There are a lot of legal, financial, and strategic concepts that early-stage startup founders are better-off learning at their own pace and on their own time, instead of paying a lawyer or other advisor to explain them – often very inarticulately. Conversations with a startup lawyer are also much more effective when the founder has a solid grasp of these concepts from the beginning.
Below is a curated compilation of what I consider to be the web’s best advice to startup entrepreneurs, which I frequently draw from in counseling my own clients. To the extent there’s material you think should be on here, please feel free to suggest it via the comments, or reach me on twitter.
SHL – Startup Articles – My Public Evernote Collection
Term Sheet – A Quora board that I’m a frequent contributor to.
- SHL – Form your Austin Startup yourself before hiring a cheap lawyer
- SHL – Fully automated startup formations via Clerky
- Harvard Business Review – Top Ten Legal Mistakes Made by Entrepreneurs
- Yokum Taku – When should I incorporate?
- SHL – Should I incorporate in Texas or Delaware?
- Dan Shapiro – Vesting is a Hack
- Venture Hacks – How to pick a co-founder
- SHL – What’s my startup’s stock worth? (FMV)
- Antone Johnson – 5 IP Mistakes to Avoid
- Jill Hubbard – How to avoid trademark infringement when choosing a name.
- Startup Law Blog – Top 10 employment law tips for startups
- Upstart – 7 Common Tax Mistakes Startups Make
- Joe Wallin – 12 reasons for a Startup Not to be an LLC
- Geekwire – Calculating Founders’ Equity
- Startup Voice – Documenting startup expenses by founders
- Ryan Roberts – What is an option pool?
- SHL – The Founder’s Stock Issuance
- Docracy – It’s OK to copy a competitor’s Terms of Service
- SHL – When do I “really” need to qualify my DE Startup in Texas?
- Noam Wasserman – Book – Founders’ Dilemmas
Financing – Fundraising Issues
- Cap Table Management – Capography
- Ryan Spoon – How to create an early-stage pitch deck
- Information Arbitrage: VC Funding v. Crowdfunding
- SHL – Bridges or Seeds? A primer on your first financing
- Gust – 10 Entrepreneur comments that kill investor deals
- Aaron Hall – A Primer for Raising Funds on AngelList
- TechCrunch – Things entrepreneurs should avoid when raising capital
- Chris Dixon – What’s the right amount of seed money to raise?
- Ryan Roberts – How convertible notes work
- Venture Hacks – How do we set a valuation for a seed round?
- Quora – What are the top qualities to look for in an angel investor?
- Venture Alley – What is due diligence?
- Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson – Book – Venture Deals
- Venture Hacks – The Option Pool Shuffle
- SHL – The Need for a Seed Lead
- AngelList – Valuation Database
Equity, Compensation & Hiring Issues
- Joe Wallin – Stock Option Grant Checklist
- Brad Feld – How many stock options should I give an advisor?
- Brad Feld – Compensation for Board Members
- Mark Suster – Understanding how dilution affects you at a startup
- AngelList – Startup Equity & Compensation Tool
- Yokum Taku – Should a company allow early exercise of stock options?
- Elaine Wherry – The recruiter honeypot
- David Weekly – An introduction to Stock & Options
- OnStartups – How should a startup founder/CEO pay herself?
- Joe Wallin – Don’t “Defer” Compensation in Times of Trouble
- VentureBeat – Five Compensation-Related Mistakes Startups Should Avoid
Corporate Governance Issues
- Mark Suster – Running More Effective Board Meetings
- Mark Suster – 8 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Investors and Your Board
- OnStartups – The Why and How of Updating Angel Investors
- Scott Walker – 10 tips for selling a startup company
- Joe Wallin – “Golden Parachute” taxes on founders in an exit context
- Chris Dixon – Three types of acquisitions
- Antone Johnson – Nuts and Bolts of Intellectual Property Law
- TechCrunch – 10 ways startups can deal with patent troll demands
- UpCounsel – How to Register a Trademark
- Markify – Free, High Quality Trademark Searches
Product – Business Model Issues
- S3 Ventures – Operating Model Template
- Marty Cagan – Book – Inspired: How to create products customers love
- Eric Ries – Book – The Lean Startup
- Saul Berman – Book – Not For Free: Revenue strategies for a new world
- Seth Levien – Pricing Models and the Freemium Myth
- Dave McClure – Startup Metrics for Pirates
- Quora – What is involved in a startup “scaling?”
- David Skok – Startup Killer: The Cost of Customer Acquisition
- OnStartups – Building it is not enough: 5 practical tips on customer acquisition
- Bostinno – The Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page
- GigaOm – What makes a free trial work, or not?
- An A List Apart – In Defense of Eye Candy
- Mark Suster – Why Startups Need a Strategy
- Paul Graham – Do things that don’t scale.
Startup Law Practice – Legal Technology
- SHL – In Startup Law, Big Can Be Beautiful
- Jason Mendelson – It’s the hours, not the rate.
- SHL – The Economic Deflation of Startup Law
- SHL – DIY Startup Legal Tech: Self Diagnosis v. Self Treatment
- SHL – Integrated Startup Law – Specialists Matter
- SHL – The Cost of “Staging” Your Startup Lawyers
Other Issues – Recommended Reading
Antone Johnson – Legal issues relating to user behavior on your website/network
Steve Blank – Startup Tools