’re making the investment, be sure you’re capitalizing on the return by developing smart content and building relationships. There are a few ways you can do this, including pre-event promotion, delivering a tweet-able and sharable presentation, and following up after the event.
Read more from “Public Speaking Tips to Maximize Your Reach and Revenue” (Entrepreneur).