Alese Stroud: Legal Issues for Women Startup Founders
By Alese Stroud
Roby Brock, executive producer and host of Talk Business, led a spirited panel of entrepreneurial lawyers in a discussion of key issues for startup founders at the Arkansas Venture Center’s Women Founders Meetup group on Monday, March 31st.
Twenty members of the Women Founders Meetup group showed up at the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce to hear Bryan Hosto, Amanda Denton and Jamie Fugitt talk about how attorneys can help startup founders find success and avoid problems.
In addition to being lawyers, the panelists are all involved with startups in some fashion and clearly understood the issues faced by someone starting a new venture. Bryan Hosto is a successful entrepreneur who splits his time between partnership in the Hosto & Buchan Law Firm and his interest in [IA client firms] RxResults and SFC Fluidics.
Amanda Denton practices at Mitchell Silverberg & Knupp, LLP where she advises on issues regarding intellectual property, copyrights, and trade policy. Jamie Fugitt practices law at PPGMR Law, PLLC, where he represents entrepreneurs, emerging companies and technology startups. Jamie is actively involved with The ARK Challenge and the Arkansas Motion Picture Institute.
Bryan emphasized the importance of legally separating your business from your personal activities. Regardless of the structure selected, it is critical to create a separate entity and to respect that entity financially by keeping unique accounts.
The panel discussed the importance of having professional agreements with your partners and your customers. Jamie cautioned against giving away ownership in any fashion that might get into securities law. Qualified legal advice is a must when working thru agreements involving ownership.
Amanda discussed the use of key codes as a technique for protecting software based intellectual property. She provided a high level overview of patent requirements and talked about the difference between copyrights and patents.
The primary take-away from this Meetup was the importance of seeking legal advice early and often to ensure that your startup is run safely and well.