Escrow Services – Insurance for Intellectual Property Transactions

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Software, Web Services, Data Services and Fabless Semiconductor ventures are all examples of attractive opportunities for entrepreneurs. They all have low capital requirements for launching because the primary asset is IP or Intellectual Property. True, there is often someone’s personal savings, angel funds or perhaps even VC money needed to launch a company, but for startup companies producing IP it’s largely the human capital of dedicated and smart entrepreneurs that is the largest input factor.

Once your product is ready for market, the challenge of selling even the best IP can often be more difficult than creating it in the first place, particularly if your target customer is a medium to large enterprise. The sales cycle for enterprise B2B software or to get a fabless semiconductor design embedded in a larger SOC or System On a Chip, can be at least six months and often more than one year. Even after your product passes all the technical due diligence, it turns out that one of the main reasons a sale falls through is that it’s difficult for a startup company to convince the decision maker of a large enterprise that your company is viable enough to warrant a strategic relationship. Read more…

Hiring Contractors – Part 1

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Independent Contractors or Independent Consultants are people who do work for your company who are not employees, corporations or LLCs. Hiring independent contractors is attractive to startups because it allows them to quickly bring on talent without the headache of setting up payroll and benefits. Independent contractors also make it easy to bring people onboard for as long or as little as needed without worrying about employment laws that apply to hiring and discharging of regular employees. Without the added expense of benefits, matching FICA payments, and perhaps even office space and equipment, independent contractors can offer real savings and cash flow benefits to a startup organization.

But there are some legal pitfalls to hiring independent contractors that most startups (and many established companies for that matter) don’t understand. This post is the first of a three part series that helps to explain some of those potential pitfalls, so that you can make an informed decision before hiring an independent contractor. Read more…