So you’ve incorporated or formed an LLC for your business. What’s next? After spending time and energy deciding which business structure to form and when to do it, you now have another set of questions to answer.
Launching a startup requires extreme organization, attention to detail and dedication. It also requires founders to decode complicated legalese, mountains of paperwork. Even in the earliest stages, you want to protect your company, your product and your ideas.
Whether you’ve just starting fundraising or you’re few steps away from your goal, an acquisition offer is always flattering. It’s also a tightrope-walk of unpredictability, and so, understandably, meetings with potential buyers often leave founders nervous.
The Flash this week takes a cyber day-trip, checking out Amazon’s pop-up loft in New York City. Known as a destination for startup founders looking to learn from each other (and, of course, to get familiar with Amazon Web Services cloud technology), we like the short video that provides thoughts about what founders should look for when researching cloud options.
The Flash took note as Apple grabbed an array of headlines this week, spanning several of the electronics giant’s expanding portfolios. Perhaps most notable was the report that Apple wants in on the electric car market and is ramping up hiring on Project Titan – the internal project tasked with shipping Apple’s first model by 2019. Not a bad week’s work– but the Cupertino-based dynamo didn’t stop there, embracing technology that blocks ads on Apple’s mobile devices and potentially spawning a cottage industry of companies developing ad-blocking software. And that’s before we even delve into what Apple’s new iPhones and iOS can do…
The Flash knows the importance of protecting important business and personal data from the ever-expanding reach of hackers – and now the market is paying attention, too. Andreessen Horowitz now sees cybersecurity startups as a lucrative tech niche, and Google Capital recently made its first cybersecurity investment. With data breaches taking place on a seemingly daily basis, VCs and other investors are starting to boost funding for all manners of cybersecurity startups.
The Flash also checks in on the Uber/”gig economy” labor fight. The most recent entrant to the ring this week hails from Washington, DC, and has the federal heft to make this a real heavyweight match. On July 15, the U.S. Department of Labor issued an “Administrator’s Interpretation” on the classification of independent contractors. More is sure to come in this slugfest…
Check out these and more in The Flash this week!
- Cybersecurity becomes a VC/investor darling (Wall Street Journal)
- S. Dept. of Labor weighs in on ‘Uber fight’ (Inc)
- Sued for patent infringement? Google wants to help (Bloomberg Business)
- Are Steve Huffman’s new rules for Reddit enough? (Re-code)
The Flash understands that entrepreneurs thrill on having multiple angel investors when fundraising. But too much of such “party rounds” can be a bad thing, as no one investor serves as lead and leaves startups wanting focused help if the company hits a rough patch. The Flash looks at compelling research suggesting that having many angels with no lead investor can be problematic for startups.
The Flash also remains fixated on Uber’s fight with the California labor commission, which seemingly sent a torpedo through the ride-share company’s hull recently when it determined that drivers are in fact employees – not contractors. The Flash has been expecting a forceful response by Uber, and this week we saw the first salvo when the company filed a motion seeking to deny class action status to plaintiffs in a major lawsuit relying on this determination. As we predicted, this one will go on for a while…
These and more in this week’s edition of The Flash!
- Although “party rounds” have initial appeal, they may pose risks for startups (NY Times)
- How Uber is fighting the lawsuit that could upend its entire business model (Slate)
- Ellen Pao resigns as Reddit CEO after user revolt (Bloomberg)
- How the Greek downfall and Chinese stock market plunge impact the startup world (CNN)
- IPO? Heck no: Private cash is making it easier to grow without the stock market (Upstart)
- FTC exploring Apple rules for streaming music rivals in App Store (Entrepreneur)
Though not overly partial to emojis, The Flash <hearts> a savvy IPO play – and that’s just what we’re seeing in the move to conjoin Tinder, Match.com and OkCupid for an upcoming IPO. Brought together by IAC/InteractiveCorp as The Match Group, this three-headed online dating hydra is led by Tinder, which may see its valuation top $1B this year. To The Flash, that seems like just the right foundation for wedded bliss.
We also checked in with the key labor issue faced by sharing economy startups and other companies: how and under what conditions an independent contractor must be considered an employee of the parent company. The Flash previously alerted readers to the California labor commissioner’s determination that an Uber driver is an employee of the company – not an independent contractor – and the related implications. Now we’re seeing other startups in the “1099 economy” space – including Instacart and Shyp – moving to reclassify contractors as part-time employees. This issue is surely one to watch.
Check out these and other posts in The Flash!
- Match, Tinder and OKCupid join forces for an upcoming IPO (Boston Globe)
- Companies in the “1099 economy” respond to California labor commission’s Uber ruling:
- More people want Fitbit than Apple Watch (Inc.)
- Mall operators begin courting startups (Wall Street Journal)
- Costolo on Twitter’s short-term thinking (Re-code)
- Did Prince just kill Apple Music? (Bloomberg Business)
- Tesla deliveries surge by 52% (Wall Street Journal)
The Flash naturally stood up and took note in May when Uber announced its plan to raise between $1.5B and $2B in new funding – replete with valuation of $50 billion – and its ascent to the position of world’s most highly capitalized startup. In addition to our focus on startups, we’re always tracking legal developments impacting businesses. That’s why The Flash looked with raised eyebrows when the California Labor Federation issued a decision on June 16 that could upend Uber’s (and Lyft’s, and that of other “sharing economy” startups) entire business model.
Essentially, California’s labor commissioner ruled that an Uber Technologies Inc. driver who connects with customers through the company’s app must be considered an employee (not an independent contractor, as Uber contends). This could mean many implications for Uber if the company must guarantee drivers a minimum wage, compensate for mileage, and pay into Social Security. Uber plans to fight this state agency ruling – and The Flash will be tracking this high-stakes legal tussle.
Additionally we’ve been keeping a close eye on Etsy since its April debut on Wall Street, (the largest B-Corp to file an IPO, by the way). Most recently, the online artisan-and-vintage marketplace company launched a program to help sellers raise money on its website to fund new products. Could this result in the company actually produce a profit?
These stories and more in this week’s edition of The Flash!
- Uber vows to fight controversial ruling by the California Labor Federation about independent contractors (Bloomberg Business)
- Etsy announces pilot program for fundraising by sellers on Etsy company site to support new product manufacturing (Wall Street Journal)
- Which VC firm has the best success rate at picking unicorns? [Psst: it’s Sequoia] (Inc.)
- Lyft names Rakuten CEO (Bloomberg Business)
- Andreessen Horowitz Invests $15M in Envoy (Wall Street Journal)
- Early Tesla investors raise $400M impact VC fund (Wall Street Journal)
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!