Many cities and states have issued guidance regarding face coverings, social distancing, and other safety measures for employees. When each state has different, rapidly evolving guidance, and sometimes conflicting guidance, this can quickly become confusing.  However, failure to establish policies and obtain consent can expose startups to litigation.

Startups may have questions and concerns regarding best practices for reopening and reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19. To address these concerns and mitigate risk, we have compiled a number of return-to-work policies and procedures for startups to consider.
Continue Reading Return-to-Work Policies and Procedures for Startups

At Husch Blackwell we understand the financial hardships our startup clients are facing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know you are facing challenges in your business and would like to recommend that you take a moment to review the questions below as you plan the next steps your startup should take.

Is Your Business is Essential?

As states issue shelter at home orders, businesses deemed non-essential are closing. While guidance varies by state, there are often exemptions for specific essential businesses or those industries supporting essential businesses. If you qualify, you may need to take some steps to confirm your company may remain operational under an exemption and get your workers the proper paperwork to explain why they are out on the streets. You can find the latest guidance for your state at Husch Blackwell’s COVID-19 State-by-State Guidance Resource Center. One of our attorneys can help you to determine and draft any additional documentation needed to support that you are running an essential business.

Is Your Business Eligible for the CARES Act SBA Loan Program?

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the U.S. government to respond with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the largest economic stimulus plan in history.
Continue Reading 4 Questions for Startups Following COVID-19 Business Disruptions

Global Entrepreneurship Week Kansas City (GEWKC) runs November 18–22. Founded by the Kauffman Foundation eleven years ago, GEWKC is an opportunity to celebrate the innovators and job creators right here in Kansas City.

Husch Blackwell is proud to sponsor the Wrap-Up Celebration, aptly titled The Most Informative Party You’ll Ever Attend, on November 22 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM. In addition to providing a space to network with the attendees of GEWKC, Husch Blackwell attorneys Jenna Brofsky, George Khoukaz, and Liam Reilly will be in attendance to discuss how attendees can go about implementing the topics discussed throughout the week.


Continue Reading GEWKC and Husch Blackwell Celebrate Innovators with Wrap-Up Celebration

Kansas City’s inaugural FUND Conference buzzed with startups and emerging companies, from social ventures still in the ideation phase to companies having just finished their Series A financing rounds.

Entrepreneurs, investors, and business partners from Kansas City and cities across the Midwest convened to hear Brad Feld deliver a powerful talk on the complexity of entrepreneurship and engage on topics ranging from the mindset behind Midwestern money to the state of early-stage investment in the region. Throw in a sleek networking event among investors, sponsors, founders, and more, and you have two-days that show we don’t coast here in the Midwest. If you missed out, here are three takeaways for every entrepreneur to consider:


Continue Reading Miss FUND Conference Kansas City? Here’s Your Wrap-Up.

Silicon Valley has been known as America’s premier innovation capital for decades. Between easy access to funding, a strong entrepreneurial network, and a long line of startups-turned-industry-giants, it is no wonder why so many successful entrepreneurs and investors do business in “the Valley.” Why, then, is a mass exodus of the Bay Area in progress? As the exorbitant cost of living continues to skyrocket and Silicon Valley investors put more money into startups located outside of the Valley, many innovators are looking for a more affordable city to plant their entrepreneurial roots.

Continue Reading Kansas City: Why You Should Start a Business Here Before It Becomes “Cool”

More than 20,000 entrepreneurs and investors came together last week at Denver Startup Week to attend the world’s largest free entrepreneurial event. One of the most informative sessions I attended was presented by Anna Mason, Partner at Rise of The Rest Seed Fund. According to Anna, 75% of venture capital dollars are funneled into just three markets (Silicon Valley, NYC and Boston). Here’s a summary of Anna’s top ten tips for increasing your shot at securing elusive venture capital investment in the rest of the country:


Continue Reading Top Ten Seed-Stage Startup Tips for Landing Venture Capital

For startups, social media can offer cheap and effective publicity. Startups must also be mindful that any advertising, including on social media, will require you to comply with federal regulations. While sponsored content regulations once went largely unenforced against social media based advertising, times are changing. Advertising on social media is increasingly drawing the eye of regulators. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations demand honesty and transparency in advertising, and fortunately, honesty and transparency will keep your company compliant.

In 2016, the FTC sued retailer Lord & Taylor alleging the company paid online influencers to post pictures of themselves wearing a specific Lord & Taylor article of clothing. The posts failed to disclose Lord & Taylor provided the clothing for free and paid each influencer thousands of dollars.  Lord & Taylor also paid for a positive review in the online publication Nylon that appeared without notice it was a paid promotion. The product sold out quickly, but the FTC sued Lord & Taylor. The case ultimately settled, and the settlement will affect Lord & Taylor for up to twenty years.  Lord & Taylor did not make the posts that got them into trouble; they only failed to require the influencers to disclose their relationship with Lord & Taylor. Your company is responsible for others’ posts if you pay for the posts—tracking paid posts to ensure regulatory compliance is obligatory.
Continue Reading Watch Out for the FTC with your #SponCon

Most startups initially focus on incorporation, funding, and protecting their intellectual property, which is logical and practical! While these are all important and necessary, startups should also ensure that they are protecting their new startup from legal actions such as a lawsuit – the dreaded “L” word. A lawsuit is the official court process in which two or more parties seek to resolve a dispute. A legal battle can be lengthy, expensive, and create bad publicity. Startups are experiencing a rise in litigation and below we will focus on three growing risks to startups and provide practical steps to prevent these types of lawsuits.

Being threatened with a lawsuit is always frightening and unsettling but sometimes can be avoided. For example, in a sole proprietorship, both the company and owner could be liable for the damages. Structuring a startup as a corporation or a limited liability company could help reduce owner liability. Generally speaking, the creditors of a business also cannot succeed against the founders and other investors of corporations and LLCs for unpaid debts because they are sheltered by the corporate status.
Continue Reading An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: Why Startups Should Consider Litigation Risk

Husch Blackwell’s Caroline Chicoine is the current Vice Chair of the International Trademark Association’s (INTA) Impact Studies committee. Recently, she helped the committee finish the term strong with two important studies regarding Generation Z and the economic impact of trademark-intensive industries in Latin America.

Do Gen Zers make up a big part of your customer base? Gen Zers will make up the largest group of consumers worldwide by 2020. These consumers were born between 1995 and 2010 and are currently between 18 and 23 years of age. If you find your customer base consists of Gen Zers, the International Trademark Association’s Impact Studies committee’s recent study, titled “Gen Z Insights: Brands and Counterfeit Products” is a must-read. The multi-country study investigates the behavior of Gen Zers when it comes to their relationship with brands and attitudes toward counterfeit products. A copy of the Comprehensive Global Report covering ten (10) countries around the world, as well as reports for each country can be found here. For a comprehensive global infographic summarizing the results of the study, see here.
Continue Reading Insight from INTA’s Gen Z Study Brings Expanded Reach for Campaign on Counterfeit Goods