Start-up,
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Events to foster the entrepreneurial spirit.

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October 24, 2018 Lee Burton0

The future of recruitment is exciting and unpredictable especially for recruiters. AI and machine learning are revolutionizing the way we hire. Recruitment technologies are making strides in the field of artificial intelligence to help us understand more about the people we hire, using algorithms to predict performance, detailed personality profiling and cognitive insights, you could say that we are simply unravelling disorganized human data. Does this make hiring easier and more accurate? Or is AI recruitment leading to more advanced methods to perfect our hiring decisions? The world of recruitment is shifting, machine learning and humans are blending in an entirely intriguing way. There are so many possibilities using AI to understand who a person is. AI is disrupting the recruitment markets. Will AI replace recruitment? We believe it will. Stayed tuned for the next recruitment blog focused on ‘The Cost of Hiring’

Writen by: Lee Burton, CEO & Founder of  Start Up Recruit


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November 21, 2017 jackelyn gill0

Today feels like the perfect storm of work. You’re in back-to-back meetings (some of which are frustratingly double-booked), you’re up against a major production deadline and you still need to complete that report for that big client who seems like they’re waffling on a proposal.

Lunch? Just not a priority. You have so much on your plate that you just don’t have time to put anything on your plate.

Enter the meal replacement.

Now, you may have heard that Soylent, a popular meal replacement product, has been pulled off of shelves in Canada after failing to meet the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s requirements. While they’re reportedly working with the CFIA to fix the issues (no details have been officially released about what, exactly, the specific issues are), it’s left many busy people hungry.

So while you’re waiting for your next meal, let’s take a look at what, exactly, meal replacements are, and how they’re changing the idea of food as we know it.

From magic pills to milkshakes

The CFIA defines meal replacements as “a formulated food that, by itself, can replace one or more daily meals.”

BBC’s Matt Novak traces the roots of the meal replacement dream to the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. And it wasn’t a question of science fiction, but one of politics. It’s a great read, so check it out for yourself… but bear with me as I brutally summarize it here.

To hype up the World’s Fair, the American Press Association asked writers to create a vision of what life might look like in 100 years. American suffragette Mary Elizabeth Lease offered a prediction in response: that science would allow us to take all the nutrients we need on a daily basis through a pill – thus freeing women up from their kitchen work.

The idea was mocked, but it stuck. Satirical books were written to dismiss women who didn’t love the idea of sitting in a kitchen for most of the day. Newspaper comics focused on that little magic pill as a way to lighten the struggles of hunger during the great depression. A full meal replacement was a crazy idea… but just crazy enough that it actually could work.

And it did work for astronauts, the first of whom notoriously ate their food out of tubes and pouches. Space was pretty popular in the 1960’s and 70’s. It’s no surprise that food pills, wafers, powders and gels became a staple in many works of science-fiction (including Soylent’s namesake Soylent Green, from Harry Harrison’s 1966 novel Make Room! Make Room!).

So: women’s rights, the Great Depression, hunger, space and books. Cool!

Now, the meal-in-a-pill became a caricature of the future more than a reality. But the underlying idea survived. Meal replacements as we know them today – in bar, powder or liquid form – really took hold with dieters and body builders, as well as people with poor nutrition, medical issues, or low appetites.

(You’ll recognize names like Boost, Ensure, SlimFast, Vega, and Muscle Milk are a few of many brands available on shelves across Canada.)

Most manufacturers will say it’s cool to replace a meal or two here and there with their products, or regularly fill in for, say, breakfasts only… but Soylent was the first to market itself as something you can eat, every meal, every day, for the rest of your life, without horrible things happening to you as a result.

Feeding the tech sector

The popularity of total meal replacements like Soylent, Schmoylent, Schmilk, and People Chow in the tech sector has been well documented, although there are certainly fans across all walks of life.

The New York Times reports that “tech workers in particular have the ‘early-adopter personality’ that makes them open to trying the powder.” The Guardian writes, “It is a good fit: the tech industry likes efficiency so why not apply it to yourself, but nutritionally optimised for your lifestyle.”

Meal replacements even make a comic appearance in Artificial Superintelligence, an iOS game about an AI startup building the world’s first sentient supercomputer. “Have you heard of meal replacement slurry? It tastes awful, but you don’t waste time cooking real food!”

Since its May 2014 launch, Soylent and competitors quickly claimed their place among busy people as a time saver. Reddit fans raved about reclaiming time spent planning, shopping, preparing, or eating meals. No clean-up afterwards.

It’s also insanely easy to pop open a bottle and drink your lunch without needing to stop what you’re doing or making time in a busy schedule – though you may need to put up with your share of “liquid lunch” eye-rollers.

Even Elon Musk talks about the idea in a biography authored by Ashlee Vance. “If there was a way that I couldn’t eat so I could work more, I would not eat. I wish there was a way to get nutrients without sitting down for a meal,” he said.

So what’s the big deal?

The idea of getting all your nutrients through liquid meals makes some people excited, and others skeptical. Here’s a recap of the reasons why:

Nutrition

Probably the number one issue to pop up from total meal replacements entering the market: do they truly provide all the nutrition we need to survive – and thrive?

On the whole, manufacturers say they’re adhering to established nutritional guidelines and are a healthier option than, say, grabbing a pizza on the way home. Calories, proteins, vitamins and nutrients are precisely measured with advice from doctors and nutritionists so you know what you’re fueling up with.

But there’s a lot we don’t know about human nutrition. CNN reported on this last year, with nutrition experts questioning whether meal replacements are good for our gut bacteria and whether they do enough to stimulate the muscles in our gastrointestinal tract.

Food waste

Canada throws out about $31 billion worth of food each year, much of it from supermarkets and our own homes, claims a report from Value Chain Management International Inc. In context, that’s higher than the GDP of the world’s 29 poorest countries put together. And think of all the other costs that go along with the actual waste itself: labour, energy, transport, disposal…

Meal replacements reduce the amount of food waste produced by those who use them with one caveat: as long as the containers are recycled appropriately.

Time

Meal replacements save time. “But preparing a proper meal doesn’t need to take much time,” I hear you thinking (if you’re someone who isn’t on the meal replacement diet, that is). It’s true: there are lots of options for healthy food, with little waste, that can be made quickly. Preparing meals can also be fun, and a great way to form bonds with friends and family.

And if you’re not into shopping or meal planning – one of the draws of meal replacements – there are services like Amazon that deliver groceries, and Chef’s Table that deliver all your ingredients, pre-prepared; you just have to put it all together.

That said, you could easily spend half an hour in total prepping a day’s worth of quick meals. That fridge above? A month’s of food, stocked in 20 minutes – no clean-up necessary.

Taste and variety

Here’s one of the biggest pain points of meal replacements going mainstream: people get sick of eating the same thing over and over again. Between texture and flavour, what’s new and novel can get old really quick. This part varies person to person, of course – lots of “future food enthusiasts” on the Soylent subreddit say they don’t really care what they eat as long as they’re getting the nutrients they need, and have been using the product exclusively for years.

Consuming meal replacements has been likened to drinking pancake batter. Yes, they have a thick, sometimes gritty consistency. Yes, the flavours are limited, even if there are choices. But leave it to the innovators to come up with ways to dress it up, from mixing in fruits and flavours of their own, to using the bevvys in baking (Soylent cupcakes or waffles, anyone?).

Though, as they gain popularity, meal replacements are at least coming out with new flavours to… get ready for it… shake things up.

Culture

If you have a family that likes to sit down and enjoy a meal together, meal replacements probably aren’t something you’ll serve for dinner. That’s why you’ll find they’re popular among people who are replacing meals during the day – grabbing a bottle for breakfast as they’re leaving the house, or for lunch, which they’ll enjoy at their desk anyway. Your habits and the people around you make a difference.

Health and wellness

In addition to saving time on meals, meal replacement users often anecdotally report losing weight (if they’re overweight), gaining weight (if they’re underweight), and finding respite from complications from allergies or dietary restrictions. And people with stomach issues who otherwise have a hard time digesting food share stories of finally being able to eat with ease again.

There aren’t any scientific reports out about this stuff yet, so take this one with a grain of salt.

Charity

Some products are also marketed as a tool to help developing nations feed their people. It’s a good fit: the powders or shakes require little in the way of storage, preparation, or infrastructure, and they pack a nutritional punch. Now you can feel warm and fuzzy while you’re drinking your goo.

Price

What you pay depends on whether you sign up for a subscription with most full meal replacements. But it’ll come to between, say, $2.50 and $5 per meal (obviously it varies between companies). Much cheaper than fast food options, but buying fresh and preparing your own food could still be a money saver.

One size fits all

Soylent offers just one mix for everybody, while Super Body Fuel offers product lines designed for different lifestyles (think athlete vs. regular Joe). Still, the idea of customizability is a little lacking as of now. While it may be easy to track your calorie and nutrient intake, it gets harder when it comes to finding what works best for you.

An industry with an appetite

Some people replace meals entirely, some replace breakfasts and lunches, and others fill in the odd skipped meal, or simply choose a meal replacement over an unhealthy fast food option. Maybe you’re just kind of wary out at the idea in general. That’s okay!

But let’s put some numbers behind those thoughts. Looking back to 2015, demand grew faster than supply could support, with waiting lists reaching six months before delivery, reported The New York Times. And the future looks good: the meal replacement industry will be worth about $12 billion USD by 2020, estimates RnR Market Research in its 2016 report.

How do you feel about meal replacements shaking up the way we think about eating? Let us know!


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September 19, 2017 brian prokopowich0

 

 

Introduction

The case of Hibberd v. Hurricane Hydrocarbons Ltd. involved various issues regarding many stock options that were not exercised that were part of a consultant contract.

 

Facts

If you read through the 150 paragraphs of this case, you might find that the minutiae of details within the judgement are like the digressions on Targaryen history in Game of Thrones, interesting but not exactly necessary information. So I will summarize:

 

The defendants, Hurricane Hydrocarbons Ltd., had engaged the services of the plaintiff, Mr. Hibberd, and his company, for the purpose of raising capital for the defendant to purchase a company in Kazakhstan.  As part of the agreement for the plaintiff’s services, in lieu of money they were verbally offered 100,000 stock options.

A written agreement came into effect for 50,000 with a termination clause that the option may be exercised any time until 60 days after his services are terminated, or before the options expire.

According to the plaintiff – the contractor – who signed off on these options, he was given representations that it was a standard clause and it wouldn’t be exercised.

The plaintiff entered into another agreement for 50,000 stock options that included a termination clause. It was the plaintiff’s understanding that the contract would not be terminated until after the options expired – and this was confirmed verbally, according to the contractor.  Later, the defendant terminated the contract in question. The plaintiff did not exercise his options within the 60 days period of the termination, but he attempted to exercise the option months later.

To finish reading the Clausehound blog: Click Here

This blog was originally posted by Farrah Roahman

Co-authors: Brendan Sheehan and Rajah Lehal

This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the reader. It is not legal advice and should not be regarded as such. Any reliance on the information is solely at the reader’s own risk. Clausehound.com is a legal tool geared towards entrepreneurs, early-stage businesses and small businesses alike to help draft legal documents to make businesses more productive. Clausehound offers a $10 per month DIY Legal Library which hosts tens of thousands of legal clauses, contracts, articles, lawyer commentaries and instructional videos. Find Clausehound.com where you see this logo.


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August 31, 2017 brian prokopowich0

Directors – names are (in most jurisdictions) recorded on the public registrar, role is to protect the shareholders, accept some legal liability, vote on company major decisions. No hands on day-to-day activities.

Executive Director – same as above, but also in an executive role (e.g. President), with hands on day-to-day operational activities.

Advisors – No voting rights, usually are experienced or well-connected business people, guide the founders.

 

Compensation may vary for directors/advisors 

I had previously written in this article that whether a company has a board of directors or a board of advisors, compensation is flexible.

A company may choose to compensate either a director or an advisor in cash, with options, a combination of cash and options, cash only, or the company may even choose not to compensate such directors. This is not a critical factor for choosing a board of advisors over a board of directors or vice versa. 

Public company board of director positions can receive seven digit compensation.  At the other end of the spectrum, a startup company more likely can offer options for compensation.  When offering option-based compensation consider the following:

To finish reading the Clausehound blog: Click Here

This blog was originally posted by Farrah Roahman

This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the reader. It is not legal advice and should not be regarded as such. Any reliance on the information is solely at the reader’s own risk. Clausehound.com is a legal tool geared towards entrepreneurs, early-stage businesses and small businesses alike to help draft legal documents to make businesses more productive. Clausehound offers a $10 per month DIY Legal Library which hosts tens of thousands of legal clauses, contracts, articles, lawyer commentaries and instructional videos. Find Clausehound.com where you see this logo.


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July 25, 2017 brian prokopowich0

When you’re involved in a contractual dispute, the process for resolving the dispute should be set out in the contract itself.

If the contract is silent on the point and you can’t resolve your dispute, you will have to use the courts. This can lead to disagreement about which courts have jurisdiction, so it is important to include clauses dealing with both governing law (what law applies) and jurisdiction (which courts can decide a case) in your contract.

To finish reading the Clausehound blog: Click Here

This blog was originally posted by Farrah Roahman

This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the reader. It is not legal advice and should not be regarded as such. Any reliance on the information is solely at the reader’s own risk. Clausehound.com is a legal tool geared towards entrepreneurs, early-stage businesses and small businesses alike to help draft legal documents to make businesses more productive. Clausehound offers a $10 per month DIY Legal Library which hosts tens of thousands of legal clauses, contracts, articles, lawyer commentaries and instructional videos. Find Clausehound.com where you see this logo.


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June 3, 2017 brian prokopowich0

Except for few specific circumstances, it is almost considered ancient to have parties to a contract physically meet up to a sign a contract in a boardroom. With the fast-paced lifestyles of most high-level executives, a more efficient method of signing contracts has been introduced: the e-Signature.

 

Although convenient, do e-signatures really create a valid and binding contract? Can e-signatures really replace hand-written signatures?

To finish reading the Clausehound blog: Click Here

This blog was originally posted by Farrah Roahman

This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the reader. It is not legal advice and should not be regarded as such. Any reliance on the information is solely at the reader’s own risk. Clausehound.com is a legal tool geared towards entrepreneurs, early-stage businesses and small businesses alike to help draft legal documents to make businesses more productive. Clausehound offers a $10 per month DIY Legal Library which hosts tens of thousands of legal clauses, contracts, articles, lawyer commentaries and instructional videos. Find Clausehound.com where you see this logo.


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May 2, 2017 brian prokopowich1
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.

To finish reading the Clausehound blog: Click Here

This blog was co-authored by Vi Vo & originally posted by Farrah Roahman

This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the reader. It is not legal advice and should not be regarded as such. Any reliance on the information is solely at the reader’s own risk. Clausehound.com is a legal tool geared towards entrepreneurs, early-stage businesses and small businesses alike to help draft legal documents to make businesses more productive. Clausehound offers a $10 per month DIY Legal Library which hosts tens of thousands of legal clauses, contracts, articles, lawyer commentaries and instructional videos. Find Clausehound.com where you see this logo.


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May 1, 2017 Meg Marshall0

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. 

Arian and Stanislav of KASE Insurance give some amazing tips to consider when to insure a startup.

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?

A: No.

Q: At what stage or point should a startup consider insurance?

Insurance needs should be considered part of the budget of a startup, suggests KASE 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.

Insurance solution: Errors & Omissions Liability (E&O), Cyber Liability

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.

Insurance Solution: Directors & Officers Liability (D&O) Insurance

Why is it important: Provides coverage for a loss as a result of a legal action brought for alleged wrongful acts in their capacity as directors and officers of the company

KASE Study # 4: You have hired employees to help you grow your start up.   

Insurance Solution: Employment Practices Liability

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?

KASE Insurance specializes in commercial insurance and can truly help 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.


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April 17, 2017 Meg Marshall0

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?

  1. 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!
  2. 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). 

  3. 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?
  4. 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. 

  5. 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.
  6. 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”. 

  7. Have fun! This is key! Make some new connections and friends. 
  8. 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.

 


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March 18, 2017 brian prokopowich0

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.

 

Check out a sample Non-Disclosure Agreement here!