Mallick Bolakale is a highly experienced startup lawyer
and entrepreneur based in Lagos, Nigeria. With almost
a decade of successful experience in handling complex
legal, regulatory, technology and business issues,
Mallick has built a reputation as a trusted advisor to
regulated businesses in Africa.
Currently serving as the Co-Founder of Regcompass
Consults and an of Counsel at TNP - a top tier law firm
in Lagos Nigeria - Mallick has applied his background
in computer engineering, legal training and compliance
to help regulated businesses in Africa overcome legal
and regulatory challenges.
His expertise includes the deployment of frontier
technologies, licensing strategies, regulatory liaison,
license procurement, financial crimes commission,
corporate restructuring, intellectual property
In addition to his work with Regcompass, Mallick has
also co-founded two startups: Applatch Inc and
Startbutton. Specifically, Applatch Inc focuses on
productivity and mental awareness, while Startbutton
provides businesses with the tools they need to expand
their operations in Africa in a matter of minutes.
Overall, Mallick's diverse background and extensive
experience make him a valuable resource for
businesses operating in Africa.
At the end of this session each participant should be able to answer these questions:
Do I really need a lawyer in building my startup?
Should a lawyer be involved in my negotiations with my co-founder,investors and other business partners?
At what stage do I need a lawyer?
Are there risks associated with building a startup without prioritising legal considerations
Do I need an in-house legal team?
Setting your business in motion before legal consultation:
Putting the cart before the horse?
One common mistake a lot of startups make at the start of their business
is putting legal at the back burner while product takes the center stage.
As much as you have a very viable product, you need to ensure that that
product is compliant, else, you risk abrupt shutdowns or losing your
business to total strangers.
It is important for you as a startup owner to involve a lawyer from inception and also
establish a sustainable trust relationship that would aid the growth of the business.
Lawyers can help startups avoid simple mistakes that may come back to haunt the
business in the future.It is important to know that the wealth of knowledge of a lawyer with
years of experience in a particular sector will aid problem-spotting- even beyond legal
issues to cover strategy and operational issues.
6. Think of law at every stage of your business and you’d do just fine.I’ll try to break
down how low applies to each facet of your operations below:
A.Finding a partner
Founders Agreement Role of founders Percentage split
Registration of company and name of company
B.Setting up your company
Corporate structure (Ltd, LLC, C-Corp) Tax regime Investment readiness and positioning
Regulatory arbitrage - a regime that supports your business idea Employee and founder domicile
Infrastructure and partnerships Name search Licensing
Finding utopia - a world where everything just works. Legal factors to consider
Monetary contributions if any
Exit plans if any Dispute resolution Plans for fund raises
7. C. Building your product
Trademark Copyright CIIAA Patent and patentability of software
Domain name Privacy by design and default
Potential legal risks (product liability, data privacy, security, risks associated
with partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions).
Risks, intellectual property, data protection and confidentiality
Conversation with partners Agreement with partners should align with your business objects
Risk allocation Termination and exit clauses
After writing your mind blowing idea on a piece of paper, the next thing you may want to do
is to find a partner that complements you and can help you make things happen.
8. E. Business operations
Consideration of the applicable laws and regulations (including industry-specific regulations);
Interfacing with regulators Company secretariat and keeping of statutory books
Negotiations with employees and necessary agreements
Impact of AfCFTA on cross-border legal regulations for tech startups.
Legal considerations are also key at this stage;
F. Capital raises, Valuation and investment readiness
It is important to involve a lawyer at this stage. Due diligence on potential investors, the
need (or otherwise) for the proposed investment, internal due diligence and house keeping
9. G. Exit
Building a startup can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it's important
not to overlook the legal considerations that come with it. Not to worry, attorney-
client confidentiality is an implied term in every agreement entered into by a
lawyer- your secrets are safe!
Finally, in addition to getting an experienced attorney to work with, it is also
important for you to understand the legal issues involved. A startup that
inculcates all the steps discussed today, is well on its way to long-term success.
IPO Mergers and Acquisitions