Essential Law for Entrepreneurs in Innovation-Driven Startups and Growth Companies (4Dx)

Dates: There are no upcoming dates scheduled for this program

NEW FOR 2014  An innovation-driven startup or growth company—one designed to commercialize a new technology or a business model enabled by a new technology—faces distinctive law-sensitive challenges. This program is a hands-on, focused “deep dive” into the law-sensitive issues that face innovation-driven businesses at key junctures.

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Essential Law for Entrepreneurs in Innovation-Driven Startups and Growth Companies (4Dx)
Certificate Track: Management and Leadership
Location: Online
Tuition: $3,300
Program Days (for certificate credit): 2

This course will be delivered in our state-of-the art immersive virtual classroom, and will comprise six 2 hour live online sessions taking place once a week over six weeks. All sessions will be recorded.


A vast majority of companies encounter substantial and often unexpected legal costs when starting a new venture. Whether you are an innovation driven entrepreneur or an entrepreneurial executive launching a new venture within a large organization, Essential Law for Entrepreneurs will help you navigate the key challenges when starting, financing, and selling new ventures. This program will engage entrepreneurs and executives from across the globe in an interactive virtual classroom where participants will enter into live discussions about starting new ventures in the U.S. and debate legal issues with the instructor, John Akula, an acclaimed attorney. There will also be guest appearances from experienced investors and experts in the venture and angel investor world.


An innovation-driven startup–one designed to commercialize a new technology or a business model enabled by a new technology–faces distinctive law-sensitive challenges that are critical to its success, whether in a fledgling new company or in an entrepreneurial new business founded within an established corporation. As an innovative leader, it is essential that you understand at a high level how the law shapes these risks and opportunities. With a deeper appreciation of these issues, you will bring better judgment and more effective leadership to the founding and growth of these exceptionally dynamic ventures. In this unique program that leverages decades of insights and experience from MIT, you will learn how to answer questions such as the following:  


  • In innovation-driven startups, there is often a team of entrepreneurs, rather than a single founder. The timeline for growth of the business is not linear–there is often a substantial period of no revenues and investment followed, hopefully, by extraordinary growth. This also creates a need for investors, and in particular investors who share the founders’ appetite for risk. In this environment of radically shifting risks and opportunities, how can you protect your interests with an appropriate legal framework for ownership, compensation, incentives, responsibilities, commitment and control?
  • If you are a global company expanding into the U.S., what are the legal considerations that will impact how you set up your business?
  • When the value of a venture is based upon an innovation, intellectual property (IP) rights are often key to growing that value. How do legal considerations shape an effective IP strategy? How can IP rights be acquired? How can IP be protected from threats such as the departure of key employees? 
  • Some innovation-driven startups have as their goal growth into a fully mature enterprise. But often the goal is to develop a product or service to the point where its value is clear enough to attract a buyer for the entire venture. Negotiations with prospective buyers are typically very asymmetric–with the new venture sitting across the table from a counterparty with far more resources and experience. This is also often true in negotiations with prospective investors. What tools does the law provide to protect the entrepreneur?
  • As the innovation-driven startup matures, taking on investors and shifting its business focus beyond enabling the innovation, pressures are generated for shifts in governance and management. The board, which at the outset is typically just the founders, takes on new members, more formal functions, and a more complex set of legal responsibilities and liabilities. Founder-CEOs are often replaced even as a venture achieves early success (and sometimes precisely because of that success). What do key stakeholders need to understand about how the legal framework of the venture channels these changes? 
  • Such ventures have an acute need for savvy legal advice and representation, but lawyers are expensive and resources are often very limited. How does the startup obtain and finance the legal services that it needs?
  • An innovation-driven startup is a high risk/high reward venture, and even those that are ultimately successful may suffer periods of financial distress. Financial distress creates major legal risks for a business entity and its managers. What legal pitfalls must be avoided during times of financial distress, or during a winding down of the venture?


Session Dates and Estimated Times (you must attend all):
Tuesday, November 11, 2014:12:00pm-2:00pm Eastern U.S. Time
Tuesday, November 18, 2014: 12:00pm-2:00pm Eastern U.S. Time
Tuesday, November 25, 2014: 12:00pm-2:00pm Eastern U.S. Time
Tuesday, December 2, 2014: 12:00pm-2:00pm Eastern U.S. Time
Tuesday, December 9, 2014: 12:00pm-2:00pm Eastern U.S. Time
Tuesday, December 16, 2014: 12:00pm-2:00pm Eastern U.S. Time


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This program will be a completely engaging, live experience in which participants interact in a “4D” virtual room with John Akula and fellow students via personalized “avatars.” The participants will be able to talk and move around, and they will feel like they, not just their avatars, are present in the classroom.