We had the opportunity to sit down with Greg Raiten, General Counsel at 500 Startups, to discuss some of the challenges he faces when it comes to being part of a startup accelerator and venture capital fund. As you can imagine, his work spans across many levels from being a general business advisor to small startups to dealing with 500’s legal work internationally. It takes a great deal of dedication to wear multiple hats, but Greg has no problem juggling them all.
Most entrepreneurs need some type of financial assistance when getting their business off the ground. Small business loans and grants provide great opportunities, but where do you start and how do you know which grants you qualify for?
Lyft, the San Francisco based ride sharing company, has sued its former COO Travis VanderZanden for allegedly stealing confidential information before leaving the company to take on a new position as Uber’s VP of International Growth. Lyft alleges in its complaint that VanderZanden downloaded private company product and financial information to his Dropbox account before he left. They have also included in the complaint that VanderZanden tried to recruit other Lyft employees to join him at Uber.
As the song goes, “Breaking up is hard to do.” You know you have to do it, you lose sleep over it, yet you can come up with a million ways to procrastinate and not end it. When the time finally comes, you take a deep breath and pray that you’re doing the right thing. No, this isn’t a high school break up. This breakup involves your lawyer.
The Internet has certainly made life a lot easier when it comes to running a business. Valuable time wasted by chatting at the water cooler has been replaced by social media and timely emails. Those bulky, ugly grey metal filing cabinets no longer take up half the square footage of your office space. You can access all of your files and records via laptop or a mobile device from pretty much anywhere in the world. Landfills are hopefully a little less massive with the increasing use of social media and online marketing and the downturn of junk mail. Yep, our computers and the web have made business more efficient and streamlined…. or has it?
It’s impossible to do business these days without using the Internet. It’s where we meet clients, send purchase orders, research market trends, and even store our data. Many times we don’t think about security breaches or copyright infringement unless it comes up in the news. After all, the chances of having a company who owns the rights to a logo or design that you may have used find your website among the 3.19 billion other websites is like finding a needle in all of the haystacks that ever existed. They may not see your website, but what if they do? It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Our lives are consumed by social media and a huge part of success for small businesses and startups comes from exposure on social media. Even solo artists, photographers, and independent filmmakers rely on Facebook, Pinterest, and other sources of social media to boost their careers. However, there is a huge problem looming that is causing controversy – copyright infringement has become more and more prevalent on these sites, and more specifically on Facebook.
Copyright laws and the Internet seem almost at odds. After all, how can anyone monitor the over half a billion (yes, billion) websites that exist? Moreover, if your original work does end up on another’s website, how do you file suit? Then again, if someone sends you a DMCA Takedown Notice, what the heck is it and is it binding?
The way we do business has vastly changed compared to just a decade ago. While business men and women used to carry large briefcases and quarters for the pay phone, now we can access all of our information regarding payroll, purchase orders, inventory spreadsheets, and end of day summaries from our mobile device. The reason that we have this incredible advantage is because of the Internet “cloud.” So what exactly is the cloud and is your information safe?
One of the biggest indicators of a successful startup or company are its employees. Without hard-working and dedicated employees who believe in your cause, it will be very hard to lead your company to the top. Unfortunately as part of the growing process, finding these type of employees isn’t always the easiest task and it may come time to let a certain employee or two go. To protect yourself and your company when firing an employee, you can take the following precautions: