Technology companies are booming. Between AI, IoT, SaaS, and a myriad of other up-and-coming innovations, it's a great time for ambitious tech entrepreneurs to get into business for themselves. Founders of these start-ups are busy. They are advancing their application, building a team, refining a business model and bootstrapping their way through the early days until revenue and any external financing comes through the door.
With all this going on, it's no wonder that getting their legal structure and documents lined up – and paying for professional advice – can take a back seat. But failure to clarify key matters, such as who owns what stake in this amazing new company and the IP behind it, can cause issues down the road and even turn off potential investors.
It's a problem that we often find among our most promising early-stage clients. That's why we turned our minds to solving it.
Fasken's Emerging Technology Group works with start-ups and companies seeking to accelerate the growth of their innovative business with technology and financing. To serve this group better, and to give our corporate clients easy-to-use tools to help themselves, we have created a start-up-specific platform called ViaFasken.
What began as a local project of our Montreal office is now part of a national offering for start-up clients that qualify. Such businesses are unique in that they are often growing at exponential rates and require access to legal advice and documentation to continue that growth. At such early stages in the business life cycle, however, they may not have access to sufficient funds for full service and comprehensive legal advice.
We created ViaFasken to give these businesses a viable solution.
For company founders, ViaFasken removes the headaches of figuring out a company's corporate structure and keeping its documents organized. It can be difficult for busy founders to prioritize the legal aspects of their business. With ViaFasken, a founder can incorporate, get organized, issue shares, document IP transfers, hire employees and even issue them options through one integrated portal.
Founders have a single convenient dashboard that provides quick access to a virtual minute book that makes it easier to maintain a current one, a cap table to quickly understand ownership structure and option allocation, and a data room of all documentation related to a transaction or legal matter.
Once basic information is inputted, the portal will create the required documentation from a library of simple templates (e.g. non-disclosure, intellectual property, restricted stock agreements), dispatch it by email to all relevant parties for review and sign-off through DocuSign, and track it all through the user's data room to ensure not one dotted line is left empty by anyone.
Clients can also use ViaFasken to manage their intellectual property. From running searches to filing requests to access to Fasken Trademark Agents, the portal provides an avenue for start-ups in the early stage of their lifecycle to protect their intellectual property where they otherwise may not have had the resources to do so.
It only makes sense that such a platform would come from people who craft fine print for a living. ViaFasken has been developed by the experts who deal with these documents daily, know how such documents interact, and have the personal experience from working with founders and start-ups to understand what they need.
It's all about empowering our start-up clients to take ownership of their legal matters with a portal that makes it easy to view their core corporate documents and manage their stakeholder relationships, from employees to investors, in one place.
The ViaFasken team continues to work on new modules to expand the utility of the platform, such as supporting convertible notes and equity raises in addition to SAFE financing.
For more information or to arrange a demo, please visit www.viafasken.info.
Julia Kennedy is a partner with the Fasken Ottawa office. She practises corporate commercial law, particularly assisting private corporate clients through M&A transactions and drafting a range of commercial agreements.