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[Startup University] Startup Basics: Common Mistakes and Pitfalls to Avoid

Are you ready to launch a new venture? Or are you currently running a new startup? 

Come to join Hanhai's Startup University workshop series. 

In this workshop, we will address startup basics and go over some of the major legal issues that can have implications on the startup's chances of success. The objective of the workshop is to present and discuss crucial issues that entrepreneurs and startup executives are concerned with, from both legal and practical perspectives. 

The discussion will cover properly classifying and paying workers, recordkeeping, hiring, and discipline. We will also talk about real life examples of common legal mishaps by startups that caused significant issues with investment and acquisition opportunities later down the road, including common issues regarding corporate formation and equity issuances, copyright, trademarks and taxes.

Sebastian's presentation will address the following topics: Pitfalls associated with using “independent contractors; Whether to classify an employee as exempt or non-exempt from overtime; Ensuring employees you classify as exempt actually meet the requirements of an exemption; Legal requirements and practical advice for firing an employee or independent contractor;  Common legal claims by former employees and what to do if you get a demand letter from one that threatens litigation; Tips on employment law housekeeping prior to a VC financing or liquidity event.


• 1:00pm Introduction Sean Peng, Bay Area Chinese Entrepreneurs & Startups

• 1:05pm Opening Remarks Hanhai Investment Inc

• 1:10pm Common Pitfalls Early Stage Companies Should Avoid to Maximize Investment and Acquisition Opportunities Aaron Belcher, Corporate and M&A Attorney

• 1:40pm Common Mistakes by New Employers - And How to Avoid Them Sebastian Miller, Goodwin Procter LLP

• 2:10pm Q & A

• 2:20pm Adjourn

About Speakers

Aaron Belcher is an experienced corporate and M&A practitioner in the technology sector, having advised clients in a wide number of industries, including software, semiconductors, internet, e-commerce, data security, social networking, gaming, life sciences and clean tech. Aaron’s practice has included both domestic and cross-border acquisitions, tender offers, auctions, asset purchases, securities, corporate governance advice and emerging companies work. Prior to founding APB Law, Aaron practiced for several years at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP’s Palo Alto office, providing corporate and M&A legal services to technology clients. Aaron obtained his B.A. from the University of Michigan and his J.D. from NYU Law School, where he was an editor on the Environmental Law Journal. Aaron is admitted to practice in both California and New York.

Margaret J. Groveris a trained and experienced mediator who enjoys resolving litigated cases and workplace disputes. She received her primary mediation training at Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. She has 15 years of dispute resolution experience and nearly 30 years representing and advising employers on all aspects of employment law. Her areas of emphasis, in addition to dispute resolution, include personnel policies and procedures, human resources and employment consulting, workplace training and investigations, and employment litigation. Ms. Grover also speaks frequently on  employment related issues for a variety of business and professional organizations.

Sebastian Miller is an associate in the firm’s Litigation Department and a member of its Labor & Employment Practice.  Mr. Miller joined Goodwin Procter in 2012. Mr. Miller is a member of the Honorable William A. Ingram American Inn of Court. Mr. Miller is admitted to practice in California and New York, and before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Northern Districts of California. While in law school, Mr. Miller was selected as a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics, was awarded the D. Francis Bustin Prize (2008) and won the K. William Kolbe Student Writing Competition, sponsored by ABA Section of Public Utility Law (2008).

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Our Sponsors

  • SV Café

    SV Café, a Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship and Crowdfunding Platform

  • Hanhai Investment Inc.

    Hanhai Investment, a subsidiary Incubation Company of Hanhaizhiye Group.

  • InnoSpring

    The Silicon Valley’s first US-China technology start-up incubator.

  • GMIC Silicon Valley

    GMIC Silicon Valley- The largest mobile internet conference in SV

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