Thoughts on startups by investors that
fund them & entrepreneurs that run them

Category Archives: Industry Experts

Second-Class Investor Citizens: Facebook’s IPO and Dual-Class Equity Structures

Dual-class voting structures are receiving a lot of attention these days along with intense publicity related to the Facebook IPO, following in the wake of other recent tech IPOs with a similar structure such as Zynga and LinkedIn.  This is nothing new; long favored by family-controlled media empires such as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, among Internet firms alone, Google took

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5 Traits Investors Look for in Entrepreneurs

What do investors look for in an entrepreneur? This month I’ve been reviewing submissions for my local angel group. I found this excellent list of 14 Ways to be a Great Startup CEO, posted at OnStartups by Jason Baptiste. And that reminded me of my own list, 10 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs, which I posted a few years ago, before I joined

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Forget Crowdfunding: Why JOBS Matters

Posted by on April 6th, 2012

Most all the talk about the JOBS bill is about crowdfunding, seeding, and the ability to advertise private placements.  In my mind, other provisions are the really big news for young companies.

Those are the expansion of the size limits for “Reg A” offerings, and the newly created “regulatory on-ramp.”  Together, these have re-opened a door to capital that’s been boarded

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Crowdfunding Back On Track — As Milk Train, Not TGV

Last week I penned an in-depth critique of the portion of the JOBS Act seeking to legalize crowdfunding in the United States.  The bill, which may have more to do with political grandstanding in an election year than with actual job creation, was approved by a strong bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives. As I argued last week, the

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Blogger About Angel Investment: “Confused, Scared, and More Than a Little Ashamed”

Now there’s a great title for a blog post. Writing about angel investment, on his Portland-based Silicon Forest entrepreneurship etc. blog, Rick Turozcy titled his post: I’m confused, scared, and more than a little ashamed. Don’t even try to tell me that doesn’t make you curious. Rick’s a smart guy, very well known in Portland (OR), and his blog matters. So

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The Great Crowdfunding Train Wreck of 2013

The verb “to disrupt” in all its forms is rightly popular in the startup world.  To many entrepreneurs, few things are as personally satisfying (or as lucrative) as disrupting an entrenched, complacent, monopolistic, inefficient or stagnant market in ways that often empower consumers and producers alike.  Consumer Internet and mobile technology businesses continue to be rife with opportunities for disruption.

On

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Nickel-and-Dimed to Life: Franchise Tax, Registered Agents and Filing Fees

Early stage startups understandably seek to minimize corporate overhead and devote every penny to customer development, engineering, marketing and so forth.  Nevertheless, if you want or need the benefits of a business entity such as a corporation or LLC, there are some unavoidable expenses associated with their “care and feeding.”  (Legal expenses are outside the scope of this post; my

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I don’t file for patent protection often, but when I do, it’s provisional.

OK, the Most Interesting Man’s isn’t a lawyer, and his view is a bit simplistic. But he does have a point: in many cases, provisional patent applications can provide useful and inexpensive (if short term) protection for your brilliant new idea.

Heart-Attack Tax Season for Delaware Startups

It’s that time of year again:  Tax season.  In addition to the headache of personal income taxes, entrepreneurs have to deal with business taxes.  Around this time each year, as sure as the sunrise, I get calls and messages from irate founders of new startups who received franchise tax bills from the State of Delaware for an insane amount like

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Rookie Cookies: Owning the Batter But Not the Chips

I’ve gotten on my soapbox before about the importance of forming a business entity as soon as there’s a new product or business worth protecting.  The most common messes encountered in my startup law practice involve founding teams that somehow never got the formation done right, including the contributions and assignments of intellectual property to the new company and the

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