Title III Crowdfunding Is Here

Title III crowdfunding is here! The first funding portals can begin operations today, May 16, 2016. On Friday, I was a guest on the “This Week in Law” Podcast, where I talked about the impact this will have on startups, technology companies, and the people who invest in them. Click on the link below for my discussion.

The Founders’ Intro to Raising Startup Capital

For many startup founders, what led them into the risky but thrilling world of starting their own company was technology, innovation, the ability to affect the world, and the freedom of being their own boss. Learning the ins and outs of financing, attracting investors, and understanding how to comply with state and federal securities laws is probably not at the top of the list of a startup founder’s most favorite things. But, given that the vast majority of startups will rely on outside financing in their early years while they progress in stages of production and expansion, their founders are going to eventually need to do some real-world study in the basics of how raising capital works in order to grow their business while protecting their vision. [Read more…]

Hiring a Programmer? Get an Invention Assignment Agreement

This post first appeared in Startup Southerner on March 23, 2016.

Founders have a lot to think about when starting a new company, such as finding the right team, developing their strategy and getting the company’s legal structure in place. One item that should not be left out is ensuring the company owns the intellectual property to its content, such as software code, written works, and audio/visual material. A key part to this is to ensure that everyone—from founders to independent contractors—working on this content has signed invention assignment agreements. [Read more…]

Filing Is Not Enough: 6 Steps You Must Take to Incorporate

This post first appeared in Startup Southerner on February 1, 2016.

When it comes to incorporating a startup, founders often file articles of incorporation (a.k.a. a charter or a certificate of incorporation) with their state’s secretary of state and stop there. They think that the filing is enough to form the corporation. However, forming a corporation involves a number of additional steps, and a corporation is not validly formed unless many of these steps are performed. So, here are the most important ones. [Read more…]

The Pitfalls of Moonlighting in a Day Job for Startup Founders

This post first appeared in Southern Alpha on November 2, 2015.

Many, if not most, founders have difficulty being able to afford to work full-time for their startup right from the start. But working in a day job while moonlighting at your venture presents some particularly dicey legal issues that can cause issues down the line.

In particular, moonlighting for your startup presents a significant threat to your startup’s intellectual property, especially if you’re currently working at a technology company. Many employers, especially technology companies and other IP-intensive businesses, require all employees to sign invention assignment agreements, which are often very broad and give your employer rights to any IP you create that relates to the business of your employer or any reasonably anticipated business of your employer. This is the case even if the IP was created on your own time and without the use of your employer’s facilities. [Read more…]