On Saturday February 1st, BCLA hosted its first lunchtime seminar of the year at UCLA. Our speaker, Matt Crowley, a venture and mergers and acquisitions lawyer, talked about the top 10 legal mistakes for founders to avoid. Crowley founded his own law firm, Crowley Corporate Legal Strategy, where he helps first-time entrepreneurs navigate their legal challenges, is a professor at the Loyola Law School, and an author of two books on entrepreneurship and raising capital.
Based on his over 20 years of experience in the field, Crowley shared many common mistakes and how to make a startup attractive to investors. Common mistakes among entrepreneurs include failing to consider the implications of entity selection and place of incorporation and not protecting startup intellectual property. Additionally, issues can arise later in company’s early life surrounding employees and co-founders and he cautioned against issuing shares without vesting, misclassifying employees and failing to file the appropriate tax forms for stock transfer. Finally, with his expertise in financing and contracts, Crowley discussed common mistakes he sees founders make by issuing stock without valuations and using templates for contracts. Crowley possesses a wealth of knowledge in this realm, and while he encourages founders to consider these issues early, he assured those in the room that may have already made these mistakes that many of these selections can be changed to ensure the best success for their young company!
The seminar was followed by open Q&A with Crowley, where the enthusiasm in the room was apparent by the thoughtful discussions that followed. Thank you to all of our attendees to spending a part of your Saturday with BCLA! Your dedication to fostering the LA biotech community is what makes these events possible.