April GTAN|RAW and Education Session Recap

On Tuesday, April 3rd, GTAN members and special guests met at Conestoga College for an Education Session, followed by our monthly GTAN|RAW event. Todd Bisset and his colleague Samantha Santos joined us from the MTech Team at Miller Thomson to present, “So You Think You Want to be a Tech Startup? A Lawyer’s Perspective.”

Todd Bissett is a Partner at Miller Thomson with many years of experience, along with immense training in America’s well-known tech hub of Silicon Valley. Bissett designed the presentation to benefit all attendees. The goal of the session was to educate both current and future founders about legal pitfalls that Bissett and his team have seen when it comes to building startups.

Bissett used the term ‘Legal Heebie Jeebies’ to describe the fear or barriers that entrepreneurs face when seeking legal services. For example, your startup may be ready to incorporate, finalize a company name or create a shareholder agreement. Each of these actions tends to require legal assistance. Unfortunately, many startups choose to hold off on important legal steps in the early stages of their company due to the cost or their lack of time, which ultimately causes significant issues down the road.

Specific areas where Bissett has seen issues include: the startup failed to incorporate early enough, failed to have founders make a shareholder agreement, waited to get IP protection or waited to get funding before tackling legal issues. When it comes to getting your startup the legal services it needs, the key takeaway is:

 

“It will cost much less to get it right at the beginning

than to sort it out later and correct it.” – Todd Bissett

 

Many startups hesitate when it comes to accessing legal services. For this reason, Bissett identified what the real costs are of legal bootstrapping during the latter part of the session. Todd and Samantha also took several questions from the audience, making the experience informative, engaging and interactive. The presentation closed with ‘How to Build a Solid Legal Framework’ when you are a startup with limited financial resources. The key is to have a legal framework that grows and evolves with your company.

GTAN|RAW followed the Education Session, where seven early-stage companies had the opportunity to pitch to attendees and experts for feedback. The experienced panel included (left to right) David Rich, Hugh Rooney and Todd Bissett, who provided helpful advice to the founders. 

Attendees had the opportunity to hear pitches from seven entrepreneurs. The companies presented included: Justo, SoundScape.ioEngagement Agents, Forward Thinking Home Designs and Renovations, JropLoad Army and Novalte.


Think GTAN|RAW is the perfect place to pitch your idea? Would you like to attend as an audience member? Contact michelle@gtan.ca. The next GTAN|RAW event will take place on May 8th at 5 p.m. at Innovation Guelph. Learn more about us on our website.

 

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