The Startup Package Process at SU

The Startup Package Process at SU

The Startup Packages are pre-negotiated with our trusted legal expert network. This step-by-step Process Guide takes you through each step of the Packages to help you understand what’s coming, what to ask about, what your different options are, and highlights areas where we think it’s particularly important to get a lawyer’s advice.


Introduction

The Startup Packages cover all the bases when it comes to legal coverage for getting your startup going. This step-by-step Process Guide takes you through each step of the Packages to help you understand what’s coming, what to ask about, what your different options are, and highlights areas where we think it’s particularly important to get a lawyer’s advice.


Related Services

Startup Basic

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The Startup Package consists of legal advice and services to help you with the basic setup of your business, including the creation of a corporate entity and allocation of shares to the founders.

Startup Plus

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The Startup Package consists of legal advice and services to help you with the setup of your business, including the creation of a corporate entity and allocation of shares to the founders, hire employees and contractors and protect business information.

Provisional Patent

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File a provisional patent application. This establishes an early filing date for the invention, and can mature into an issued patent if the applicant files a regular non-provisional patent application within one year.


Submitting your Help Request

1. Every interaction begins with submitting a help request.

  • To protect your privacy, lawyers at this point do not see your identity, only whatever information you include in your help request submission.
  • To help a lawyer gauge their ability to help, include as many non-confidential details as you can, such as your industry area, your fundraising situation, and what your most pressing needs are.

2. Lawyers will respond to you to express interest and may offer some initial useful information. 

3. You then review and choose which lawyers you’d like to be introduced to.

4. You can then schedule your free consultation and learn more about your issue. 

 


Your Free Consultations

A few useful things to bear in mind during your free consultation:

  • Sharing ahead of time: Some things you can send in advance of a free consultation to save time are:
    • background information about your startup, including business plans and team make-up;
    • information about any existing legal help you’ve received; and
    • lawyers may send you additional intake forms to collect additional useful information.
  • Conflict checks: Lawyers carry out conflict checks ahead of a consultation. If there is a potential conflict, lawyers are under a duty to let you know.
  • No obligation: You’re under no obligation to commit to anything with a lawyer and lawyers are under no obligation to take you as a client.
  • Needs and Goals: Lawyers use the time to try and assess your needs and develop potential solutions with you to meet your goals. You can use the time to get a feel for whether a lawyer understands your needs and goals. 
  • Confidentiality: Assume you can share openly with a lawyer, unless you are informed by the lawyer about a potential conflict of interest. In any consultation with a lawyer who might actually act as your lawyer, anything you tell that lawyer is confidential and generally protected by attorney-client privilege. 
  • Proposals: Following each consultation lawyers will send you package proposals priced and  scoped to meet your needs.
  • Engagement Letters: If you accept a proposal, a lawyer will send you their engagement letter which sets out the terms on which a lawyer becomes your lawyer.

VIDEO: What should I consider ahead of my first consultation with a startup lawyer?


Formation Advice

  • Advice on appropriate corporate form            
  • Verification of name availability            

Choosing a Startup Package gives you access to a lawyer’s experience and guidance. If you are in any doubt at all about what kind of entity you would like to create for your business (e.g. you have questions about the different potential tax advantages), getting good advice from a lawyer is invaluable, and will save you time and money down the road.

The first step in the Startup Package process will involve your lawyer going into more detail around your needs and goals so as to give you legal advice on what would be the appropriate form for your startup. Do talk about or send across in advance any specific questions you have, for example if you’re interested in founder preferred stock, mission-anchoring constitutions, or any other more tailored formation processes.

With the Startup Package, you get all the advice, documentation and filings taken care of by a highly-regarded lawyer at a flat-fee, affordable price.


Documentation

All Startup Packages include costs for advice and work on the creation of documentation for your new entity:

  • Drafting of board approval for the incorporation            
  • Drafting of bylaws for the corporation            
  • Drafting of indemnification agreement for directors and officers
  • Drafting corporate records and a minute book            
  • Drafting of stock certificates and receipts    
  • Drafting of board approval for stock issuance

Most Silicon Valley startups choose to go with a Delaware C-corp, a standard corporate 

form that is well-recognized and amenable to raising funds from investors. The documentation for this kind of setup can be fairly standard and most lawyers on in the SU trusted network use some form of document automation to save on time and costs. A lawyer’s experience and advice will be particularly important if you have sought to include special provisions around mission-anchoring or different classes of stock.

Other business entity types may require slightly different documentation, which your lawyer will go through with you as part of this step.


Filing

The Startup Packages include the costs for taking care of the appropriate filings with government agencies:

  • Filing of certificate of incorporation        
  • Filing of IRS form for an employer identification number            
  • Filing to do business as a foreign corporation

The fees charged by different government agencies vary and will be clearly displayed in addition to the base Package cost.


Registered Agent Registration

Startup packages include costs for registering your new entity with a registered agent and the first year’s annual fee. Annual fees range from $49 to over $200. You can check with your lawyer that they’re using an agent which is right for you. Many online incorporation services obfuscate this aspect of getting set up and make their profits from registering new entities with high-cost registered agents, and then taking an annual cut of the fee. Within the SU community, you can be assured that we’re looking out for your best interests.

A registered agent is the liaison between your company and the state in which it is incorporated. Registered agents are responsible for receiving and forwarding to you legal documents and correspondence from the relevant government agency in a timely fashion. Some examples of documents received and forwarded are franchise tax reports, late notices, void notices from the secretary of state, and service of process for legal actions against your company.

Having a registered agent is generally required by law. In addition, it allows you to retain your confidentiality. (Without a registered agent, your personal information would be on public record).  A registered agent also allows you to focus on conducting your business, rather than having to worry about keeping track of certain legal documents and correspondence from the government.    


Advanced Company Setup

Choose the Startup Package Plus if you are a startup ready to have a lawyer work with your startup to put in place standard agreements between founders and with your team. It is ideal for cofounders bringing on employees or advisors.  This package includes advice around obtaining and documenting appropriate IP assignments from your team to your company, and documentation and advice around stock grants and an initial stock option plan. 

  • Drafting of restricted stock purchase agreements        
  • Drafting tax filings (83(b)) for restricted stock            
  • Drafting Equity incentive plan and form of stock option agreement    
  • Drafting board approval for equity incentive plan and stock option agreement        
  • Drafting stock option grants            
  • Drafting board approval for stock option grants    
  • Drafting offer letter for employees            
  • Drafting employment agreement            
  • Drafting consulting agreement            
  • Drafting intern agreement
  • Drafting non-disclosure agreement        
  • Drafting advisor agreement

The documentation noted above is standard with regards to incorporations. Where you have chosen or advised to pursue an alternative, for example the LLC Formation or Non-Profit route, your lawyer will scope your Startup Package Plus to the appropriate documentation.


General Counsel Services

Add a General Counsel package if you’re starting your business and hitting the ground running. If you’ve already got potential customers and partners, make sure you have trusted legal support to help get the commercial agreements and IP protection in place.

  • Up to 20 General counsel hours - Valid for up to 3 months    
  • Day-to-day commercial legal help
  • Reviewing and drafting contracts            
  • Ensuring that your business structure is accomplishing your goals            
  • Protecting your intellectual property with trademarks and copyrights            
  • Ensuring your marketing materials are complying with legal requirements        
  • Reviewing your employment procedures to avoid exposure
  • Management of specialist attorneys and billing review.

If you choose one of the Startup Packages, you can easily add on a General Counsel Package of 20, 40 or 60 hours, to fully engage a lawyer on your team. There is no comparison to having a trusted general counsel who understands your business and with the network, experience and advice to help you achieve your goals.


Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property protection comes in various forms. Check out our Guide to learn more and talk to your lawyer about what protections you should be considering. If you’ve chosen a General Counsel package, your lawyer will advise and help you with trademark and copyright issues. Patent protection is generally an area for specialist lawyers. 

Submit a request for a provisional patent package to talk to a specialist patent lawyer about whether seeking patent protection would support your business goals.


Website Legal Policies

Website legal policies are necessary for any startup that is attracting users and customers through an online web presence. If you know you will need these, be sure to mention to the lawyers you speak with who can easily add these to your Startup Package. Alternatively, you can submit a request for a Website Legal Policies Package at any time, once you’ve got your website up and going.


Your User Experience

We’ve designed the SU legal platform so that you can rest assured of a consistent, quality experience, whenever you choose to work with a lawyer in our network.

  • All SU network lawyers adhere to commitments around client service and responsiveness. 
  • We do upfront interviews and continually monitor the performance of lawyers in the network. 
  • Lawyers in the network are committed to offering flat fee legal service packages wherever possible, to help you manage and control your costs.
  • Lawyers in the network continually monitor best practices and useful legal technology to improve efficiency and effectiveness, while continually reducing costs to you.

As part of every interaction with a lawyer in the SU network, whether a free consultation or an engagement around a Package, we will ask you for feedback about your experience. Lawyers will also check-in with you at regular intervals to check-in on your progress and around any further needs you might have. These touch points and contributions are invaluable for our entire community.