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Legal Partners

2014-03-01: by Adeo Ressi

This is a guide for law firms to partner with the Founder Institute and help form the next generation of meaningful and enduring technology companies.

Program Overview

The Founder Institute is a global network of startups and mentors that helps entrepreneurs launch meaningful and enduring technology companies. Through our four month training program, Founders launch their dream company with expert training, feedback, and support from experienced startup CEOs, while not being required to quit their day job. Our unique Bonus Pool also shares equity upside with all participants, creating local, teamwork-based ecosystems where great startups can flourish. The Founder Institute has already helped launch over 600 technology companies in over 35 cities worldwide.

The Founder Institute is designed from the ground up to be unique. We don't make 'below market' investments at a premature stage, like traditional incubators. Here are some other ways that the Institute is different:

The driving beliefs behind the Institute are that great Founders are often overlooked by the current entrepreneurial ecosystem and that innovative startups have a dramatic positive effect on the global economy. Start-up companies consume resources intelligently, put people to work in efficient ways, and produce market driven products at lower costs. Helping smart people start new companies should, in fact, help the global economy.


Category Exclusive Partnership

The Founder Institute offers legal firms the opportunity to be a Category Exclusive Partner for a semester in a specific location. The Institute normally graduates between 10 and 25 companies per location, and the selected legal firm normally represents 80% to 100% of the graduating companies for all corporate matters. The majority of Graduates launch a meaningful and enduring technology company, and anywhere from a few of the Graduates to a large majority secure funding.


Category Exclusive Benefits

Most importantly, knowledge that your firm is supporting an organization that has a positive impact on the local technology community and the next generation of technology leaders.


Category Exclusive Requests


Founder Offering

The Legal Partner normally offers to represent the Founder Institute companies in a fee deferral arrangement. The law firm charges the Founders a nominal set-up fee to cover some out of pocket expenses and to ensure that the Founder is serious, which is normally $1,000 in the US. Then, the Legal Partner normally defers $5,000 in additional corporate set-up work to establish the company in a standard fee deferral arrangement for the firm that does not include any equity, or points.


Client Intake

The Founder Institute has a win-win goal with the Legal Partner. First, we want to help your firm acquire high quality companies. Second, we want Founders in the program to work with top quality law firms with a fee deferral. The success of this win-win approach hinges on a successful client intake process.

For background, Founder Institute companies are required to incorporate a business and to issue a warrant or option for the Institute by a fixed deadline. If they miss this deadline even by a small amount, they are removed from the program immediately. The Founder Institute also requires that a certain kind of company is created, and there is no negotiation or discussion. Meanwhile, most of the Founders are doing this for the first time, so they are naturally nervous.

A successful client intake process needs to be reassuring, simple and with very limited decisions. The smoother that the client intake process goes, the more companies will become clients. Here are some specific considerations.

Again, a successful intake process leads to a successful relationship with a Legal Partner.


Common Questions


Sample Session Presentation

The Legal Partner participates in one session during the semester, called "Startup Legal." A lawyer from the firm has the opportunity to give a 20 minute presentation to help Founders understand everything that they need to know about the incorporation process, reducing the amount of questions during the client intake process. Below is a sample presentation.

Incorporation and other early-stage legal issues -

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