There are key legal issues to consider when setting up your business and that are necessary to get your start-up ready to operate. We have highlighted some of these areas below and can assist you in addressing each of them.
When you set your business up, you will need to document and regulate the relationship between the founders as well as for the management of the company. This would typically mean drafting a shareholders’ agreement and updating or drafting the company’s articles of association, and advising you on the options available and risks to be aware of.
You might be funding your business yourself or organically, or you may have plans for obtaining outside investment or other funding. We can review your fundraising plans (debit or equity), advise you and draft or negotiate the necessary agreements for your planned funding rounds.
3. Operational readiness
You will need a basic set of contracts or documents to operate your business. The requirements will depend on the type of business but may include customer contracts, website or app terms of service, supplier contracts, or the data privacy documents outlined below. There may also be other requirements specific to your type of business, such as franchising or distribution arrangements. We can review your business, advise you on requirements and provide you with the basic set of contracts or documents you need.
4. Data privacy
You will need to ensure that you comply with data privacy requirements and depending on the nature of your business this may involve local (UK GDPR) as well as international compliance (e.g., EU GDPR). We can help by reviewing your business and understanding your processing of personal data. We would then advise you on the requirements for data privacy compliance, draft the necessary documents and explain to you what else may be required (policies, data files, security and otherwise).
5. Intellectual property
Intellectual property is often a critical part of the businesses. We will review your existing intellectual property and advise you how to protect, develop and commercialise it. We will then draft the necessary documents – this may include licence agreements, SaaS agreements, software development agreements, service level agreements, website or app terms of service, and more. Internationalising your intellectual property may also be a key part of your organisational tax structure and we will assist you with this.
6. Employees and contractors
You’ll need to ensure that the people engaged to do the work in your business are properly contracted, whether as employees or contractors. We will draft or review your employment agreements and independent contractor agreements and ensure your business is protected in line with applicable employment law. We can also help you to draft the internal policies for your staff (staff handbooks, health and safety policies, security policies, etc.)
If you intend to internationalise your business outside of the United Kingdom then you will need international support. We have significant international experience, particularly in the US and Europe, and can support you on your international journey. This may include all of the items described above: establishing your foreign entity, international shareholders' agreements or constitutional documents, international funding/investment, and internationalising your operational agreements, data privacy compliance and employee/contractor practices.
General Update by Nick Bent, Partner at Aria Grace Law