Below are ten tips for entrepreneurs who are launching a start-up that will seek venture capital (“VC”) financing.
1. Protect Yourself from Personal Liability. The entrepreneur’s first step in connection with launching a start-up should be to form an organization that will protect against personal liability. As discussed below, a Delaware C-corporation is the structure that VC investors will generally require; however, if a financing is not imminent, it may be prudent for the entrepreneur to form an S-corporation or a limited liability company to obtain “pass-through” tax treatment (and then convert the entity to a C-corporation down the road, if necessary) to take advantage of the company’s initial losses, if applicable. The bottom line is that the entrepreneur should seek the advice of counsel in connection with the formation of any business organization, including the advice of tax counsel (e.g., shareholders in S-corporations — as opposed to C-corporations — are not eligible for the “qualified small business stock” capital gains tax break; and losses in C-corporations may be deductible up to $50,000/yr. or $100,000/yr. on a joint return with respect to “Section 1244 stock”). (more…)