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Five Ways for Startups and Founders to Move Fast

Are you a new founder or startup looking to move fast (and keep it legal)? Startup and tech lawyer Joe Gill shared his Top 5 Ways to Move Fast and we’re counting them down!

05 Do Your Homework

It has never been a better time to access information about starting a business (case in point: Brain Bites!). Use sites like the Canadian Intellectual Property Office and U.S. Patent and Trade Office to conduct name and business searches. Also, be sure to check out available URLs and social media accounts and tags and buy them up if possible.

Basically, the goal is to avoid spending an extraordinary amount of time on avoidable roadblocks like a name or product that is already patented or copyrighted.

04 Put on Your Vest

It’s vesting time! What does vesting mean? Essentially, it means a person doesn’t get shares immediately and instead something needs to happen, like an employee being with a startup for a certain period of time. This can guard against the possibility of founders and employees leaving the company. Most importantly, make sure to get all stock or vesting options in writing!

03 Document Your IP Chain of Custody

Think of the who, what, when, where, why and how when it comes to intellectual property (IP) development. All of this should be documented so there aren’t questions or confusion over IP ownership later on and written documentation clearly points to IP ownership for the company. These can be put together in founder IP assignment agreements or embedded as terms in employment agreements or contractor agreements.

02 Respect People’s Privacy

Every startup collects data from their users to be used in some way. People have the right to know exactly how their data is being used (or not used!) and practically this means having a written privacy policy.

Ask yourself these four questions to get started: what information am i collecting? Who can access that information? How is it being used? Why is it being accessed? Drill down on what your company really needs in order to provide your services because too much data can put you in legal jeopardy.

01 Build Consensus

A team needs to know the rules of engagement and how it will be set up and decisions made. This could mean a Founders Agreement for startups not incorporated or a Unanimous Shareholder Agreement for those that are. These need to address questions like what will ownership look like; will there be equity allocation or vesting; who will serve on the board and more.

Want to learn more? Watch our Brain Bites episode below on how to move fast without breaking the law and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more! Follow Joe Gill on twitter @prairietechlaw and on LinkedIn.

— February 3, 2021