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Monday, December 13, 2010

The Nuts and Bolts of Starting Up - Open Event @ MIT



Come and join us, we’re open.

And come they did. Droves of enthusiastic MIT students and entrepreneurs alike were welcomed to our first ever ‘open’ Startup Leadership class at MIT”s Boynton Hall. The feedback and accolades were many, but none described the core value of SLP program quite as much as a quote from graduating student, “Thanks for hosting the awesome event this evening...”. The evening would not have been a success if it were not for the flawless execution from Adam and Camile and their facilitation of the evening’s agenda.

The night began with general introductions and acknowledgements to our friends, sponsors, partner and hosts, MIT SASE and TIE Boston.

Have an idea? Business plan is ready? Cash in the bank?

Next up, the facilitators introduced our expert panel of guests who represent some of Boston’s best in practices of Incorporation, Real Estate, Insurance and Accounting, all of which are crucial in building the foundation of your new company. Each panelist provided the class with fifteen engaging minutes of advice from within each of their areas of practice.

Ty Janney, Principal Partner, Landmark Real Estate Advisors, LLC
Is your garage getting cramped? Need more space for your team. Ty provided the group with the “basics for expanding your workspace, including the following words of wisdom:

Best Practices

  • Establish a budget for people, furniture, parking, etc.
  • Develop a timeline and exit strategy for when your head count may exceed the square footage of the space.
  • Allow extra time for negotiation for LOI and have an alternative option.
  • Understand the costs, i.e. cost per square foot per employee and security deposit
Common Mistakes
  • Under estimating the moving timeline. It typically requires 10-14 weeks.
  • Failure to account for LC/Security deposit
  • Choosing the right team, a Buyers Agent.


Sean Coady Senior Partner, EBS Capstone Insurance
Don’t take any chances. Protect your company and yourself. Sean explained the benefits of Insuring your startup, highlighting the following:

Traps for the Weary
  • Make sure you understand your liabilities
  • Understand what is available
  • Know your client liabilities
Most common mistakes
  • Using the wrong broker
  • Signing contracts before understanding the insurance requirements
  • Underestimating the timing for the process


Paul Sweeney, Partner, Foley Hoag LLP
Your idea is great. Your team is in place. Your business plan is solid. You have a strategy. Now you’re ready to take you company to the next level. Paul discussed the advantages and challenges to incorporating as follows:

Top Issues
  • Waiting too long to form your entity (incorporating, L.L.C., etc), limits your liability
  • Establishing Ownership
  • Issuing equity and tax benefits
  • Equity incentives for employees
Key Notes
  • Don’t over complicate things
  • Don’t be too casual with equity
  • Only take money from people who can add value to the company

Scott Goodwin, Certified Public Accountant, Wolf & Company
Just because your uncle help you with your taxes, doesn’t mean he should help you with your company’s accounting. Scott outlined how he guides entrepreneurs from startup to entrepreneurship as follows:

Top Do’s
  • Get your books on the right foot form the beginning
  • Outsource your payroll
  • Make sure you have the right accounting plan
Top Don’ts
  • Co-mingle personal finances with business finances
  • Don’t over promise equity
  • Treat employees as independent contractors

In summary to a great evening, taking your company from startup to success requires building the right team. Our guest speakers would be more than happy to help you get there.

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