Dealing with the legal aspects of your brand new company isn’t exactly fun. But as every entrepreneur will agree, it’s one of the most important parts of the whole process. That’s why KOAN Law Firm has set up the FLY programme: a service that helps new businesses with all their legal issues. We took a look at how FLY helped Utopix, a startup that brings freelance photographers and videomakers together with creative agencies.
Imagine you’ve just started your own company. You’ve successfully turned a great idea into a business plan and now you’re ready to go. There’s a lot to do: you want to get your name out there, invest in product development, hire more people … But what about all the legal issues that come with starting your own business? Chances are, you’re not a legal expert. So how do you make sure you’re legally protected? This is where KOAN Law Firm comes in. With the FLY programme, experts will advise and guide you through every legal issue facing your startup.
Utopix: connecting photographers and agencies
Utopix is one of the startups KOAN is coaching. ‘We act as an intermediary between photographers and videomakers on the one hand, and creative agencies in search of them on the other hand,’ says Sophie Verhulst, COO and co-founder. ‘We compare photographers’ profiles, handle the selection, payments and the transfers of the photos. We’re currently working with more than 200 photographers and over 30 videomakers, including drone specialists.’
Dealing with contracts, terms and conditions, legal agreements and trademark strategy was completely new to Sophie. ‘As a young startup, our legal knowledge was very limited,’ she admits. ‘And so was the budget that we had in mind to take care of it. Ideally, we wanted to do it ourselves, or ask someone we knew to handle it. But because the legal issues are so important, that’s a big risk.’
A perfect partnership
A friend of Sophie’s told her about the FLY programme. She reached out to KOAN, and the response was very encouraging. ‘I gave them a call, and we scheduled a meeting right away,’ she says. ‘KOAN was happy to advise us, and we were obviously delighted with their professional guidance. During the whole process, Utopix grew and changed a lot. But it was great to see that KOAN was flexible enough to follow our evolution.’
One of the main things where Utopix could use some professional assistance, was the re-reading of their investment agreements. Those contracts with investors had to be 100% accurate, so the help of KOAN was very important. Another important issue, was the protection of their name. ‘KOAN helped us with the registration of a trademark in the Benelux, to make sure our name was protected. In the near future, we’re going to expand the trademark to the whole of Europe. Because of their wide international network and experience, we feel that KOAN is the perfect partner.’
Sophie explains why FLY has been crucial for them: ‘It’s not easy to understand all the legal aspects of starting a business. And hiring a legal counsel is simply too expensive, especially when you want to invest all your capital in the development of your product. But clearly, the risk of not being legally covered is too big to take. So programmes like FLY are a real blessing for any new company.’
Do you recognise the issues that Utopix faced? Are you having similar difficulties, when it comes to the legal aspects of your startup? Contact KOAN and let the FLY programme guide you through all your legal struggles.