Cofounder Legal Challenges and Solutions

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When you join a startup, especially if it is your first, you are going to be overwhelmed by complicated legal and financial issues that you’ve never had to deal with before.

What is a corporation? Who owns and controls it and how does it operate?

What are stock options? What is founder stock? What’s the difference between the two? What is vesting? How can you tell if your grant is fair and equitable? What is dilution?

What happens if things don’t go as planned? What happens if you leave the company? Can you be let go and for what reasons?

What should you expect in a typical cofounder agreement? What are some other types of equity arrangements? What is slicing pie?

How can you tell if you are a good fit for the startup? What are some of the warning signs of a doomed founder/cofounder relationship?

Are cofounders expectd to work without a salary? For how long? What are the legal and financial consequences of this? How does that affect the distribution of equity?

What is intellectual property and how does your participation in a startup affect your rights to your intellectual creations? What happens when ideas are created collaboratively?

Seffi Kaminitz is the founder of Kaminitz Law ( ), a Silicon Valley firm that exclusively represents technology startups. Seffi has over fifteen years of experience advising technology companies, serial entrepreneurs, and investors in a wide range of corporate and commercial matters, and has supported many founders with their startup ventures from seed to exit. Seffi has worked previously as a senior member of a large firm and as in house counsel for a VC, during which he developed a unique perspective on strategic business matters that mixes legal requirements, business considerations, and technology. Kaminitz Law’s practice focuses on startup formation, capitalization, VC funding, mergers and acquisitions, as well as complex licensing commercial transactions related to internet-based and SaaS technology. Mr. Kaminitz also works with foreign startup and growth stage companies in establishing a presence in the U.S.

Karl-Heinz Lachnit is an attorney with Ferrari Ottoboni Caputo & Wunderling LLP ( ). He represent clients in mergers and acquisitions, corporate formation, angel and venture financing, securities law compliance, corporate governance and general business counseling. Also represent clients in raising capital and structuring complex transactions as well as advising management groups, board of directors and investors in developing and executing their business strategies. Served as counsel on over 100 mergers and acquisitions transactions, private and public offerings of equity, debt and convertible securities. These transactions have ranged from initial seed financing, venture financing, private equity financings and recapitalizations ranging from the high six figures to more than $500 million. His specialties include: Corporate and securities law for technology and emerging growth companies, mature industries, angel funds and venture capital firms.

Steven Swernofsky is an intellectual property lawyer Steven Swernofsky combines his extensive knowledge of law, technology, and business to create extremely valuable IP portfolios, thus providing clients with a positive ROI on their legal dollars. As Managing Partner​ at Los Altos Law, Mr. Swernofsky has established the firm as a profit center for our clients'​ legal portion of their technology development. We are easily pluggable into any legal or R&D department.

$5 in advance / $10 at the door (Hacker Dojo members can attend at no charge but must RSVP)