SeedLegal's Five Tips for Growing a Successful Startup
The startup scene is exciting - it’s innovative, progressive and inspiring. It also comes with a lot of pressure to succeed, especially if you’re a founder or work in upper management. In this article, we’ll offer some practical tips that can help your startup succeed by making it more attractive to investors and potential employees.
These tips come from our friends at SeedLegals, who’ve helped over 35,000 companies start and grow their businesses by simplifying the tasks mentioned below. SeedLegals combines automation with help from dedicated experts to support startups on their growth journey.
The tips covered below are tried and true for many successful startups in the UK.
1. Sign founder agreements
First things first: make sure that the legal framework is in place to protect the founders and the company from the get-go. When the essentials like company ownership, IP ownership and founders’ roles and responsibilities are clearly set out in writing, it’s easier to avoid or swiftly manage disputes. Plus, investors like to see that these documents are in place before they’ll invest in your company. Founder agreements include:
Founders Service Agreement - sets out founder obligations, director duties, equity vesting schedule and more
Founders Pledge - a lightweight version of the Founders Service Agreement that’s used during the idea stages of a company
IP Assignment - protects the intellectual property of your company
You can get customised founder agreements quickly and affordably on SeedLegals, along with over 90 other legal documents for your startup.
2. Certify your SEIS/EIS status
SEIS (Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme) and EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) are UK government initiatives created to encourage economic growth. SEIS is for early-stage companies and EIS is for medium-sized businesses.
These initiatives give private investors a big tax break when they invest in high-risk, early-stage companies. Two out of three UK angel investors only invest in startups that are SEIS/EIS compliant, so it’s helpful to get this sorted if you want funding from investors.
To do this, you can first apply for SEIS/EIS Advance Assurance, which shows that your business is eligible for SEIS/EIS. Investors will have more confidence to invest in your startup if you have SEIS/EIS Advance Assurance.
After you receive an investment, you’ll then have to issue SEIS/EIS Compliance certificates to your investors so that they can claim their tax relief.
3. Optimise your funding rounds
Funding makes the startup world go round. To successfully grow your startup, you need money. That’s why raising funding is one of the most important things you’ll do. The process can be very tiring and expensive for founders, though. It takes a lot of time to find, pitch to and negotiate with investors. Optimising your fundraising process will help you save valuable time, energy and money while you secure the funds you need to grow.
SeedLegals has a variety of services designed to help you raise startup funding effortlessly:
Do a funding round - create and negotiate all your investment documents in one streamlined workflow
Raise before a round - easily take investments before a funding round and without having to get a valuation
Try Instant Investment - add investors any time and top up on previous funding rounds as and when you need to
Get help from experts - chat to a dedicated funding expert any time to answer your questions and help you on your journey
Make sure you know all your options when it comes to startup funding. Do your research on the types of funding you can get and decide what will suit your business most.
4. Set up a share option scheme
This one’s important for both employees and founders. Share option schemes are a way to give employees, advisors and directors equity in your company so that you can attract, retain and reward talented employees.
Share options convert into shares (company equity) after a certain period of time. They act as an incentive for employees to work together towards common goals, knowing that they’ll be rewarded when they hit certain milestones or a specific period of time passes. Employees can sell their shares later on for large sums of money if they are worth a lot. It’s a great way to build cohesion and reward employees while getting everyone to care about the company’s success.
If you’re a job seeker, find out if your potential employers have share option schemes because they can be an excellent added benefit.
SeedLegals helps companies set up their share option schemes and manage them over the long term. Employees also get a log in so they can monitor their options themselves.
5. Claim R&D tax credits
Does your startup spend money on developing new products and services? If so, you might be able to claim tax relief through something called R&D tax credits - another helpful scheme from the government to encourage innovation.
To qualify for R&D tax relief, you don’t have to invent a brand-new product or process. You can also claim if you’re improving existing technology and - get this - the project doesn’t even have to result in success for you to claim. Your project might fail, but you could still be eligible for R&D tax credits because you’ve contributed to solving (or attempting to solve) ‘technological uncertainty.’ A wide range of business activities qualify, from creating new recipes to developing AI software. Your company could claim back up to 33% of the money you spent on R&D in tax relief.
You can learn all about the qualifying criteria and how to claim R&D tax relief in this R&D tax credits guide. SeedLegals helps startups put together their R&D claims. It’s worth talking to one of their experts to find out how your company can benefit from the scheme. They’ve created thousands of claims with a 100% success rate so far.
So, what are you waiting for? You can get started on these five practical tips right away to set your startup up for success. If you don’t want to use a software service to help you with them, you could also ask your lawyer and accountant. Whichever you decide, getting these essentials in place ASAP can really benefit your company.
Food and Beverage Startups
In this week’s series of “I didn’t know that was a real holiday,” the past three days have given us national red velvet cake day, national pepperoni pizza day and butterscotch pudding day. Who knew!?
If you’re a foodie like me then you’ll be buzzing to hear all about how startups have been changing the food and beverage game. For starters (pun intended), the rise of the ‘conscious consumer’ has given new businesses incentive to think outside the box when it comes to how they operate. This includes focusing on cruelty-free, environmentally friendly and healthy options.
Without further ado, let’s dig in.
Do you find yourself wanting to eat top-quality meals but just don’t have the time or effort to make them? If the answer is yes, then you’re in for a treat (literally!) Coming from a Michelin star restaurant background, Benn Hodges, has crafted the answer to mass-produced meals for time-poor foodies. Using high-end cooking techniques and ethically sourced ingredients, Benn and his team are providing healthy, hearty and guilt-free meals for anyone interested. Along with their quality ready meals, you can also grab some fine wine with fast on-demand and overnight chilled delivery - sign me up!
This startup plans to save the world one beer at a time. Toast Ale are aware that one of the biggest contributors to global warming is food production. Their innovative solution includes using fresh bread that would otherwise be sent to a landfill to brew their unique beer. Their website also keeps track of how much emissions, land and water have been saved as a result of their work. Great stuff!
Riverford Organic Farmers
This B-Corp certified company operates by delivering top-quality organic fruit and veg straight to your door. This startup is entirely employee owned so everyone working there is technically a ‘co-owner.’ Head to their site to start your healthy lifestyle journey.
City Pantry is a London-based food delivery service with lots to offer your company. From meeting canapes to company meals and events, these guys can deliver the best quality food from small kitchens or larger UK restaurants.
If you're a pizza lover (who isn't!?) then this one's for you. This startup is on a mission to offer top-quality grub from their brand stores and at various events throughout the UK. What makes this brand stand out is their dedication to making their pizzas as fresh as possible by sourcing fresh ingredients on a daily basis. Head over to their site to start enjoying some guilt-free slices.
That concludes our tasty list for this week!
In Memory of HM Queen Elizabeth II
It’s funny how a regular Thursday can turn into a day you will never forget. Last week was one such day where life as we knew it changed forever. As grey clouds covered British skies, the nation collectively held its breath while waiting to hear news regarding HM the Queen’s health. Then, at 6pm the second Elizabethan age officially came to an end as Buckingham Palace announced the death of Britain’s longest reigning monarch.
An integral part of her role was to support and encourage public and voluntary service. During her decades of service, Her Royal Majesty became patron to over 600 charities across Britain and the Commonwealth. To honour her late Majesty, listed below are some charities closest to her heart you can donate to today:
The British Red Cross
Cancer Research UK
Cruse Bereavement Support
Queen Elizabeth II was a remarkable leader who transcended borders and generations. While prime ministers and political parties changed throughout the years, the Queen remained a symbol of continuity.
Especially in recent years, living through a global pandemic, but also with the way the world of work has changed - moving to a fully remote or hybrid setup, our entire lives seem to have been turned upside down. But not the Queen.
She symbolised continuity probably more than any other leader and gave us stability and hope when we most needed it. We certainly still remember the words in her Christmas speech “We will meet again”.
Today, only a week after her passing, we’ve already witnessed several ceremonies, her arrival back in London with thousands of people lining the streets, her final night at Buckingham Palace & yesterday’s royal procession through the capital arriving in Westminster - we have a lot to process in such a short time. And yet, isn’t it through all these rituals that we manage to regain a little sense of stability?
We are currently processing a fundamental change = the ending of an era as well as a new beginning. Isn’t it remarkable that millions of people, from various countries travelled to the capital to pay their respects, we’ve been watching side by side with friends and strangers alike? “We will meet again”. It looks like her Majesty has brought us together again.
This loss will be felt by many across the globe, and we at WorkinStartups share in that sadness and send sincere condolences to her family - she will be greatly missed in Great Britain and far beyond. We’d also like to take this opportunity to wish the new King the best of luck as he embarks on this historical journey. Long live the King.
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