Cloud Computing: Motivations


In the first post in our series examining issues relating to cloud computing, we looked at the concept of outsourcing significant aspects of a company’s technology infrastructure – an increasing reality for startups. Our latest post looks at what factors might motivate a company to utilize one of the numerous cloud-computing resources that are available

Founders Flash: A Most Crafty IPO for Etsy, the Largest-ever B-Corp IPO


Online crafts seller Etsy debuted on Wall Street last week, and The Flash certainly took notice. In addition to the company’s volatile stock movement, The Flash learned a few interesting tidbits about this hot company: Etsy is the largest B-Corp to go through the IPO process, and the company has NEVER turned a profit (and may never do so…). The JOBS Act – a long-time FWB fave for its potential to help emerging growth companies – continues getting favorable coverage for crowdfunding and other programs. We also check in with leading VC firm Andreessen Horowitz after its recent hiring of Facebook’s former GC, who will help startups with regulatory and legal challenges. 


Get these and more in The Flash!


Ryan Sansom Explains Strategic Investments for Life Science and Technology Companies


In our first post summarizing Ryan Sansom’s Google Hangout, “Strategic Investments for Life Science and Technology Companies” he clarified who exactly is making strategic investments and noted some interesting trends in strategic investing.


Continuing this series, Ryan moves on to the ways that strategic investments arise and what motivates strategic investors.

Founders Flash: For $1.5B, LinkedIn Makes Its Biggest Acquisition Yet


Leading The Flash this week is the news that LinkedIn will spend $1.5B to buy career-skills educator (Hat Tip: Larry Chu and members of GP’s M&A team), a website launched 20 years ago that has emerged as a leader in professional training videos. Has the professional social network company shot its bolt? Not even close, as market watchers expect future buys by LinkedIn to strengthen vertical segments like sales, as well as broader plays that may include job marketplaces. And in a look at exit strategies, we see a challenging trend in which Q1 VC investments are flying high, but venture exits via IPO decline – a possible trouble sign for VC firms. Check out these stories and more in this week’s Flash!

FWB Leads, Others Follow Suit, ABA Journal Article Notes


When we launched Founders Workbench in 2010, it introduced the startup community to a totally new business tool: the first-of-its-kind free online legal advisory resource. We designed FWB with the specific goal of helping entrepreneurs navigate the legal and organizational challenges faced by start-up companies and emerging businesses, providing services that include self-service tools for establishing a Limited Liability Corporation and other startup business requirements.


For us, FWB has been a great way to build relationships and help foster innovation and job creation through the startup economy. Since launching, other organizations have followed suit in offering online legal services to entrepreneurs. And the media continues to pay attention!

Founders Flash: Easy Seed $, Harder Series A for Founders in Current Funding Market


In The Flash this week, we flag interesting insight by First Round Capital about the unprecedented ease with which startups are currently getting seed capital amidst a static number of Series A deals. The effect? Many more early-stage companies are now competing for Series A money than there used to be – requiring early-stage startups to amass significantly more proof-points around their business than they previously had to. We also look at a new challenge encountered for the first time by many entrepreneurs: regulation. There’s also a peek at how Silicon Valley insiders are taking advantage of soaring values for tech startups by creating a potentially lucrative side business – through “direct stake” funds. And more!

Cloud Computing: Understanding the Concepts


At Founders Workbench, we’re always updating our resources to provide our clients with the latest information and tools they need to run their startups. One area that we increasingly receive questions about is cloud computing.


What exactly is cloud computing?


The phrase “cloud computing” refers to the concept of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, instead of relying upon a local server or a personal computer for such data storage, management, and/or processing.

U.S. Senate Confirms Michelle Lee as New PTO Head


At Founders Workbench, our entrepreneur clients have a business interest in patent reform, trolling, and other key patent-related developments, so we try to provide regular updates on related areas that may impact this area. That’s why we paid particular attention to the March 9 announcement that the U.S. Senate confirmed former Google Inc executive Michelle Lee to head the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).


This is significant for startup companies. The office of PTO head has been vacant for more than two years, a concerning absence for an office tasked with determining which inventions warrant the grant of a patent.

Founders Flash: Silicon Valley startups still searching for leadership diversity, Y Combinator says


The Flash this week looks at statistics released last week by Y Combinator during its semiannual Demo Day, and sees that its startup founders are overwhelmingly white and male. Though the lack of diversity in tech has been well covered, these numbers serve as a reminder of the need for diverse leadership among startup companies. The Flash also updates on an ongoing topic of focus for FWB: the JOBS Act. Recently finalized SEC rules should help startups raise capital through small public offerings – but we shall see if that is the effect. We also pull out some video footage of Box CEO and Co-Founder Aaron Levie explaining marketplace perceptions of the company, which went public in February (with Goodwin Procter representing the underwriter in the IPO). Check out these and others in our weekly roundup for Founders Flash!

Startups Take Note: Pinterest Will Allow Ex-Employees to Keep Vested Stock Options for Seven Years


Digital pegboard company Pinterest made big waves in the startup community by announcing that it would allow employees with at least two years of tenure to keep their vested stock options for up to seven years after they leave the company. By removing the standard 90-day post-employment option exercise period on most departing employees, Pinterest has made it far easier for its employees to keep their stock options if they leave for a new job.


What does this mean?


That’s the question we’re getting here at Founders Workbench, so we wanted to take a look at this from our perspective as advisors to startup company founders that often aspire to the kind of rapid business growth Pinterest is experiencing.We hope the following analysis of the background and legal implications of this decision provides helpful guidance in determining the merit of a program like the one Pinterest’s recently announced.