TSH Startup Masterclass: 10 Things You Must Consider When You Start Out or It Will Cost You later
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TSH Startup Masterclass: 10 Things You Must Consider When You Start Out or It Will Cost You later

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Key points and highlights from Simon Halberstam's and Andrew Solomon's presentation “10 things you must do when you start out or it’ll cost you later”. ...

Key points and highlights from Simon Halberstam's and Andrew Solomon's presentation “10 things you must do when you start out or it’ll cost you later”.


Beware of making pre-contract misrepresentations, you can land yourself in seriously hot water.

Make sure your website T&Cs are clearly visible to people or they may not stand up in court.

A private limited company structure is always advisable if you're looking to raise cash or sell up later.

Always keep board minutes! An admittedly dull but absolutely necessary task.

Look into drag-along and tag-along rights in relations with your investors.

Create employment policy procedures and keep them up to date.

Incentivise your staff well, look into the EMI scheme.

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  • 1. 10 things you must consider when youstart out or it will cost you laterLegal concernsSimon Halberstam, PartnerAndrew Solomon, Solicitor
  • 2. Key Considerations1. Pre-Contract Misrepresentations2. Contractual Liability3. Intellectual Property4. Disclaimers5. Escrow6. Choose the right business structure7. Establish a ‘housekeeping regime’8. Document your relationship with investors9. Comply with/stay up to date with relevant employment law10. Incentivise your staff
  • 3. Misrepresentations• Fraudulent• Negligent• Innocent• Misrepresentation Act 1967: > Fraud > Negligence
  • 4. Fraudulent Misrepresentation• Statement of fact• Without belief in truth > Recklessly > Knowingly > Without caring whether true or false• Intention that it should be acted on• Is acted upon• Male fides not proof prerequisite
  • 5. Negligent Misrepresentation• False statement w/o reasonable basis to believe true• Common law or Misrepresentation Act 1967 > honest belief in the truth of the statement made > MA - reverse onus on defendant to disprove negligence had a reasonable ground to believe and did believe true
  • 6. Innocent Misrepresentation• False statement > honest belief that true
  • 7. Misrepresentation Remedies• Rescission of contract > Status quo ante > Return goods and money• Affirm the contract and sue for damages
  • 8. Sky v EDS• Project to design, build, implement and integrate a CRM)system for Sky• EDS Limited found liable for fraudulent misrepresentation as to time• Court found that EDS intended Sky to rely on these statements• Finding of deceit/fraud > contractual caps on liability ineffective• Ineffective entire agreement clause• £47.6 million contract• £30 million limitation of liability clause• £318m settlement
  • 9. Liability Exclusions• Reasonableness statutory controls > Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 (UCTA) > Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1994 > Section 3 Misrepresentation Act 1967• South West Water v International Computers Ltd > £2,200,000 damages awarded – contractual limitation £250,000.• St. Albans and City District Council v International Computers Ltd > £800,000 damages awarded – contractual limitation £100,000• Sky V EDS• Low cap on liability effective?• Negotiation double-edged• Semantics? – loss of data c.f. damage to data• Loss of Profit – direct or indirect?
  • 10. Exclusion of Liability• Standard form (contracts of adhesion)• Reasonable exclusions (UCTA)• Need for notice > Thornton v Shoe Lane Parking » “the customer is bound by the - condition if he knows that the ticket is issued subject to it” - Denning » [if]the exemption is so wide and so destructive of rights ….. in order to give sufficient notice , it would need to be printed in red ink with a red hand pointing to it … or something equally startling”
  • 11. Making Website Terms/Disclaimers Effective• legal weight/certainty v customer friendliness of website• ascending chance of enforceability > reference statement without hyperlink “this contract is subject to company’s T’s and C’s” > reference statement with hyperlink (still hidden) > terms at bottom of page (visually unattractive) > dialogue box - must scroll through terms before clicking
  • 12. Making Email Terms/Disclaimers Effective• Must incorporate in email (start or end?)• “this email is subject to ……….” > Inadequate• Placing t’s and c’s in hyperlinks or attachments > Worse > Hyperlinks » need compatible email system » assume www access > Attach -firewall removal
  • 13. IPR• Assignment > open source• Licence > sole/exclusive? > source? > third party use > intra-group use
  • 14. Escrow• Half-way house > protect investment > avoid abuse• Neutral agent• Triggers > insolvency > support failure• Verification?
  • 15. Business structure• Partnership > Partnership agreement > Jointly and severally liable for debts and obligations• Private limited company > Limited liability• LLP > Hybrid of partnership and limited company
  • 16. Housekeeping• Companies House filings > Annual accounts > Annual return (directors, shareholders and their holdings) > Changes to company constitution• Update company registers• Keep board minutes
  • 17. Relations with investors• Shareholders agreement and articles of association > Setting out shareholder structure > Veto rights > Restrictive covenants > Share transfers and mechanisms for exit e.g. drag-along and tag-along rights
  • 18. Employment law• Register as an employer with HM Revenue and Customs• Setup a payroll and a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) scheme (through which HMRC collect income tax and national insurance contributions from employees)• Create a suite of policies and procedures e.g. disciplinary, grievances, data protection, health and safety• Provide written terms and conditions of employment to new employees within two months of starting work
  • 19. Incentivise your staff• Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) Scheme > Granting share options to key employees > Designed for small companies (fewer than 250 staff with assets less than £30m) > Tax efficient – corporation tax relief (see your accountant)
  • 20. QuestionsSimon HalberstamPartner (Technology Law)shalberstam@kingsleynapley.co.uk+44 (0) 20 7814 1258Andrew SolomonCorporate & Commercial Solicitorasolomon@kingsleynapley.co.uk+44 (0) 20 7369 3794