The November edition of Startup Saturday Bangalore featured a talk by Sharda Balaji of Novojuris on “Legal pitfalls of a startup”. This was followed by the demo of citizenmatters.in by Meera K and Subramaniam Vincent.
Sharda Balaji is the founder and director of Novojuris which provides legal services to startups and entrepreneurs in the technology domain. She has managed the legal aspects of the Purvankara IPO and was previously working with Intel Technology India. She said that every entrepreneur should understand the concept and the intent of the law. Entrepreneurs address legal matters reactively only when they encounter difficulties which can cause complications and loss. She gave a brief overview of the legal forms for incorporating the company. Having worked with a corporate big law team as well as on her own she was able to give an insider’s perspective on how law firms operate and what are the criteria which a entrepreneur should follow while engaging with a lawyer or a law firm.
She also addressed some other issues such as capital structure of a company, equity allocation between founders and dilution during funding rounds. This was followed by an interesting and interactive discussion on moonlighting and skunkworks projects. Several entrepreneurs moonlight on their startups while working for another firm. They should clarify with their company’s policies regarding regarding intellectual property and conflict of interest agreements with their legal counsel. If this due diligence is not done, it can cause problems later on when the startup is incorporated even when the entrepreneurs has left his previous job. Her presentation is embedded below:
Citizen Matters is a Bangalore focused and citizen-oriented news publication. They publish in-depth news, analysis, features, opinions, and information/event listings, covering city public affairs, community and culture in Bangalore city. Citizen Matters is published by Oorvani Media, an independent local media firm founded by Bangaloreans Subramaniam Vincent and Meera K. Bangalore is a city in transition, with much of the growth of the city spurred with the help of migrants who fail to connect with the city. As a result many of the migrants are unaware of the local culture and local issues. This problem is not limited to migrant population but also to the people who have been living in the city for decades. Citizen matters deals with this problem by commissioning articles on local issues and by using citizen journalism. Currently, this is one area where mainstream media is found lacking.
Citizen Matters is built on Ruby on Rails and extensively uses open source software. Citizen matters is a for-profit startup which plans to raise money by selling advertising and doing public-funded journalism. One of the suggestions was to raise money using micropayments from readers to cover local issues such as traffic problems or development of lakes. There was a good interactive discussion on social media and the use of technology which followed this. The presentation by Citizen Matters is embedded below: