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.

Nuts & Bolts of Intellectual Property for New Startups

So you’ve chosen a name for your startup, product, or both. Having covered all the bases to ensure that your corporate name is available, the domain name can be acquired, and the name doesn’t infringe any existing trademarks (as we discussed here), now is a good time to look at the categories of intellectual property (IP) that are relevant to

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A Startup’s First Steps: What’s In A Name?

Having taken stock of the main legal documents and actions involved in forming and operating a new startup, let’s crack open the “case” (disregarding the warnings about voiding your warranty) and examine a few of the steps, documents and key decisions to be made in getting a new startup ready for business.

Most startup lawyers have checklists (at least in

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Do It Right The First Time, Part II: Visit the Doctor or House Call?

In Part I, I gave a quick summary of the who, when and why of forming and documenting a new startup company. This week we’ll delve into what, exactly, is necessary or desirable to lay a solid legal foundation for a startup to build upon.

Do It Right The First Time: Avoiding “Janitorial” Legal Work

What is a startup really?  When meeting with early stage entrepreneurs for the first time, after reviewing a demo or hearing their pitch, I often ask them to articulate what they’re most focused on building.  In most cases, the answers are (1) an outstanding product or technology; (2) a successful growth business built around that product; and (3) a top-notch

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Probable and Improbable Lobbying Wins: The 1,000-stockholder Rule

Talented entrepreneurs are nothing if not resilient in the face of change:  Market forces, competitive threats, technological shifts, you name it.  In recent years, government regulation has emerged as another such force to be reckoned with in the technology industry.  Startups and founders need to come to terms with the stark reality that the rules of the game may be

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Keep It Under Your Hat: Valuation Caps and the $650 Million Sale of MySpace for $125 Million

Entrepreneurs and investors who have spent any time dealing with convertible debt seed financing transactions are likely to have encountered the subject of valuation caps.  In brief, a cap acts to place a limit on the conversion price of a convertible note such that investors are guaranteed a minimum number of shares for their bridge loans if the startup does

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Knowledge Is Power: Convertible Note Financing Terms, Part V

As we conclude our convertible note financing series, there are assorted terms commonly seen in term sheets and deal documents that are worth touching on briefly. What seem like boilerplate provisions can be meaningful in some situations. As I’ve noted before, readers joining this series in progress may find it helpful to download the sample term sheet from my firm’s

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Knowledge Is Power: Convertible Note Financing Terms, Part IV

This week we move on to something near and dear to the hearts of entrepreneurs and investors alike:  The exit, more formally known as a “liquidity event.”  For convertible notes, the only liquidity event we need be concerned with is an acquisition of the startup in the near future, before the maturity date; otherwise, the notes will convert to equity

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Knowledge Is Power: Convertible Note Financing Terms, Part III

Last week, we took the plunge and began dissecting an example term sheet for a convertible debt financing round piece by piece.  I’ll continue with more specific terms and wrap up next week with some thoughts about recent changes and trends for the future. Readers may find it helpful to download the sample term sheet from my firm’s website and

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Knowledge Is Power: Convertible Note Financing Terms, Part II

Last week, we gave some attention to the “why” behind convertible note financing for early stage startups.  In this installment, I’ll dig into the “how” by dissecting an example term sheet based on a real deal.  For those playing at home, you may find it helpful to download the sample term sheet from my firm’s website and follow along with

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