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In: Legal

GDPR FOR U.S. STARTUPS

WHAT IS GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an updated privacy law for the digital age. At its core, GDPR is a new set of rules designed to give EU citizens more transparency on what data they are sharing, how it’s being used and granting more control over their personal data. The rules simplify and make clear the obligations of businesses and the rights of individuals in the digital economy. The regulation takes effect on May 25, 2018. If the GDPR applies to you, you’ll need to make sure your systems are in place immediately.

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February 7, 2018

$10,000 Series A

$10,000 Series A

Let’s be honest. Legal fees can get out of control on funding rounds. I hear horror stories from friends and clients that are paying north of $100,000 in legal fees for a Series A –  although the normal range tends to be $15,000 to $50,000. It’s fairly common for the entrepreneurs to pay for investor’s legal fees as well. If you’re raising a few million dollars, covering your legal fees and the investor’s fee means that a non-trivial percentage of that raise is going to the lawyers. (more…)

Social Enterprise Business Models

Deciding the best legal structure for a social enterprise can seem like a daunting, high-stakes task. 

This post is designed to help social entrepreneurs and their attorney progress through a clear process for understanding how to structure their organization to maximize their social / environmental impact. I’ve developed and refined this method by working with hundreds of social entrepreneurs, getting input from fellow attorneys in the field, research and teaching the topic since 2008. Though this decision is never simple, the goal of this process is to reduce complexity, confusion and give the social entrepreneur a few clear options.

Progressing through the process will help narrow down the potential legal structures from 7 to 2 or 3. (more…)

December 16, 2016

Nonprofit Lifecycle

Nonprofit Lifecycle

 

As another year comes to a close and we explore possibilities for the next, many executives and board members reflect on the state of their organizations. I was recently asked by a client about the best way to diagnose where her organization is to help determine where to focus energies in the new year. My favorite diagnostic tool to accomplish this task is the organizational lifecycle.

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Why I’m Giving Away My Company

NOBL is Finally Becoming Worker Owned and Controlled

Two years ago, I started NOBL as its sole owner. This month, I am giving all of our full-time employees a piece of the business and greater overall autonomy. In five years, I want to own no more than 10% of my own company. This post is meant to explain my why, illustrate our how, and help you give away your company, too.

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Converting To A B Corp

If you have an existing company, you can elect to become a benefit corporation by amending your governing documents. In most states, amendment requires a 66% super-majority vote of all shareholders. This high threshold of approval is an important element of the B Corp structure.

Converting from a traditional corporation or LLC to a B Corp changes the goals of the company and thereby alters the relationship between the shareholders and the social entrepreneur. Under a B Corp, the mandate of the company shifts from a narrow focus on pure profit maximization to a broader focus of creating a positive impact on people and planet while still making a profit.

At times the pursuit of a social / environmental impact can have a negative impact on profitability, which can create tension between the shareholder and social entrepreneur. Under a traditional corporation, the investor has the right to sue the entrepreneur if her decisions to create a social / environmental impact has a negative financial impact. (more…)

B Corps: Blending Profit & Purpose

The B Corp is a new type of corporation for a new type of entrepreneur, the social entrepreneur, who creates business models that benefit society, the environment, employees, customers and investors. These social entrepreneurs increasingly demand that business serve both shareholders and society, considering the impact of their decisions on multiple stakeholders rather than maintaining a singular focus on short-term maximization of financial profits.

B Corps are designed for companies that are intentionally seeking to create a material positive impact on society and the environment, in the operation of their business. If that purpose does not effect the manner in which you operate your company, then the B Corp may not be a good fit for you. (more…)

Will your Purpose Affect Your Profitability?

The B Corp is a new type of corporation for a new type of entrepreneur, the social entrepreneur, who creates business models that benefit society, the environment, employees, customers and investors. These social entrepreneurs increasingly demand that business serve both shareholders and society, considering the impact of their decisions on multiple stakeholders rather than maintaining a singular focus on short-term maximization of financial profits.

Whether your purpose is social or environmental… or both, it will likely have an impact on your financial bottom line. (more…)

B Corp: A For-Profit Company with Purpose

If you are you running a tax-exempt organization, at either the federal or state level, or if you are seeking donations and/or grants to fund your operations, you are a non-profit.  The B Corp is a new class of for-profit corporation for companies that seek to blend profit and purpose. (more…)