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How to Write the Perfect Executive Summary in Six Easy Steps

An executive summary is an abbreviated one to two page version of your investor or customer pitch deck without all the graphics and bullets.


Why You Need Terms of Service and a Privacy Policy

Everyone knows that if you are an internet or mobile startup, you should have terms of service.  Your terms of service, or terms of use as some prefer to call them, serve as your agreement with your customers regarding what services you will provide and under what terms and in return, what fees your customers will pay for the privilege of using your service.  Your terms of service also cover other very important aspects of your relationship, including the license you are granting your customers to use your software and under what terms you acquire their content if they upload photos, videos, or any kind of text to your site or service.   Terms of…


The Five Key Tasks of a Board of Directors

Most first time entrepreneurs don’t understand how corporations are governed, i.e. who is in charge and how they get in charge or stay in charge.  This short article will cover the role and function of a board of directors, corporations’ governing body. Every corporation must have a board of directors, unless the state law under which the corporation is formed states otherwise.  Under Delaware’s General Corporation Law the business and affairs of a corporation must be managed by or under the direction of a board of directors. Washington’s Business Corporation Act similarly provides that all corporate powers shall be exercised by or under the authority of a corporation’s board of directors and that the business and affairs…


Five Easy Steps to Develop A Community

Many entrepreneurs launch new businesses and struggle to engage with advisors and customers.  Many don’t think to do it at all but instead choose to focus on product development.  Building these advisor, investor and customer communities seems like a daunting task and there is no doubt that this task is perhaps one of if not the most difficult for founders of new startups.  However, there is a straightforward process that can provide an easy to follow roadmap that can yield results if consistently applied.  This article goes through that roadmap step-by-step. Step 1: Meet with people. If you are not meeting with prospective advisors, mentors, and investors, you should be. If you are not meeting…


Delaware Public Benefit Corporations 101

We recently added our first Delaware Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) client. What is a PBC you may ask? A PBC is Delaware’s version of a social benefit corporation. Delaware PBCs are for-profit corporations intended to produce a public benefit and to operate in a responsible and sustainable manner. The new law went into effect on August 1, 2013.  Delaware joins 20 other states that have some form of benefit corporation option — Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Washington, D.C. Regardless of the state of formation, any corporation with a social purpose must balance the interests of…



Is Accelerator Madness Right For You?

Like many basketball teams every March, you’re waiting for your invitation to the big dance. Not NCAA March Madness, accelerator madness. Accelerator programs have exploded over the course of the last two years. It arguably all started with Y Combinator in Silicon Valley and Techstars in Boulder, but it has been a land grab since with upstarts like AngelPad in San Francisco and Launchpad in Los Angeles joining the arms race. It’s an arms race to see who can attract the most applicants. Some accelerators are even expanding their programs to multiple cities. Techstars, for example, now has programs in Boston, New York, Seattle and San Antonio, and DreamIt, another top accelerator, has programs in…

Less Hot or Not, More Turkey

Entrepreneurs are too focused on being featured in Techcrunch or Geekwire, or whatever their local version of a tech rag is, and not as focused with doing the things that validate their startup idea, like talking to customers and getting paid.  For their part, the tech news blogs and local accelerators aren’t helping; they come up with a startup index or a talk on “is your startup hot or not,” and entrepreneurs erroneously believe that they have to get on it in order to be seen as successful or that they have somehow achieved something.  Wrong answer. Come back to your startup for a minute and try to recall what you are all about.  Why…

Startup Strategy

How to File an 83(b) Election

Founders of startups typically purchase stock in their startup pursuant to a restricted stock purchase agreement, or RSPA.  The “restricted” portion of the stock purchase agreement refers to a vesting schedule that gives the company the right to repurchase any unvested stock upon their separation from the company.  As various time milestones are met in the RSPA, the stock “vests” or is released from the repurchase option.  While the purchase price of the stock is paid at the beginning, the founder doesn’t acquire all the rights associated with the stock, such as the right to sell the stock, until it vests.  To the IRS, this means that the stock is acquired when released from the…


Lean Law Strategies for Startups, or Do I Really Need All These Documents Right Now?

When launching a new startup, everyone expects that there will be some legal paperwork that needs to be completed in order to form a new entity and that these document drafting services will consume much of your early stage legal budget.  The questions though are what documents are necessary and what are nice to have and what lean strategies can we utilize to keep costs low?  These questions are important not only to lean startups, but also to later stage companies primarily because the more legal help you get, the higher your legal costs, the shorter your runway, and the less money left over for product development. In trying to determine how to get the…


The Basics of Non-Disclosure Agreements

The acronym “NDA” is commonplace in most technology circles. Many entrepreneurs use them but often times with out knowing why. In this post we review the basics of non-disclosure agreements — what they are, what they’re for, why they are important and the different types.


What is Traction?

Traction, traction, traction. Are you tired of hearing that term but not getting a straight answer about what it really means? Well, you came to the right place! In this article we discuss “traction,” what it is, what it means, how to use it and why it’s important.


The First Mover Advantage Myth

Have you ever had an idea that you thought was different or unique only to later find out that someone has already done it? Well, take heart. Being first does not equate to being successful. In this article I discuss some of these failed first movers, as well as the legal barriers first mover erect to try and exclude competitors.


When to Formalize An Idea Into a Company

When is the right time to form a company around the idea you have been tossing around? There has always been a healthy debate on when the right time is to quit your job, but not much about when to form a new company. In this article, I discuss the two most important elements in helping you decide the right time.