All Posts: ‘Startup Issues’

The 5 Biggest Legal Mistakes That Startups Make

by Scott Edward Walker on July 1st, 2014

My law firm recently entered into a new partnership with This Week in Startups and sponsored their live fireside chat last month in San Francisco with authors Nick Bilton and Brad Stone.  Prior to the event, I conducted a legal workshop entitled “The 5 Biggest Legal Mistakes That Startups Make,” which I have uploaded above.  If you would like to jump to different sections of the video, here’s how it breaks down:

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Founders Beware: Fiduciary Obligations of Officers

by Scott Edward Walker on May 30th, 2013

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Introduction

Many founders do not realize that officers of a corporation have the same fiduciary obligations as directors.  This post briefly explores this issue and its ramifications.

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Startup Parody

by Scott Edward Walker on July 12th, 2012

Here’s a fun video parody via Vooza. I hope you enjoy it. Cheers, Scott

Legal Checklist for Startups

by Scott Edward Walker on November 2nd, 2011

I’ve been a corporate lawyer for 17+ years, and there are certain fundamental legal mistakes that I’ve seen startups repeatedly make.  Accordingly, I thought it would be helpful to provide a simple checklist for startups, which includes links to prior posts for a more detailed discussion.  (This post was originally published as part of the “Ask the Attorney” series I am writing for VentureBeat.)

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3 Ways For Startups To Cut Their Legal Fees in Half

by Scott Edward Walker on October 13th, 2011

Introduction

This post was originally part of the “Ask the Attorney” series I am writing for VentureBeat (one of my favorite websites for entrepreneurs).  Indeed, I am constantly being asked by entrepreneurs how they can lower their legal fees.   (more…)

4 Deadly Legal Mistakes That Startups Make

by Scott Edward Walker on September 28th, 2011

Introduction

This post was originally part of the “Ask the Attorney” series I am writing for VentureBeat (one of my favorite websites for entrepreneurs).  Below is a longer, more comprehensive version.

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What Are the Rights of Minority Stockholders?

by Scott Edward Walker on July 27th, 2011

 

Introduction

For the past few months, I’ve been discussing the rights of VC investors in connection with preferred stock financings, including the following:

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How To Launch a Startup and Avoid Ending-up in Jail

by Scott Edward Walker on June 23rd, 2011

Introduction

jail

I love working with startups and trying to protect founders (and watch their backs).  Not only are there key contractual issues that must be buttoned-down (like vesting and IP assignment), but also there is a minefield of laws and regulations that must be complied with.  Indeed, in a world of easy access to online documents and web sites like LegalZoom, it is often this legal compliance which is overlooked by founders, as they attempt to stay “lean” and “scrappy.”  As discussed below, however, non-compliance with certain laws and regulations could lead to founders’ criminal liability.

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The Biggest Legal Mistakes That Startups Make – Part 2

by Scott Edward Walker on May 27th, 2011

Below is a video of the presentation I made a few weeks ago at CoLoft in Santa Monica (referred to in the tech community as “Silicon Beach”); it is part 2 of 2 of “The Biggest Legal Mistakes That Startups Make.”  You can watch part 1 here.  I hope you enjoy it.  Cheers, Scott

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Biggest Legal Mistakes That Startups Make – Part 1

by Scott Edward Walker on May 13th, 2011

Below is a video of my presentation a couple of months ago at a TechZulu event at CoLoft in Santa Monica. I hope you enjoy it (despite the audio issues); it starts at the 9:43 mark. Cheers, Scott (more…)

Do More Faster – Part I

by Scott Edward Walker on March 9th, 2011

Introduction


I just finished reading the book Do More Faster, which is a collection of blog posts/articles by successful entrepreneurs and investors edited by David Cohen, the founder and CEO of TechStars, and Brad Feld, the managing director of Foundry Group.  As Brad noted on his blog: “Our goal was to write a unique book full of useful information for any early stage entrepreneur.  Rather than give advice or simply tell an entrepreneurial success story, we decided to blend the experience of the TechStars entrepreneurs and the TechStars mentors in an organized fashion.”

Below are a few nuggets from the first half of the book; I will share some second-half quotes in my next post.  Cheers, Scott

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Tips re Letters of Intent

by Scott Edward Walker on December 8th, 2010

Introduction

This post was originally part of my “Ask the Attorney” series which I am writing for VentureBeat (one of my favorite websites for entrepreneurs).  Below is a longer, more comprehensive version.  Please shoot me any questions you may have in the comments section (or via the “Ask Scott Any Question” link if you prefer confidential treatment).  Many thanks, Scott

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How Do I Raise Seed Capital If I Don’t Know Any Investors? (Part 3) – AngelList

by Scott Edward Walker on November 10th, 2010

Introduction

This post is part 3 of my three-part series: “How do I raise seed capital if I don’t know any investors?”  In part 1, I discussed the importance of hustling and building relationships in order to get warm introductions to investors.  In part 2, I discussed some of the different mentorship and seed capital programs, including Y Combinator and TechStars.  In this post, I will discuss applying directly to a relatively new site called “AngelList.”

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Five Common Mistakes with Co-Founders

by Scott Edward Walker on November 2nd, 2010

Introduction

This post was originally part of my weekly “Ask the Attorney” series which I am writing for VentureBeat (one of my favorite websites for entrepreneurs).  Below is a longer, more comprehensive version.  Please shoot me any questions you may have in the comments section – or feel free to call me directly at 415-979-9998.

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How Do I Raise Seed Capital If I Don’t Know Any Investors? – Part 2

by Scott Edward Walker on October 20th, 2010

Introduction

This post is part 2 of my three-part series: “How do I raise seed capital if I don’t know any investors?”  In part 1, I discussed the importance of hustling and building relationships in order to get warm introductions to investors.  In this post, I will discuss a different approach: applying to one of the mentorship/seed capital programs.

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How Do I Raise Seed Capital If I Don’t Know Any Investors? – Part 1

by Scott Edward Walker on October 13th, 2010

Introduction

As a corporate lawyer for entrepreneurs, I am constantly asked by first-time entrepreneurs: “How do I raise seed capital if I don’t know any investors?”  That’s a good question, which I’m going to answer in three parts.  This post is part 1 – hustle and build relationships.

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5 Common Mistakes in Pitch Decks

by Scott Edward Walker on September 29th, 2010

Introduction

Pitch Deck

As a corporate lawyer for entrepreneurs, I am often asked to review “pitch decks” or “decks.”  A deck is a collection of PowerPoint slides created by founders to raise funds from investors.  The deck can be sent to investors as a stand-alone document (e.g., via email) or it can be used in conjunction with an in-person presentation.  I am generally happy to give my input with respect to decks — with the caveat that I’m a lawyer, not an investor.  That being said, here are five common mistakes that I often see:

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Dear Entrepreneurs: Choose Your Own Legal Counsel

by Scott Edward Walker on September 8th, 2010

Introduction

The purpose of this post is expand upon my answer to the question on Quora:

“What should you do as a startup when a Bay Area VC insists that you use their expensive legal counsel?”

Mark Suster, a VC at GRP Partners, has also written and spoken about how he likes to “share” his legal counsel with the startup in which he is investing.  My advice to entrepreneurs is clear: push back hard on this issue and choose your own strong, independent legal counsel – i.e., a law firm that’s going to work hard to protect you and watch your back.

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Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed: Marc Andreessen

by Scott Edward Walker on August 23rd, 2010

To Our Clients & Friends: Welcome to our weekly series entitled “Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed.”  Each week, we post a short video clip of a successful entrepreneur, investor or business leader on a variety of topics to help entrepreneurs succeed.

This week, we present Marc Andreessen, a brilliant entrepreneur and co-founder and general partner of the venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz; he is also co-founder and chairman of Ning.  In this interesting, three-minute clip (courtesy of Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship Corner), Marc discusses (i) how to attract top talent to your startup and (ii) the hiring process generally.  I hope you enjoy it.  Many thanks, Scott

What Are the 5 Biggest Mistakes that Startups Make Regarding IP?

by Scott Edward Walker on August 18th, 2010

Introduction

This post was originally part of my “Ask the Attorney” series which I am writing for VentureBeat (one of my favorite websites for entrepreneurs).  Below is a longer, more comprehensive version.

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Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed: Larry Page

by Scott Edward Walker on June 29th, 2010

To Our Clients & Friends:  Welcome to our weekly series entitled “Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed.”  Each week, we post a short video presentation or interview of a successful entrepreneur, investor or business leader on a variety of topics to help entrepreneurs succeed.

Today, as a bonus to yesterday’s presentation by Keith Rabois, we have Larry Page, co-founder of Google and a brilliant entrepreneur, from a 2002 presentation at Stanford (courtesy of Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship Corner).  In this interesting, 4-minute excerpt, Larry discusses, among other things, the importance of (i) having great people involved with your venture; (ii) becoming an “expert” in your space/domain; (iii) having a “healthy disregard for the impossible”; and (iv) not starting a company because the space is “hot.”  I hope you enjoy it.  Thanks, Scott

“Ask the Business Attorney”: What’s Wrong with a Sole Proprietorship?

by Scott Edward Walker on June 23rd, 2010

Introduction

This post was originally part of my “Ask the Attorney” series which I am writing for VentureBeat (one of the most popular websites for entrepreneurs); it is part 2 of 3 of my posts on choice of entity.  Last week (in part 1), I discussed what’s wrong with an LLC.  This week I address what’s wrong with a sole proprietorship; and next week I’ll address what’s wrong with a partnership.  Please shoot me any questions you may have in the comments section.  Many thanks, Scott

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Ask the Business Attorney – What Is an Employee Stock Option?

by Scott Edward Walker on June 2nd, 2010

Introduction

This post was originally part of my weekly “Ask the Attorney” series which I am writing for VentureBeat (one of the most popular websites for entrepreneurs).  Below is a longer, more comprehensive version.  Please shoot me any questions you may have in the comments section.  Many thanks, Scott

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Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed: Jeff Clavier

by Scott Edward Walker on May 20th, 2010

To Our Clients & Friends:  Welcome to our new weekly series entitled “Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed.”  Each week, we will post a short video interview of a successful entrepreneur, investor or business leader on a variety of relevant topics to help entrepreneurs succeed.

Earlier this week, we presented Naval Ravikant.  Today (as a bonus interview for this week), we present Jeff Clavier, the founder and Managing Partner of SoftTech VC, who discusses what he looks for in startups (“it’s people, product, market”) and diligence issues.  I hope you enjoy it.  Thanks, Scott

“Ask the Attorney” – Series FF Stock

by Scott Edward Walker on April 21st, 2010

Introduction

This post is part of my weekly “Ask the Attorney” series which I am writing for VentureBeat (one of the most popular websites for entrepreneurs).  As the VentureBeat Editor notes on the site: “Ask the Attorney is a new VentureBeat feature allowing start-up owners to get answers to their legal questions.”  Below is a longer, more comprehensive version.  Please give me your input in the comments section.  Many thanks, Scott

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