Important Contracts for Startups in Silicon Valley


Startups in Silicon Valley are just like startups anywhere else — they depend on strong relationships with investors, employees, and others to get off the ground and expand. Where do legal contracts come into the mix? The best way to safeguard your startup and ensure long-term success as the business grows and evolves is to formalize those relationships with legal contracts.

Which Contracts Apply to My Startup?

Not surprisingly, some contracts only apply to certain kinds of startups offering specific kinds of services, but there are quite a few contracts that apply  to most startups. It is always a good idea for startup ventures to hire legal counsel to help ensure that they are covering their bases, both internally and externally. Here’s an overview of the most common contracts startups should consider critical to their survival and success.

Overview of Common Contracts for Startups

  • Founders’ Agreement: A Founders’ Agreement is a contract that governs the business relationships between a company’s founding members, i.e the founders of the company, and the company. This contract outlines each founder’s rights, responsibilities, and liabilities, and protects each founding member’s interests as the company moves forward. A good Founders’ Agreement formalizes the founding members’ goals and interests in the company, formalizes the company’s basic structure, and outlines the ways the founders will work together to grow the venture.
  • Confidentiality Agreements/NDAs: A Confidentiality Agreement (also called a Non-Disclosure Agreement or NDA) is a contract between an employer and its employees to protect confidentiality and information on both sides. A good Confidentiality Agreement/NDA encompasses security policies, intellectual property, trade secrets , and confidential information.
  • Employment Agreements and Consulting Agreements: There are many types of employment agreements tailored to suit the structure of your startup, but they all govern the relationship between employer and employee and make the terms of that agreement enforceable. Good Employment Agreements also deal with issues of intellectual property and NDAs. Whether you’re employing full-time salaried staff, independent contractors or consultants, it’s critical to have proper Employment Agreements in place to protect all parties involved.
  • Website – Terms of Use and Privacy Policy: A Website Terms of Use Agreement governs the relationship between your website and the people who visit and use it. A good Terms of Use Agreement includes provisions and limitations for how your site will be used; warranty and liability disclaimers; dispute resolution; intellectual property rights and copyrights; and refund and return policies. Your website should also display your Privacy Policy, which sets forth how you will handle any personal data collected from visitors to your site, as well as how that data may be transferred to third parties.

Speak with a Silicon Valley Startup Contract Law Firm Today

Navigating the labyrinth of potential risks and necessary documentation can be overwhelming, which is why it is always a good idea to consult with an attorney specializing in legal contracts for startups in your geographical area. The lawyers at Startup Company Counsel are experts in drafting, reviewing, and negotiating contracts for startups in Silicon Valley. Let Startup Company Counsel guide you through these critical processes and ensure that your contracts are strong and  enforceable — contact us today by calling (408) 441-7555 or contact us through our website.

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