Interview with EQUA's CEO Shawn Owen 1

Interview with EQUA Founder Shawn Owen

This interview was recorded during this year’s Anarchapulco conference on The Crypto Show (thecryptoshow.com)

In the Interview, Shawn discusses the following topics.

· Consensual Agreements

· Smart Contracts

· Operating Agreements

· Business Management UX

· Cap Tables

Also featured in an earlier segment of this interview was a conversation with Ashe Oro. Ashe has been a long-time proponent of blockchain and entrepreneurship. If you would like to learn more about what he’s working on please go to https://soundcloud.com/heryptohow/ashe-oro-and-shawn-owens-at-anarchapulco.

To learn more about Equa and sign up for a free trial, please visit us at www.equa.global

69

Documenting the Future of Corporate Governance

Documenting the Future of Corporate Governance

Corporate governance is a process by which a corporation is directed, managed and run. Organized properly, it serves as the foundation for business decisions supporting enterprise growth and stakeholder value.

Healthy engagement between stakeholders, the board of directors and company management is paramount for the profitability, productivity and market positioning of a business. These functions are a particularly important element for attracting long term investors and capital.

Organizational documents are key to the legitimacy of a business and its growth. Primary here are corporate formation and operational documents which provide a clear articulation of business activities.

The business structure utilized depends on the type of entity a founder chooses to run and the jurisdiction they’re in. A corporation is codified by way of a Certificate of Incorporation (also known as an Articles of Incorporation), along with associated bylaws that outline operating procedures.

These documents form a corporation’s basic charter governing management, operations, and equity holders’ rights.

Today it’s not uncommon to see founders ignore proper corporate governance practices in their haste for a quick business launch and market presence. And as is often the case in a rapidly growing industry sector, this oversight can run afoul of stringent and rapidly evolving regulatory requirements and requests for transparency.

Moreover, early investors and stakeholders often overlook these governance shortfalls in their quest for a quick investment return.

One example of this involves cases where a founder may offer a verbal or handshake promise of equity or stock options to employees or advisors without any sort of documentation. The same with corporate restructuring or even a vendor arrangement that occurs without an agreement to reference back to.

All of this underscores the importance of facilitating and adopting proper documentation practices. As a business owner, you can avoid headaches by implementing strong corporate governance practices right out of the gate. This involves bringing order to your bylaws, operational documents, and agreements, ensuring that your business is consistently operating within established parameters and approval protocol.

https://shawnowen.us/Shawn Owen is the CEO of equaSTART an enterprise on the cutting edge of document simplification where from creation to execution, agreements are smartened into living adaptable core components of an organization. He had this to offer about the launch of the business:

“I think there were a lot of different elements that probably led up to this idea culminating. It involved some big ideas that I’ve had for a long time along with a lot of different experiences which led me to my own theories around how businesses should operate and function.”

Owen says that the ultimate spark for deciding that this was an idea that needed to happen on the heels of the pain he had experienced running a previous business.

“I had many moments of deep reflection where I began asking myself, ‘why is this so complicated, why is this so hard?’”

He found that the document process to be rather arduous, often involving the review of something that occurred in the past in order to identify the best, most accurate outcome for people to agree on. But at the end of the day, he says, it was all basically about the efficient execution of agreements and recordkeeping.

Asked about the value proposition of equaSTART as a solution to this, Owen added:

“Broadly speaking, we’re using technology that’s specifically focused on delivering a quality business user experience around documents and agreements, all with the aim of providing a single source of truth for the records.”

Owen’s concludes:

“With all of the technology that we have in the world that we live in, I kept thinking, ‘shouldn’t there be a better way of keeping records without all of this unneeded overhead and complexity?’ When things start to become too complex, you start wondering ‘why is this, this way?’ I’ve always been a big fan of simplifying things if there is an easier way”

To learn more about Equa and sign up for a free trial, please visit us at www.equa.global

3

Doing The Startup “One Thing

Doing The Startup “One Thing

Acommon narrative among the world’s most prized companies is their early development as startups. In the past, creating a large and successful enterprise was seen as a major undertaking.

Today new businesses launch in small industrial spaces, spare bedrooms, even in garages. Globally, small businesses make up a significant portion of the global economy. In the U.S. alone, businesses of 500 employees or less comprise nearly half of the economy.

Despite these small beginnings, many startup owners are seeking exponential growth of their business, often with a single-minded vision of being acquired by a larger company.

In his number one Wall Street Journal bestselling book, Gary Keller extolls a concept called The ONE Thing. In it, he poses the question:

“What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

At equaSTART, our laser-focused intent and “one thing” is to help mitigate the friction associated with new business formation, management, and ownership. We seek to help businesses begin on a solid foundation, one that allows them to accelerate their market entry while eliminating costs.

Large, well-funded companies often have a wealth of resources to fuel their strategic growth, thereby gaining a decided advantage in the marketplace. equaSTART hopes to bring balance to this startup playing field by delivering a cost-effective, streamlined destination for business management activities such as documents, banking, and compliance.

The equaSTART platform allows members to form a new business entity, obtain a bank account, and secure a tax ID within minutes. All of this significantly reduces the amount of time and money associated with forming and managing a business.

The Building Blocks

EQAU founder and CEO Shawn Owen, says the company’s primary focus is to deliver a quality user experience to those starting a business or entrepreneurial venture. In other words, how to bring efficiency to the end user whether it’s an owner, business manager, investor — anyone who is the part of an organization.

Comments Owen: “Anytime you can make something more efficient and save people time and money, they love it.”

But the bigger picture, he says, is the notion of a central source of truth. In other words, once you have everyone’s information in one place, why not evolve it into all the other forms of agreements that people make.

“There is always a series or sequence of agreements tied to business transactions. Keeping these in one place allows you to free up time for your “One Thing” which is to deliver a great product.”

Owen also underscores the theme of simplicity for business owners:

“When you get too technical people get scared. By way of example, think about something as simple as bitcoin. When you talk about what Bitcoin is in a simple way, people are like, ‘I get it. It’s digital gold or whatever.’ But when you get too deep into the details, it can actually be very complicated. So at the end of the day, we want to avoid confusing people and keep their lives simple.”

Continues Owens: “One of the things I have always wanted to see and I think most people who are technology advocates also want to see is a user interface and experience that’s easy enough for even a grandmother to use. In other words, they are intuitively able to use it without having to know too much.”

Heconcludes: “Our goal is to make user experience our number one focus so a person would never have to know anything about the underlying technology. As long as someone gets just the basics, they’ll be able to use it.”

To learn more about Equa and sign up for a free trial, please visit us at www.equa.global

Hemp - Equa - Cannabis

The Cannabis Industry: Why it Needs an “EQUA.

Today’s cannabis market is smoking hot. Startup launches abound. Consumer interest is robust. Regulatory guidance is rapidly evolving.

These trends show no sign of abating. Marijuana is fully legal in 11 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. It is medically legal and/or decriminalized in 24 others.

According to Grand View Research the global legal marijuana market is projected to reach USD 146.4 billion by the end of 2025. This has spawned a flurry of new startups worldwide.

According to Fit Small Business, the cost to launch a regulated cannabis dispensary is approximately $775,000. Annual operating costs for a regulated dispensary average are around $1.92 million annually.

As is the case with any developing industry, the cannabis space is ripe with ambitious entrepreneurs who are often still new to the business world. At the same time, there are experienced business leaders who can set the pace for the others.

With the continued evolution of the industry, heavy regulation is beginning to take hold. With oversight and conformance with state laws and regulations vital for success, startups need a single source of truth where organizational decisions and actions can be effectively facilitated through document creation, management, and cap table management tools.

An Evolving Landscape

The cannabis industry is facing a corporate governance problem. And it’s one that startups can ill afford to turn a blind eye to, given the frequently changing regulatory landscape.

Today’s cannabis businesses must maintain strict compliance with state regulations along with federal law. Often shareholder registries are managed through the use of rogue spreadsheets. Because of the human element, they are often susceptible to errors.

The issuance of new shares or options prompt updates to these registries. Many early-stage companies use convertible notes which transfer into equity based on targeted milestones. The problem with this is that these transactions don’t always occur correctly. So anytime there are discrepancies in these records, they can be very time consuming and costly to reconcile.

Given the importance of these authentic record of ownership, these errors can be problematic. If the information is incorrect or out of date, contacting shareholders to vote on major acquisitions or a sale can prove difficult.

This is where the promise of a new normal comes into the picture.

In short, Equa START endeavors to allow companies to focus on their core business while taking care of the nitty-gritty backroom stuff that they cannot achieve in terms of bandwidth, knowledge, and experience.

There are a number of ways that EquaSTART hopes to become a differentiator for cannabis companies:

Compliance:Because Equa START is an all-in-one documents platform it can help address regulatory concerns, It can also serve as a valuable tool for KYC (Know-Your-Customer) procedures.

Information Transparency: The blockchain allows for the storage of relevant corporate information (i.e., shareholder name, address, shares, etc.) all on a digital, immutable ledger. This will provide an easy way for shareholders of cannabis enterprises to register their holdings directly with the company, rather than through a broker. Moreover, a distributed ledger approach can offer greater public access to share ownership percentages, boosting the likelihood of more informed investment decisions.

Voting Transparency and Shareholder Engagement: Equa START can provide a mechanism that allows shareholders easier access to their voting rights, proxy transfers (if required), and more accurate vote tallying.

Organization and Efficiency: Equa START can mitigate the need for paper share certificates while providing an accurate documentation record of shares issuance and ownership. It can help streamline organizational processes as well as reducing asset transfer settlement times. And in some cases, counter-parties could potentially be eliminated altogether.

Conversions: Through the use of smart contracts, preferred shares could automatically be converted to common shares with each financing round. Each transaction will be recorded in the digital ledger, eliminating the need for human updates or multiple copies of shared registries.

To learn more about Equa and sign up for a free trial, please visit us at www.equa.global

The Promise of Artificial Intelligence: Ushering in the Next Generation of Digital Document Systems 2

The Promise of Artificial Intelligence: Ushering in the Next Generation of Digital Document Systems

Maintaining low operational costs amid a sea of legal documents is an ongoing challenge for today’s businesses. Manual processes are often costly, inefficient, and fraught with inaccuracies.

Given this prevailing trend, growing numbers of companies are exploring the viability of artificial intelligence (AI) as a potential solution for streamlining their document management systems.

The use of AI is not a new trend. Rather it’s already exerting a quiet presence in our lives. Whether it be personalized playlists on Spotify, book recommendations on Amazon, or the curation of Netflix movie options, AI is fueling an impressive set of advancements.

Now, AI’s algorithmic approach is seen as a revolutionary approach to document management, providing new ways for storing, archiving, processing, and extracting information. Unlike traditional data processing systems tied to a consistent set of logic, AI systems become more intelligent as data volumes increase.

OCR (optical character recognition) is a key element in AI’s promise. Allowing for text recognition, it is able to “read” document information, correctly classify it, and automate workflows based on that classification. This signals a new normal for managing large numbers of scanned documents with human-level accuracy. This information can be efficiently read, contextually understood, and extracted.

By way of example, an AI-powered document management system could sort through invoices and other key information. Organizations will also be able to access data tied to how documents relate to one another (i.e. shipping order and invoice), providing deep levels of analysis that have since been impossible.

Securing The Future

Data security is a top-of-mind concern for today’s business leaders. AI-driven document management systems can boost security and protect customer data by offering permissioned access protocols that help mitigate the unauthorized viewing or alteration of documents. It can protect documents by safeguarding the files in conjunction with whitelists, blacklists, and firewalls.

AI technologies allow for post-scanning character recognition, virtually mitigating the need for human intervention. All this can occur in fractions of a second, resulting in significant cost savings and enhanced efficiency for an organization.

AI thought leader and expert Mariya Yao, in her book Applied Artificial Intelligence: A Handbook For Business Leaders noted:

“While brilliant minds worry about achieving marginal improvements in competitive benchmarks, the nitty-gritty issues of productizing and operationalizing AI for real-world use cases are often ignored. Who cares if you can solve a problem with 99 percent accuracy if no one needs that problem solved? What’s the utility of a tool whose purpose is so arcane that no one is sure what problem it was trying to solve in the first place?”

equaSTART is committed to these sorts of real-world applications for the business world — With the advent of AI, the future of document management systems hold immense promise, with early adopters first in line to reap the rewards.

Concludes equaSTART founder and CEO Shawn Owen:

“AI is how we get to frictionless agreements. By knowing the information of all parties involved, AI can instantly answer all of the needed information in any given situation to form agreements that are near ready to sign at any time.”

To learn more about Equa and sign up for a free trial, please visit us at www.equa.global

The Time and Money of Building a Business 3

The Time and Money of Building a Business

Starting a business is an exciting endeavor. The possibilities for success are unlimited.

But the road to success is not easy. It requires long hours, dogged persistence, and the expenditure of funds.

With the takeoff of your entrepreneurial venture, you may have noticed the impact it’s having on your time and finances. This requires your constant attention in order to ensure that these vital resources are not depleted.

Developing a business plan without an effective cap table or other financial tools often lead to unfortunate business failures. Without a mechanism for accurately tracking historical financials, it becomes a challenge to accurately assess new company revenue and costs.

The good news is that while these critical obligations may be a challenge, they are certainly manageable with the right systems in place.

Here at equaSTART, we provide a broad range of solutions for managing the time and financial demands of your business. Targeting the simplification of business agreements, our platform allows members to create a new business, obtain a bank account, and secure a tax ID within minutes. This allows business owners to significantly reduce the amount of time and money involved in establishing and managing a company.

Starting a business can be a time and money vacuum. Given the explosive growth of small businesses and registered entities worldwide, equaSTART is on a trajectory to becoming the pre-eminent one-stop global destination for documents, banking, and compliance.

Says founder and CEO Shawn Owen“We are excited to offer an enterprise cloud solution that allows businesses to draft, sign and manage all of their operational agreements. We also provide tools for managing an organization’s capitalization table and ownership structure.”

He concludes: “Ultimately, the real magic is in the ability to manage ongoing edits or evolution's needed for any action or transaction from your dashboard at the click of your fingertips. We aim to make corporate governance and high finance easy and fun while providing business leaders with an efficient system for managing their time and financial demands.”

To learn more about Equa and sign up for a free trial, please visit us at www.equa.global

What is a Corporate Entity? 4

What is a Corporate Entity?

A corporate entity is a business structure formed specifically to perform activities, such as running an enterprise or holding assets. Although it may be comprised of individual directors, officers, and shareholders, a corporation is a legal entity in and of itself.

Generally speaking, there are three general forms of legal entities through which business can be conducted: (1) sole proprietorship, (2) corporation, and (3) partnership.

There is also the limited liability company (LLC), a business structure that can integrate the pass-through taxation of a partnership or sole proprietorship with the limited liability protections of a corporation. LLC’s are technically not a corporation under state law. Rather they are legal structures that deliver jurisdictional limited liability protection to business owners.

These various forms of entities are legally able to enter into agreements or contracts, purchase property, assume obligations, open a bank account, incur and pay debts, sue and be sued in their own right, and issue stock under their business umbrella.

Businesses throughout the world utilize corporate entity structures. A corporation’s most important attribute is its limited liability provision. This allows shareholders to accrue profits through dividends and stock appreciation without being personally liable for company debt.

Establishing a Corporate Entity

Corporations are created through an incorporation process initiated by either a single shareholder or a group of shareholders with ownership rights to the corporation. This begins with the filing of Articles ofIncorporation in the state jurisdiction where the corporation is seeking to be registered.

A filing can occur in a state outside of where the corporation is located. States like Delaware, Wyoming, and Nevada have favorable incentives for companies registering in their geographic locations. These corporations, however, are required to register as a “foreign” corporation in the state where they actually reside and engage in their business operation.

In these out-of-state scenarios, a corporate entity is typically required to designate a registered agent (a person or company designated to serve as the legal contact of record).

Another benefit of corporations is their ability to provide for unending succession. So, they may technically exist in perpetuity unless dissolved.

A corporation can be set up as a non-profit, as in the case of a charity. However, the vast majority of corporations are established with the intent to provide a return for its shareholders.

To learn more about Equa and sign up for a free trial, please visit us at www.equa.global

What Are Corporate Bylaws and LLC Operating Documents? 5

What Are Corporate Bylaws and LLC Operating Documents?

Corporate bylaws are a vital element of a newly formed company, providing key rules and regulations for operational effectiveness. They aredrawn up and codified by the board of directors when a corporation is being formed. This document helps to ensure that a business runs consistently from its inception.

Bylaws thus become the critical document to aid the board of directors in their oversight of the corporation.

Terms included in a corporate bylaw are dictated by the guidelines set by a particular state. These typically include important information such as the following:

In most states, limited liability companies (LLCs) are required to create an LLC operating agreement. These operating agreements, essentially function as a set of corporate bylaws, offering guidelines for how an LLC operates as well as owner responsibilities. The documents are often key for responding to legal issues and are legally binding.

Typically LLC’s and corporations are not required to file bylaws and operating agreement documents with the Secretary of State office. They may, however, be requested by lenders, banks, attorneys, and potential investors for various business activities.

To learn more about Equa and sign up for a free trial, please visit us at www.equa.global

What are Articles of Incorporation? 6

What are Articles of Incorporation?

Articles of Incorporation provide the basic legal framework by which a company operates in a particular state or jurisdiction. Considered a public record, it codifies key business activities, owner names, and stock information for the company.

For an LLC, this document is referred to as an “operating agreement.”It describes the operational activities for the company as well as owner responsibilities.

To register a business as a separate entity, Articles of Incorporation must be filed with the Secretary of State’s office in the locale in which the company intends to do business. LLC’s, however, are not required to have an operating agreement or even file one.

Each state has its own requirements for the filing of forms. Accuracy in reporting application information is critical as errors and omissions can put a business at risk for legal issues.

To learn more about Equa and sign up for a free trial, please visit us at www.equa.global

Launching a new business? Putting in long hours?

Congratulations.

Now for the not so good news: You’re likely going to have a few bumps and hurdles along the way.

As an entrepreneur the possibilities for errors are endless: Like failing to file important compliance documents. Or overlooking an important tax filing deadline. How about blowing through all of your startup funding.

When these and other mishaps occur, it’s so easy to write them off as simply another case of “we didn’t know what we didn’t know.”

But here’s the good news:

Every mistake you make is a learning moment

Below are seven of the most common pitfalls startup entrepreneurs make when launching a new business.

Regardless of whether you’re a newly minted entrepreneur or have been into your business for the past 2–3 years, we invite you to capture some notes and heed the call to action on what you read below.

Pitfall #1: Too Much, Too Fast

You’ve started your business and the adrenaline is flowing. Things have reached a fever pitch. You’re feeling ambitious and on top of the world. And yes, of course, you’re expecting immediate results.

“Next week we’ll be profitable,” you tell yourself. And then you have a Chinese Bamboo Tree moment.

When you find yourself in this trap, it’s important to keep in mind that we often OVERESTIMATE what we can achieve in “Year One” while UNDERESTIMATING what we can do in say Year Five.

The lesson here:

Mistakes are going to occur. So you may as well learn from them.

Pitfall #2: Putting off Setting Up a Corporate Entity:

If you have a highly conservative accountant they will likely tell you that you can get away with simply registering with your Secretary of State as a sole proprietor. But there’s more to this story so listen up: Setting up a business entity ( LLC, S Corporation, or C Corporation) right out of the gate may be an important step for you to consider for one major reason, namely, it can serve as a form of liability and personal asset protection in the event that you’re sued.

Pitfall #3: Not Having a Good Bookkeeping System

Here’s an often overlooked fact: Having a great bookkeeping system (i.e. keeping those receipts) will not only allow you to maximize your tax writeoffs but save you a ton of headaches and extra CPA costs at tax time.

Back in the day, the modus operandi was to toss all of your lose receipts in a bag and hand them off to your bookkeeper monthly for reconciliation. Today we have great online sites and apps that can assist with digital downloads of bank statements and receipts. So there are no excuses for not having a good system in place.

Pitfall #4: A Lack of Startup Funding

It’s well documented that the number one cause of business failure is a lack of funding and working capital. Therefore it is an important piece to get a handle early on in terms of what will it take to keep your business running on a day-to-day basis. Otherwise, this disconnect could lead to funding shortfalls that might quickly put your business in peril.

Your Secret Sauce for better funding outcomes: Learn about the importance of Cap Tables.

Pitfall #5: Poor Sales Execution and Growth Mindset: As a startup, building a sales funnel can often lose importance in our list of priorities even though we are well aware of its importance. It goes without saying that this can lead to disastrous consequences.

Grant Cardone in his bestselling book entitled The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure admonishes us to take massive action in the work that we do, saying that it is vital for the success of our business.

Here is a brief video of Grant discussing his 10X Growth Mindset!

Pitfall #6: Taking Shortcuts With Your Product or Service

The late inspirational speaker and thought leader Jim Rohn noted in one of his early seminars, “You get paid for bringing value to the marketplace, and if you’re not very valuable you don’t make much money.

The same is true for your business: The MARKETPLACE VALUE of your product or service is what will ultimately determine your business success. In other words, if you focus on all of the other details of your business versus working on the quality of your product or service, your business will likely see an early demise.

Pitfall #7: Lack of Strategic Direction

Here’s the key: Find your business sweet spot and then stay in your lane. Because if you disperse your energy in too scattered of a fashion, you will experience the Law of Diminishing Returns and your business will crumble.

Here’s a great book to read on this point: Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

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