The start-up journey is challenging yet thrilling. We’re proud to have helped grow some of Australia’s biggest brands and start-ups, at many different stages of their corporate and commercial lifecycle. Since 1983, high growth corporates and start-ups have trusted our dedicated team for smart, ethical, and practical legal support.
Simple Legal Solutions for start-up companies
MDW Express is our online document service. It offers custom-made legal documents at a competitive price. A market-leading, automated process, it’s specifically designed for start-ups and small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs).
Technology and Privacy
Start-up companies often have specific technology needs. Our technology and media lawyers have front-line knowledge of technological developments, combined with superior legal skills and commercial know-how. They are an essential resource for high-growth tech businesses.
We can help you negotiate and navigate a broad range of technology and privacy-related issues, including:
- Privacy policies
- Data protection audits
- Technology ownership and assignment agreements
- Software licensing and development agreements
- Terms and conditions of use
- Consultancy and service agreements
We can also advise you about:
- Encryption, data protection and privacy
- How to protect your intellectual property
- How to commercialise your intellectual property
Capital Raising and Commercial Dealing
Corporate structuring and capital raising are crucial in a start-up company’s lifecycle. You’ll need specialist legal advice throughout the process, so it makes sense to take advantage of our 40 years of experience in commercial and corporate services.
We’ve helped many international investors looking to invest in Australia, as well as Australian businesses looking to invest overseas.
- Capital raising strategies including crowdsourced funding
- Co-founder and investor shareholding agreements
- Equity dilution and vesting arrangements
- Asset protection strategies
- Business structures including partnerships, joint ventures and companies, and discretionary unit (or hybrid) trusts
- Changes in share capital (terms, allotment or share structures)
- Internship and employment agreements
- Employee share option plans
- Convertible notes, corporate financing and term sheets
For more information, see our Guide for start-ups and investors. You’ll find a glossary for often-used terms in capital raising and investment documents.
Corporate & Start-up Companies FAQs
Although every start-up company is different, the most commonly observed stages of a start-up lifecycle are:
- Stage 1: company formation
- Stage 2: company growth and development
- Stage 3: company financing and funding
- Stage 4: company expansion
Because legal issues will vary depending on the industry, we recommend seeking legal advice before you form a start-up company. Some of the legal issues may include:
What legal structure should you use? The primary business structures include a partnership, corporation, trust, and a sole trader business.
Have you ensured that your intellectual property, or future intellectual property, will continue to belong to you rather than to someone else? Are you legally able to trademark your brand name or logo? If you are outsourcing, do you have a legal agreement to make sure the intellectual property is assigned to your company?
Initial share structure
What is the share ownership of each founder? Who is going to do what in the company? Will there be a vesting schedule or agreement between the co-founders?
Start-up co-founders also need to decide the ownership structure in the company and your respective roles.
Some of the most common methods of capital raising are:
- Bank debt
- Loan from friends or family
- Convertible/SAFE note
- Venture capital funding
We can provide you with advice about your funding options.
Any investment should start with due diligence. During the due diligence process, you should inquire about:
- The company’s financial and corporate documents such as credit reports, ASIC searches, shareholders agreement, term sheet, vesting schedules of any securities or options, constitution, capitalisation table, members register and IP portfolio
- The company’s privacy and data protection procedures
- Background and resumes of the management/executive team
- A list of the company’s current and former employees
- Other important contracts
Yes, you do, especially if your start-up company collects, stores and processes personal information. With the rise of ransomware, cyber-attacks and privacy breaches, penalties for non-compliance with privacy laws have become more severe, not just in Australia but also around the world.