Thoughts on startups by investors that
fund them & entrepreneurs that run them

Viewing all posts by Antone Johnson

user Antone Johnson Founding Principal,
Bottom Line Law Group

Antone is a business lawyer and executive advising technology and media companies, entrepreneurs and investors in corporate, commercial and intellectual property matters. Johnson is Founding Principal of Bottom Line Law Group, a business and IP law firm and was the former VP and head of worldwide legal affairs at eHarmony.

Thinner Slices of an Extra-Large Pizza: Mathematical vs. Economic Dilution of Startup Equity

Back from a hiatus, it’s time to venture forward once more.  I appreciated hearing from those who asked about upcoming posts.  Thanks in particular to the reader who reminded me that Part II of “Bored” of Directors Can Become Clash of Titans is still in the queue.

Let’s get right down to business: Dilution of founders’ and other early shareholders’ equity in startups

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How Reed Hastings’ Facebook Status Update Landed Netflix in SEC’s Crosshairs

Last month, the SEC announced it was taking action regarding Netflix’ (NFLX) securities compliance based on a Facebook status update posted by CEO Reed Hastings.  The move came as a shock to many in the tech business community, in which we’ve become accustomed to real-time disclosure by company executives through social media.  What could be wrong with more transparency?

To understand

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Forget Presidential Politics: Here’s How We Create Jobs — And How You Can Help

As I write this, days after the 2012 presidential election, I’m probably not alone in feeling relieved that the political jeering and soapboxing that reached a feverish pitch during the seemingly endless campaign season has finally subsided.  Yet amidst all the partisan cheerleading and name-calling, there has been some discussion of substance.  One particular four-letter word has been used pervasively

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Convertible Debt, Priced Equity Rounds and Deal Timing

An impromptu Twitter debate arose among Fred Wilson, Dave McClure, Mark Suster, Chris Dixon and others about convertible debt, priced equity rounds, and the nuances of early stage financing. It was such a good discussion that Fred asked that someone Storify it. I’ve done that here and expanded it with some additional references, background info and light commentary.

http://storify.com/antonejohnson/convertible-debt-priced-equity-rounds-and-timing

Convertible Debt: Worst Form Of Seed Financing — Except For All The Others

How to finance a new seed-stage startup?  Equity?  Convertible debt?  Convertible equity?

As of August 2010, Paul Graham famously proclaimed, “Convertible notes have won. Every investment so far in this YC batch (and there have been a lot) has been done on a convertible note.”  Yet in my little corner of Wonksville, Founder Institute CEO Adeo Ressi and Yoichiro “Yokum” Taku,

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Sprint Like An Egyptian: A Tech Entrepreneurship Revolution in Alexandria

At the threshold of one of the most recognizable landmarks in human history — the sole survivor among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, dating back nearly five thousand years — my entrepreneur host was engaged in heated debate with a rotating phalanx of functionaries.  As our group sweltered in the July heat on the outskirts of Cairo, each

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Market Opportunity From Customer Hostility, Exhibit 802.11: Airline WiFi

Entrepreneurship is often born of founders’ sheer frustration with the status quo.  One class of clear business opportunity, which wouldn’t exist in an ideal world, is created by the service that seemingly makes it as difficult as possible for potential paying customers to make it take their money.  This sort of chronic customer dissatifaction flies in the face of both

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“Bored” of Directors Can Become Clash of Titans

Rhetoric has the power to engage or alienate, to enchant or disaffect.  Perhaps no better example exists than the term “Corporate Governance.”  Even the wonkiest law geeks like me find our eyes glazing over as soon as the term is mentioned.  Yet I’ve rarely seen entrepreneurs more fired up than when recounting war stories of startups whose

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Copywrong Again: Founding the Next Pinterest or Napster?

As I wrote in Part I of this post, many of the most creative and disruptive startup businesses in recent years have involved the use of intellectual property in innovative, non-traditional ways that defy easy categorization and stretch the boundaries of concepts such as the fair use doctrine in copyright. When presented with a product or service in development, we often have to admit that there

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Second-Class Investor Citizens: Facebook’s IPO and Dual-Class Equity Structures

Dual-class voting structures are receiving a lot of attention these days along with intense publicity related to the Facebook IPO, following in the wake of other recent tech IPOs with a similar structure such as Zynga and LinkedIn.  This is nothing new; long favored by family-controlled media empires such as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, among Internet firms alone, Google took

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