STARTUP ACADEMY #6: LEGAL ASPECTS
Wednesday 02 December 2020
Highlights from a workshop on the legal issues of launching and growing a startup
During the final Academy session, 60 startups selected by UniCredit Start Lab had the opportunity to explore technical aspects of startups’ early life. A dedicated workshop was organised, focusing on tackling potential legal challenges.
The workshop was led by Giacomo Gitti of Legance Associated Lawyers, who highlighted the underlying legal matters of the launch and growth of a startup, involving areas ranging from corporate law, to industrial and labour law.
Lawyer Riccardo Paganin answered questions on how to regulate relationships with venture capitalist and find the right balance between the founders’ business needs and investors’ financial needs. Mr Paganin also addressed how to use a shareholders’ agreement best, which are the clauses that govern investments and divestments in start-up, and how to compensate a founder. These are questions that – as Paganin recalled – must be a checklist, to be answered on a case-to-case basis.
"It is important to get to know the characteristics that grow and influence the success of your project in order make choices that ensure stable and profitable relationships with your main stakeholders"
Riccardo Paganin, Lawyer at Legance - Avvocati Associati
Lawyer Monica Riva focused on industrial and intellectual property rights, which can offer an important competitive advantage in the market. Ms Riva analysed the limits of these rights and the safeguarding of products, with practical advice on how to gear up against counterfeiting and how to stop it once it has been identified.
“Although fighting counterfeiting is not an obligation, failing to do so can have harmful consequences. Every company should pay attention, especially if similarities with competitor products prevail over the differences or if the differences only affect secondary characteristics of their products"
Monica Riva, Lawyer at Legance - Avvocati Associati
To conclude, Marco D’Agostini raised the subject of human capital, focusing on the essential role it has in the early stages of a startup. Mr D’Agostini stressed that attention must be paid to adequate staff remuneration from the beginning of a start-up’s life, especially if employees are involved in the creative process. He also highlighted the common case of a strategic member of staff who can be bound to a non-competition agreement, correctly identifying their remuneration in order to be able to ensure compliance in the event of a dispute.
“Non-competition agreements are a useful tool to protect a start-up’s interests, but they have a cost. They must be carefully prepared and adjusted case-by-case"
Marco D’Agostini, Lawyer at Legance - Avvocati Associati