An Invention Assignment Agreement, often known as an Intellectual Property (“IP”) Transfer Agreement, is an agreement where one party assigns its intellectual property rights to the other party, either absolutely or subject to compliance with the terms of the underlying agreement.
This means the inventor (eg. software developer) assigning his/her rights can no longer claim the property as their invention. The property now belongs to the person to whom the rights have been transferred.
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This blog was co-authored by Vi Vo & originally posted by Farrah Roahman
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Insurance. It can sound like such a scary thing, but it really doesn’t have to be. In fact, it can be really helpful and may be a legal requirement in some circumstances. If an entrepreneur has never had their own business before or never needed commercial liability it can be very overwhelming. It is important to note that home and auto insurance are usually considered separate policies than commercial liabilities and coverage. We caught up with KASE Insurance, who specialize in small business, manufacturing companies, commercial needs and have a big heart for startups. We spoke with the fun, dynamic yet extremely knowledgeable partners of KASE. Stanislav Kojokin and Arian Ebrahimi provided some phenomenal insight and provides various examples and stages of what type of insurance might be needed.
Q: Why should a startup get insurance?
A: Many startups believe that they are not big enough to need insurance and want to wait until more sales are generated or more assets are purchased. The reality is that having insurance should be in the budget from day one. As soon as a company starts operations and has customers, protection is needed.
Q: Even if a startup is an app (application) and NOT producing any tangible products, would they still need insurance?
A: If the startup is generating revenue, they need liability insurance to make sure they are protected. Even if the company does not have a tangible product, their customers could claim that they suffered a loss as a result of the professional advice or the completed operations of the start up, at which point the start up would have to defend itself.
Q: Are there certain legal documents that would classify a company as a startup?
Q: At what stage or point should a startup consider insurance?
A: It will be a great idea for you to consult with an insurance advisor before any of the following:
KASE Study #1: Start up company about to launch the beta version of their new product or software. Their client asks them to provide proof of insurance before signing a contract.
Why is it important: This insurance coverage helps protect professional advice- and service- providing individuals and companies from bearing the full cost of defending against a negligence claim made by a client, and certain damages awarded in such a civil lawsuit. The coverage focuses on alleged failure to perform on the part of, financial loss caused by, an error or omission in the service or product sold by the policyholder. These are potential causes for legal action that would not be covered by a General Liability Insurance Policy which addresses more direct forms of harm. Cyber/Network Liability can usually be added to an E&O Policy to protect your exposure of a network going down or private information leaking and causing financial damage.
KASE Study #2: The start up company has outgrown the co- working space, and is looking to move into the new private office. As a condition of the new lease agreement, they are required to provide proof of insurance to the new landlord.
Insurance solution: Commercial General Liability and a Commercial Property
Why is it important: Commercial General Liability covers bodily injury or property damage cause to a 3rd party. Commercial Property coverage protects a business’s own business property within the office. This policy can also cover the loss of use of the premises in the event of a covered loss such as a fire.
KASE Study # 3: You are trying to put a board in place made up of experienced industry veterans. One of the potential candidates is asking you if he will be covered under your company’s insurance policy.
Why is it important: Protect your organizations against employee suits for discrimination, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, failure to hire, etc. The key here is to remember: Even if you are in the right, it doesn’t mean you will not have to defend yourself.
KASE Study #5: Your business cannot operate without you the founder, or one of your key employees. Investors are concerned about the company’s future should something health related happen to that individual.
Insurance Solution: Key Person Insurance
Why is it important:
The insurance company will a lump sum of tax free money to the corporation. These funds can be used to compensate for the loss of sales or the cost to hire a replacement for key individual.
KASE Study #6: You want to attract and retain the right talent to help you grow your business and are in search of employee incentives.
Insurance Solution: Employee Benefits- Health coverage
Why is it important: Your employees will have piece of mind when it comes to health-related expenses should they have health related issues.
Q: What are common components that are included in insurance policies (specifically for startups)?
A: First and foremost, the startup should obtain a commercial general liability policy to cover their products and their completed operations. Depending on what the startup does, they may want to consider errors and omissions insurance as coverage for professional liability is typically excluded from a commercial general liability policy.
Q: Why does KASE insurance like working with startups?
A: KASE Insurance is a start up! We know the struggles startups go through in getting the attention they need. Startups are often neglected because of their small size and potential for failure so as a result, they are not usually getting the right attention from their insurance brokers. KASE Insurance prides itself in being an active resource for insurance and risk management for companies of all sizes.
Q: What are some of the common mistakes that startups can encounter if they don’t have insurance?
A: Many startups will consider insurance when their customer or a landlord is asking for proof of the coverage. At that point, the startup may be scrambling to find insurance and will likely purchase what is readily available to satisfy their contracts. With more time and attention, an insurance broker can shop the market and find a more suitable product for the startup to buy.
Now, please. Do yourself a favour and get some insurance and do not jeopardize your idea, team and dream.
A big thank you to Stanislav and Arian from Kase for lending their time, insight and knowledge to better prepare and protect fellow startups and entrepreneurs.
Twitter was one of the first social media platforms that took the world by storm. Created in March 2006, it now boasts 319 million users worldwide according to staista.com. From churches and not-for-profits to celebrities, up and coming companies and big national brands, Twitter has created a way for people to connect and do business with one another. The creation of Twitter parties or Twitter chats help create a virtual meeting spot for like-minded individuals to come together to discuss and collaborate. Here at Startup Tech Unleashed, we hope to bring people together and host monthly Twitter chats, usually in a question and answer format.
How Does it Work?
To begin, a host and/or moderator will predetermine a date, time and topic. Be sure to know the correct timezone that it is being held in!
Know the hashtag for the chat. This is important because it allows users to find and be found during the chat throughout the Twitterverse. Be sure to include the hashtag in all responses. And if enough users are participating, maybe the hashtag will become a trending topic (this refers to the column found on the left hand side on a desktop view, noting the top 10 hashtags in a given area).
Upon the start of a chat, introductions are made. If users also state their location, it is fun to be able to reflect back and see what the reach of the chat was. Was it locally, provincially, nationally or even internationally?
It is crucial to adhere to the syntax of questions and answers so that moderators and other users understand what comments/answers belong to which questions. Here is a sample of how things will appear: (insert diagram). As participants see other responses and want to respond to questions earlier in the chat, they simply need to just use “A1 – xxx” or “A3 – xxx”. Again, this just ensures easier organization and logistics for everyone.
Be an active participant! A chat in only as effective as the participation. Add insightful thoughts and recognition. Favourite and like other participants’ responses and also show support by retweeting. Not everyone is going to agree on everything. And that is ok, however it is important to be clean, play nice and treat others with respect. Providing constructive criticism can be done in a positive manner. What is awesome is when everyone shares resources, suggestions and give kudos to others who provide great insight.
Continually check the hosts’ account for the most recent questions asked. Also, enter the chat hashtag into the Twitter search bar. Select the tab titled “Latest” to see the comments being left. If “Top” is selected, only the most active comments are shown i.e. the posts with the most “likes” or “retweets”.
Have fun! This is key! Make some new connections and friends.
Should any questions or concerns arise, be sure to flag them to the host and/or moderator by sending them a direct message or tagging them in a comment.
We look forward to meeting and chatting with everyone soon. Check the events section of Startup Tech Unleashed to determine when the Twitter chats will be held.
Everyone is looking to offer that next top-selling app, but it’s not as easy as it looks. First, you have to come up with an idea that is innovative and hopefully not already taken. Once you have that idea in mind, the next hurdle is bringing that idea to fruition while avoiding theft of your hard work. Here are some tips on how you can protect yourself.
Tip #1: Prepare a Non-Disclosure Agreement
One basic way to protect yourself is to have a standard non-disclosure agreement prepared. To get your ideas rolling, you will have to work with many different people. It is fantastic if you can only work with people you trust, but usually that’s not the case, so don’t take any chances! A non-disclosure agreement will require anyone who works with you to discuss your confidential information only with those who need to know the information, such as yourself and team, and to not share the information with anyone else.
To strengthen your protection, consider a non-competition agreement as well. Unlike a non-disclosure agreement, which protects confidential information from being shared, adding a non-competition agreement would prevent anyone who has worked with you from competing against you to build the same kind of app. This agreement would be particularly useful when your ideas are in the early stages and can be easily recycled by others in other areas.
Serial entrepreneurs are constantly coming up with the ‘next big idea’. During the excitement of starting the process of building a business, incorporating might not be the first thing on an entrepreneur’s mind. Employees might be promised shares in a corporation that doesn’t even exist. Can the employees enforce this promise?
Check out Clausehound.com’s blog post on this topic to learn more!
Terminator, Eagle Eye, The Matrix…robots always come back to crush the humans whenever they are given too much intelligence or too much feeling…or at least they make a point to enslave all of humanity.
Where do we draw the line? We’ve begun to see ads for Google Voiceand Alexawhich champion the fact that AI can do anything for you from scheduling appointments to making purchases online.
With companies already there for ‘home monitoring’ or ‘make everything electronically accessible’, such as locking your door, watching your security cameras or using appliances, how far are we willing to let artificial intelligence and tech giants into our minds and homes?
I’d like to bring up a few points regarding the need for tech in our everyday activities, starting with the most obvious argument, privacy. Hopefully, bringing some things to your attention you haven’t thought of.
Let’s say you want to use Alexa to buy a desk, off of Amazon of course, they made Alexa. It seems harmless, Amazon already has your credit card info online, so what’s the difference? The concern should come from the ‘it’s always listening’ argument. Phones are already doing this, that strange feeling where you’re talking about something with friends and the next time you go on a device it’s being advertised to you; that’s because Google is listening.
This may come to a shock to you, but this is how it is these days and it is being normalized. A lot of apps ask for access to your microphone for this reason, which is why I don’t have the Facebook app, because frankly I trust them the least.
If you’re okay with your Amazon AI consistently listening to you and your family in your home like Scarlett Johansson then so be it, I’m sure the government would never acquire that information if necessary (*hard wink*). At this point I have many things through Google and I’d rather not add more to the list of companies that know everything about me.
Normalizing Non-Human Consciousness
The other day I saw an ad for a robotic dog that actually woke someone up from their sleep, to ‘play with’ it. At that point I decided that was the worse product of all time. Assuming we aren’t far off from making robot dogs soft, squishy and loveable, do we really want to venture into replacing real, living things with forms of seemingly awesome tech for ease, or to replace a loved one so that we don’t have to miss them?
In case you missed it, we can already map a human consciousness into a machine, no not just like a Johnny Depp movie, but some have already done this. It seems very scary to think we could one time incorporate robots into our everyday life.
Should we rely on it for the most human things like loved ones, pets or day to day interactions…
Should We Rely so Heavily on Tech in our Everyday Lives?
I’m sure most of us are comfortable with forgetting GPS coordinates and phone numbers, leaving that up to our devices. What else should we forego? What does this do to an economy?
These are conversations we need to have. Amazon releases a lineless grocery store and boom! There goes what, 50 potential jobs? How much further are we willing to go in terms of eliminating human contact? Because it’s already causing problems in other parts of the world; Japan basically just released a virtual girlfriend-err-assistant which will send you texts during the day.
Korean women are majority not interested in marriage while half of the Japanese youtharen’t interested in sex or relationships. It’s almost like looking into the future reading those articles, as you begin to see what long term use of technology results in: lack of relationships and human interaction. When you replace sex with porn, social outings with gaming and relationships with virtual assistants, the rate of marriage, children and relationships/sex starts plummeting at rates Generation Tinder seems destined to move towards.
People are slowly gravitating away from the most traditional social mediums (traditional? How old am I?) and hopping on board with the new, more fresh places to be cool.
While YouTube has been around for quite some time, it is only getting more popular as users are seemingly growing tired with the censorship of sites like Facebook and Twitter (Minds is a new platform I’m liking) and pushing towards less, how do you say, politically inclined platforms; more on Facebook later.
Snapchat may be looking at a $25 billion valuation “with price guidance now likely to be $1-$2 above the $14-to-$16 estimated price range for shares”.
They have planned to sell 200 million shares at the price listed above, which would raise over $3 billion for the company. This would make it the largest IPO on American soil since Facebook went public with $16 billion in 2012. Comparatively, in 2013 Twitter got $1.8 billion, which all of course look like peanuts next to the $25 billion of Chinese super power Alibaba.
Despite the criticism of Facebook mounting by the month, they recently hit an all-time high in their stock, why? Instagram, which they own. Instagram has been following the style of Snapchat which is spearheading its success, which begs the question: What can Facebook do to keep up?
With Twitter fading in the rear-view mirror, Facebook is doing what made Instagram popular (and Mark Zuckerberg rich), take others’ ideas and make them better. Facebook is adding new features to compete with the job search platform LinkedIn.
A company spokesman recently told Reuters “Based on behavior we’ve seen on Facebook, where many small businesses post about their job openings on their Page, we’re running a test for Page admins to create job postings and receive applications from candidates,”.
It only makes sense, although this writer would prefer for everything not be filtered through social media. Besides, anyone will tell you that a successful job interview requires going to the company’s website to learn more about them. On the other hand, most (companies) put their heart (content) on their sleeve (Facebook) anyway.
That is essentially where the nobility stops and business begins, as YouTube star Philip DeFranco announced, the media giant is going to be offering YouTube TV; a subscription-based service for, you guessed it, Cable TV.
No doubt this is because Cable TV subscription numbers are getting really low, and news-media giants are noticing no one is tuning into them anywhere near the rates they are watching Joe Rogan, Alex Jones or the aforementioned Philip DeFranco on YouTube.
A desperate attempt to get money by the networks or a noble attempt to save jobs and content variety by Google? Either way, it seems YouTube comes out on top and has nothing to lose by giving a large audience a chance to see more content.
Numbers have stood the test of time and should not be overlooked. We live in a world where numbers help us make important decisions from profit and loss to predicting growth and sustainability. With so many numbers coming every which way, they collect and create large pools of data. Luckily, there are organizations that can help us navigate these for those that may become overwhelmed by so many numbers.
We got the chance to meet up with Lewis from the Liberty Village based startup called ThinkData. They are “…changing the way we interact with external data”. He answers some questions on why he loves the startup world.
Q: What have some of the challenges been as a startup?
A: One of ThinkData’s cofounders, Bryan Smith, reminded me recently that the definition of a startup is, to him, a group of people who are trying to solve a problem with limited resources. For us, making external data available to businesses is a constantly evolving problem, but if it was easy someone would have done it by now. One of the challenges is not only developing an infrastructure that supports external data but also educating people on how valuable the resource actually is.
Q: What are some of the successes been as a startup?
A: Measuring success as a startup can be difficult, but I’m personally very proud of ThinkData’s platform, Namara, which is solving the problem of external data access. Breaking down the silos that separate data sources, standardizing tons of data, and just generally making it easy to use is no small feat. We were also fortunate enough to have been selected by the C100 as one of 20 companies that participated in their 48 hours in the Valley program, and in 2015 we were recognized by the Canadian Innovation Exchange as one of that years hottest companies. But really any startup that’s been around for a couple of years and has clients who are happy should consider themselves incredibly successful.
Q: Name some of the most useful resources that any startup should tap into?
A: Toronto has become a really fertile breeding ground for startups. There are a few reasons for that, but I think that there’s been a really important focus on tech development in recent years and without them things would be a lot more difficult. We work very closely with MaRS and they’re doing great work. It’s also important to introduce yourself to other businesses in your community through a BIA network. Having a beer with someone sometimes turns into an amazing partnership opportunity.
Q: How could a startup of any size use data in their business development?
A: I don’t come from a data background, so I’m very sympathetic to the reality that when a lot of people hear “data” their eyes start to glaze over. Most businesses are already using data in their decisions, even if they’re not really aware that they’re doing so. But if you’re only using your own data, you’re really only seeing one piece of a much larger picture. Increasingly, external sources of data are the secret sauce that any company of any size can use to vault themselves to the next level of development. It’s really just a matter of starting with something small and seeing how it works for you. There’s no one-size-fits-all data, but there’s definitely data for everyone.
For the curious minds out there – Statistics Canada is releasing the 2016 Census data in phases throughout the year. ThinkData can certainly help your startup or organization mine the numbers that are meaningful to your business. See below for the release dates of data as per the Statistics Canada website:
February 8th, 2017 – Population and dwelling counts
May 3rd, 2017 – Age and sex, Type of dwelling
August 2nd, 2017 – Families, households and marital status, Language
September 13th, 2017 – Income
October 25th, 2017 – Immigration and ethnocultural diversity, Housing, Aboriginal peoples
November 29th – Education, Labour, Journey to work, Language of work, Mobility and migration
With Canada’s debt mounting, it is more important than ever for investors (whether angel or not) to put money back into our country to try and create jobs, and 2017 is the best time to do it.
For starters, by way of Google, University of Toronto and the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms Canada is poised to be one of the global leaders in the research of artificial intelligence.
According to Sam Sebastian, Managing Director of Google Canada, “large companies, startups, incubators and federal investment coming together to support a shared vision: To make Canada the global leader in AI research.”
Stephen Lake, Co-Founder and CEO of Thalmic Labs is another industry leader and investment seeker who has made predictions for 2017. One of those being wearables, saying “Wearables continued to fight and make traction in 2016, but new form factors will open up new possibilities in 2017.”
After raising $120 million USD in 2016, Lake seems poised to keep pushing this momentum forward, which is good news for Canadians everywhere.
Thalmic Labs was also listed on Betakit’s 11 companies to watch in 2017, which includes businesses that are hot and ripe for further investment. Digital health insurance from League and online real estate from Zoocasa are just a couple examples.
With so many industries switching to online tech, these are where the investments are really going. Customer service and market evaluation are booming too, like Hopper, an app that analyzes and predicts airfare, which is incredibly handy if you’ve ever become frustrated trying to book a flight.
Once companies like this hit the ground running, it’s a safe bet that duplicates will pop up. Food-delivery apps are popping up out of every corner as fast as applications for Snapchat and Instagram are.
As the Financial Post (via Bloomberg) points out “There have only been two Canadian IPOs in the past 12 months larger than $100 million. In the U.S., several tech companies have been waiting in the wings during the election. Now that markets have stabilized, big-name companies such as Snap Inc., parent of Snapchat, Blue Apron Inc., and MuleSoft Inc. are expected to pursue share sales next year.”
Of course Canada needs more of this, now more than ever. Restrictions, taxes and electricity costs have been a huge hurdle for Ontario businesses to overcome, let alone attract sexy investments into companies which stifle initial public offerings (IPOs) from coming about down the road.
It would be somewhat of a tragedy to have to wait until an election in 2018 for changes to be made to increase business expenditure in Canada. However, as the tech industry often does, it is possible to defy the odds.
One example the aforementioned article is Mississauga’s ‘PointClickCare’, which is poised to be going public in 2017, following the lead of real-estate data company Real Matters Inc.
It is companies like these Canadians need to invest in and support, to continue to develop tech companies in our future.
StartupTechUnleashed aims to support more and more Canadian companies as the months pass, with a lot of high expectations for 2017. Keep checking back, as the Canadian climate keeps building in a positive direction.
If you haven’t heard, social media is everywhere. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat (do I go on?) there are, believe it or not, some do’s and don’ts for these platforms.
Most of the following can be avoided with careful research, citation and not trying to do ‘what’s cool’. It’s especially paramount for tech companies. Trying to duplicate what’s consider ‘edgy’ or ‘cool’ can come back to bite you and the internet really doesn’t like copy cats.
Here are a few simple tips to help you avoid some bad PR and the headaches that come with it.
Be Careful What You Share
As much of a laughing stock the term ‘fake news’ has become by those who coined it, misleading posts are everywhere. Unfortunately, some people are willing to lie to get clicks/their point across, don’t be one of those people who shares controversial images without knowing their origin.
Believe it or not social media was designed for being social, not commercialism. But as time goes by every single medium falls into the greedy hands of capitalism and starts doing promotions. There now exists a relationship between users and businesses that mustn’t be taken advantage of, or face the dreaded ‘unfollow’ button.
Do your best not to spam with offers or advertisements on your page. You’ve got to create a relationship with your followers where you are sharing interesting content more often than not, and then slide your promotions in seamlessly.
While promoted posts on social media will appear to those who share the interests, the only way to get people to share/view your stuff is to put interesting or read-worthy content out there. Otherwise, platforms like Facebook and Twitter have ensured less people will see your content if it isn’t paid for.
Don’t forget free stuff, everyone loves free stuff! Promotions for give-aways of items that most people like across the board usually get a lot of attention. Think along the lines of prizes that are hard to obtain for the common 9 to 5 consumer: sports tickets in sports crazy town, concert tickets for a big-name artist, new tech like phones or headphones or basically anything for which quantities are limited and lines are long.
Don’t Stop, Updating
This is especially true for YouTube and Instagram; daily users of these platforms will really get into a groove and if the content satisfies their needs they will become loyal followers.
Whether you are updating once a day, week or month, make sure to be consistent. If followers get a taste of your content every Monday, and you miss consecutive Mondays, those users will lose faith and likely stop checking back. While a large amount of followers looks nice, it’s not the number you should be most concerned about. Rather clicks, interactions and viewer retention.
Avoid Political Stances
No matter where you are on the spectrum, ‘keyboard warriors’ are going to poke holes in you faster than you can update your feed. Be professional at all times (especially when responding clients who aren’t tech savvy) and avoid giving opinion on the politics de jour.
This does too include ‘accepted viewpoints’, no one really wants to hear it from non-news organizations, sorry. When you take a stance to support your favourite local business’ rights, whether you deem necessary, it comes at the risk of putting off a lot of potential customers and forever links you to this point of view.
Don’t fall victim to the “gotta get in on the action” mentality, unless it’s a fun, non-political trend, because people see right through that these days.
Don’t Ignore Analytics
Last but certainly not least, social media provides some of the best analytics out there, most of which are free of cost.
YouTube tells you how long people are watching and what they are watching most, while Twitter tells you how many people have seen and/or clicked on a link.
They will all tell you your demographics down to their age, gender, city and more. Use these as much as possible, right down to what time and which day of the week most of your followers view your content, for example.
Pretty handy stuff.
In a world that doesn’t like being advertised to, tread lightly on social media, capitalize on trends without coming across as one-sided or trying to take commercial advantage of bad moments in time. Be consistent and reward loyal followers with content and of course, free stuff.