Archive for the ‘Contracts’ Category

AlphaTakes – Series A Preferred Stock Term Sheet (part one)

In this first of a two part AlphaTakes video series, Matt Storms discusses the first half of the Series A Preferred Stock term sheet for an emerging technology company.  He provides a summary of some of the key terms of the Series A term sheet, using National Venture Capital Association (“NVCA”) model document.

Here are the key takeaways from this video:

  1. The NVCA documents are great resources for understanding the Series A financing, but are fairly investor friendly.
  2. Typical preferred stock dividend provisions alternatives include the following:
    • If and when paid to the common stock
    • Accruing and cumulative
    • If and when declared by the board
  3. Most common preferred stock liquidation preferences alternatives include the following:
    • Non-participating preferred
    • Participating preferred
    • Participating preferred with a cap
  4. Preferred stock typically includes special voting rights, such as designating one or more members to the company’s board of directors and veto rights over certain company actions.

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AlphaTakes – Incorporation Process for an Emerging Technology Company

Understanding the incorporation process is important for emerging company founders. In this AlphaTakes video, Macy Stoneback describes the incorporation process for a typical emerging technology company. She explains some reasons why it is important to properly complete the incorporation formalities:

  • Help ensure limited liability protection
  • Avoid delays and expense at the time of financing or sale in fixing matters that were not properly addressed at the time of incorporation
  • Set founder expectations

 

 

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Announcing AlphaTakes—Videos for Emerging Technology Companies

We are excited to announce that in coming weeks, we are starting a new video series called AlphaTakes. The goal of the initiative is to provide clients and others with background on the variety of recurring issues that emerging companies face through their development, from startup to sale.  Our hope is that the videos will supplement the existing articles for emerging technology companies that is already contained on our website.

Technology Company Startups

For startups, we plan to cover topics such as the incorporation process, allocating founder shares, common mistakes of startups, and calculating the stock option pool.  We have a number of other ideas as well, based on the questions we receive from entrepreneurs.

Scaling Technology Companies

For operating companies that are scaling, we plan to have videos that go over the different types of financing structures, common mistakes of software companies, the Series A Financing term sheet, liquidation preferences, and anti-dilution provisions.  As bringing on employee talent and contracting are important for scaling companies, we also plan to touch on issues related to employees and contracts.

Emerging Companies Considering Sale

For companies considering a potential sale, we plan to cover common sale transaction structures, how to prepare for a potential company sale, letters of intent, and use of investment bankers.  We also will look at some of the commonly negotiated terms in sale transactions as well as recurring issues that arise during the sale process.

If you have any suggestions on potential topics for us to cover in AlphaTakes, let us know!

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Wisconsin Incorporation Documents

We figured it was about time at least one law firm did it: we are making available publicly sample Wisconsin incorporation documents for an emerging technology company startup: http://alphatechcounsel.com/Wisconsin-Incorporation_Documents.html.  The documents include Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Restricted Stock Agreement, initial consents, Invention Assignment Agreement, etc.

Like many of our clients, we have developed a way to use technology to increase efficiency while providing value.  We prepared the suite of sample incorporation documents by selecting from alternatives of a significant number of variables that are available for the automated systems that we have developed internally.  We programmed these variables into our incorporation documents to help us prepare the documents efficiently and accurately. We are making these documents available for informational and reference purposes.

In addition to automating incorporation documents, we have also automated bridge financing documents, employment and consulting documents, equity grant documents, and confidential disclosure agreements, among others.

Hopefully the sample documents will prove to be a good reference source for Wisconsin emerging company startups.

by Matt Storms | Permalink | 1 Comment

 

Who Owns the Rights to Customer Feedback?

Suppose a customer proposes an idea to improve the software or SaaS offering of a company. The company likes the idea so much that it integrates the idea into its next upgrade. The question becomes, who owns the idea that is integrated into the software or SaaS offering?

As a general rule, the person who creates an idea, authored work, invention, or process, owns the related intellectual property.  There are exceptions to the general rule.  But, in the software and SaaS arena involving licensors and licensees, the general rule applies in most circumstances. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bridge Financing Documents

One of the sets of documents that we automated at AlphaTech is the bridge financing documents for an emerging company.  Attached is a sample of the documents: Convertible Note and Subscription Agreement

Instead of just using form documents as most law firms do, robust automation allows us to deliver common document sets for emerging companies in a more efficient manner.  So what else does “robust automation” yield?  It improves document accuracy, provides a valuable knowledgebase from which to draw, and enables us to deliver common document sets to our clients quickly.  It also frees up time of our lawyers to enable them to spend less time on basic contract drafting and more time on activities that afford our clients higher value. Read the rest of this entry »

by Matt Storms | Permalink | 1 Comment

 

LLC Choice of Entity for Emerging Technology Companies

The recent $1 Billion Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project Credit program will be a real benefit to many area small life science and medical device companies. A surprise to many though when reading the requirements of the program is that limited liability companies (LLCs) that have as an owner a tax-exempt organization are not eligible for a grant under the program. Having a tax-exempt organization as an owner is more common than one might think. Many university technology transfer offices, such as the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), are tax-exempt organizations and frequently hold an equity interest in the startups to which they license patents. As a result, those LLC biotech licensees are not eligible for a grant under the program. As the CEO of an LLC with which I work (but did not set up) said earlier this week about being excluded from eligibility, “Ouch! That stings! Another painful learning experience.”

LLCs are Typically Not the Best Choice of Entity for Emerging Technology Companies

The “LLC issue” for emerging companies extends well beyond this grant issue for therapeutic companies. I say this even though many attorneys recommend LLCs for virtually all contexts. Sure, LLCs have their place. I frequently advocate using them as holding companies, investment vehicles, and joint venture entities. Among other situations, it also can be appropriate to use them when there is a limited, small group of owners actively participating in the business or when the owners want to have a certain allocation of profits and losses that cannot be accomplished when using an S or C corporation. But for many emerging companies that have or plan to have outside investors, the LLC is often not the best choice of entity. Read the rest of this entry »

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