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.

Copywrong: Brilliant, Disruptive, Illegal Business Plans

Entrepreneurs tend to focus on opportunity rather than risk, and rightly so.  As Steve Blank has written, at its core, a startup is an organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.  In the lexicon of the lean startup movement, once “product-market fit” has been achieved, the focus shifts to scale and execution as the startup matures

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When Good Legal Advice Is Worth $10 Million An Hour

One of the highest profile liquidity events to date in 2012 is Facebook’s announced deal to acquire Instagram for $1 billion.  The popular mobile photo-sharing service should fit well into Facebook’s growth strategy as a soon-to-be-public company, but its eye-popping valuation — more than that of the New York Times, for those keeping score at home — is made more

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Crowdfunding Back On Track — As Milk Train, Not TGV

Last week I penned an in-depth critique of the portion of the JOBS Act seeking to legalize crowdfunding in the United States.  The bill, which may have more to do with political grandstanding in an election year than with actual job creation, was approved by a strong bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives. As I argued last week, the

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The Great Crowdfunding Train Wreck of 2013

The verb “to disrupt” in all its forms is rightly popular in the startup world.  To many entrepreneurs, few things are as personally satisfying (or as lucrative) as disrupting an entrenched, complacent, monopolistic, inefficient or stagnant market in ways that often empower consumers and producers alike.  Consumer Internet and mobile technology businesses continue to be rife with opportunities for disruption.

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Nickel-and-Dimed to Life: Franchise Tax, Registered Agents and Filing Fees

Early stage startups understandably seek to minimize corporate overhead and devote every penny to customer development, engineering, marketing and so forth.  Nevertheless, if you want or need the benefits of a business entity such as a corporation or LLC, there are some unavoidable expenses associated with their “care and feeding.”  (Legal expenses are outside the scope of this post; my

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Heart-Attack Tax Season for Delaware Startups

It’s that time of year again:  Tax season.  In addition to the headache of personal income taxes, entrepreneurs have to deal with business taxes.  Around this time each year, as sure as the sunrise, I get calls and messages from irate founders of new startups who received franchise tax bills from the State of Delaware for an insane amount like

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Veering Off the Beaten Path Into Murky Legal Waters

Path, a high-profile San Francisco social media startup, ignited a firestorm this week with the revelation that its mobile application uploads users’ entire iPhone address books to the company’s servers without their knowledge or permission.  The practice, discovered by Singapore developer Arun Thampi, provoked outrage within the user community and was broadly condemned by the tech business press.  Jon Mitchell at ReadWriteWeb wrote

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Rookie Cookies: Owning the Batter But Not the Chips

I’ve gotten on my soapbox before about the importance of forming a business entity as soon as there’s a new product or business worth protecting.  The most common messes encountered in my startup law practice involve founding teams that somehow never got the formation done right, including the contributions and assignments of intellectual property to the new company and the

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Sisyph.us? Fighting an Unwinnable Domain War

One of the best values a young entrepreneur can absorb early on is the value of learning from mistakes, both your own and those of others.  I’m constantly amazed at the extent to which experienced entrepreneurs and angels are willing to share their accumulated knowledge and wisdom, including some painful battle scars, with others.  This bedrock of Silicon Valley culture

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Intellectual Property for Startups in the Real World

Given that 2011 is already behind us, I’d like to take a brief time-out from the usual legal and financial wonkery to wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year.  Many thanks to David Rose, Ilana Grossman, Justin Stanwix, and the whole Gust team for making the Gust Blog such a valuable platform and resource for entrepreneurs and angel

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