How much territory should you cede to investors during early funding rounds, how do you protect intellectual property, and which regulatory roadblocks must be avoided? Startups and the young entrepreneurs driving them wrestle with traditional problems that every private entity faces, even as they seek to upend markets through technology. Now, a growing number of boutique law firms and established players are reaching out to guide these ventures through legal and procedural minefields. Their work goes beyond advice and documentation as they literally mentor the founders in matters that could potentially shape the startups' future. Madhavan Srivatsan was a partner at a large law firm before becoming an entrepreneur and setting up his firm, Law Office of Madhavan Srivatsan, to assist young guns who may lack knowledge and experience. "Your first investment round is absolutely critical and the rights you give to the investors at this stage determine how your subsequent rounds go," he … [Read more...] about Law firms double as mentors for founders of new ventures
By Daisuke Wakabayashi SEATTLE: Elastic, a software startup in Amsterdam, was rapidly building its business and had grown to 100 employees. Then Amazon came along. In October 2015, Amazon’s cloud computing arm announced it was copying Elastic’s free software tool, which people use to search and analyze data, and would sell it as a paid service. Amazon went ahead even though Elastic’s product, called Elasticsearch, was already available on Amazon. Within a year, Amazon was generating more money from what Elastic had built than the startup by making it easy for people to use the tool with its other offerings. So Elastic added premium features last year and limited what companies like Amazon could do with them. Amazon duplicated many of those features anyway and provided them free. In September, Elastic fired back. It sued Amazon in federal court in California for violating its trademark because Amazon had called its product by the exact same name: Elasticsearch. … [Read more...] about Prime Leverage: How Amazon wields power in the technology world
By Taiga Uranaka and Takahiko Hyuga Masayoshi Son’s Japanese bankers are taking a hard look at their most important client. After the costly rescue of office-sharing startup WeWork and a series of other high-profile setbacks for Son, senior executives at two of Japan’s biggest banking groups have said privately that they’ve grown less comfortable with the eccentric billionaire’s management of SoftBank Group Corp.’s $100 billion Vision Fund. One executive, speaking in mid-November, said his firm wants to see a convincing turnaround plan for WeWork before lending more money to SoftBank. A rival said around the same time his bank is taking a cautious approach toward the company and has doubts about Son’s strategy of investing big sums in highly valued startups. The two lenders are among those approached by SoftBank for a roughly $2.7 billion loan. While neither of the bankers, who asked not to be named, signaled a dramatic reduction in ties with … [Read more...] about Masayoshi Son’s bankers are worried about their favorite client
By Shuli Ren Nothing cements a venture capital firm’s reputation like a good exit. After a long dry spell, Masayoshi Son is finally catching a break: The listing of Uber Technologies Inc. made his Vision Fund one of the rare investors to book a capital gain from its stake, amounting to 418 billion yen ($3.81 billion) in the March quarter. While Uber shares have slumped since they started trading Friday, that’s a big win for the SoftBank Group Corp. founder, who likes to sell himself as a tech visionary. That extra cash could come in handy. Last December, Moody’s Investors Service re-classified SoftBank as an investment holding company after Son pulled off the world’s second-largest IPO, raising $23.6 billion from his Japanese telecom operator. Yet international ratings firms still rank the company one notch below investment grade, dangling their stamp of approval right before Son’s eyes. Make no mistake: Son covets a good rating. While his … [Read more...] about Does Uber make Masayoshi Son a savvy investor or a shopaholic?
The University of Macau (UM) is determined to take the lead in higher education and research in the western Pearl River Delta, university Rector Song Yonghua said during a one-on-one interview with China Daily. The leadership role is one the university must take to contribute to the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, which comprises 11 cities along the Pearl River, he said. “In the east bank (of the Pearl River), we have Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong — three of the four core cities of the Bay Area. The universities, the higher education resources and the companies there are strong,” Song said. Of the six Bay Area cities mainly on the west bank of the Pearl River, Macao is the only Bay Area core city. The University of Macau enjoys a strategically important status and advantage among universities on the west bank, so the school should take as its mission leading the higher education and research corporations on the west bank of the Pearl … [Read more...] about Macao varsity looks to lead higher education in western PRD