Vital to the success of a growing enterprise is the effective management of employment documents. This process, however, if not structured properly, can evolve into a highly chaotic and messy proposition.

Typically under the auspices of an HR Department, the purpose of these documents is to clarify the rights, accountabilities, and expectations for successful workforce engagement. Part of the employee record, they play a critical role in ensuring consistency in how workplace policies, procedures, and practices are applied.

These are among the documents commonly used to codify an employment relationship:

At Equa, we believe that compliance audits along with the need for organizational risk mitigation activity underscore the need for unalterable, timestamped, single source of truth documents. Other emerging trends informing Equa’s value proposition and solutions in this space include:

Companies are increasingly employing digitally signed records and other documents tied to workplace relationships.

The growing acceptance of “electronic signatures” as so-called wet signatures.

The need for easy access and identification of a single source of truth documents for workplace compliance audits and employer-employee disputes

HR cost and productivity savings associated with advancements in the management of records and permissioned access.

In today’s dynamic business environment where workplace disputes and compliance audits are common, seamless access to properly executed documents holds great importance. Equa’s innovative solution fostering frictionless, single source of truth documentation represents a major leap forward in this quest.

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When Corporate Governance Fails

Humans have organized the world through an infinite string of agreements and social contracts. Whether people agree to stop at a red light or get in line at the grocery store, a functioning society depends on these kinds of agreements. Managing organizations like nonprofits and corporations require layers of agreements between stakeholders.

At formation, organizations must abide by government policies by registering with the state and obtaining a tax registration ID. If these rules aren’t explicitly outlined by the regulatory body, they are covered by an operating agreement. Fully understanding the contents of your operating agreement and knowing your organization’s needs can save you many sleepless nights.

Aside from the largest liability of not having an operating agreement, to begin with, another common mistake includes assuming that all signatures have been collected to make the document legally binding.

As your trusted tax advisor will tell you, different organizations fall under different tax categories and your operating agreement needs to align, accordingly, from the start. Further, most businesses “set it and forget it” when it comes to their operating agreements. Similarly, changes in IRS tax policy may necessitate changes to your operating agreement. Equa brings dormant agreements to life via its cutting-edge technology.

The second major agreement that organizations must pay significant attention to is the capitalization table, often referred to as the “cap table”. Since this is a ledger deciphering who owns what and how much, the cap table needs frequent analysis to ensure accuracy as it can impact company valuation, capital raises and even recruiting talented executives.

Many cap tables are created using spreadsheet software and most cap tables have errors stemming from duplicated files that have been shared among multiple owners. Depending on basic spreadsheet software to account for true ownership when dealing with vested shares, options, dividends, transfers, buybacks and cancellation of vested shares due to employee termination can result in an accounting nightmare. Furthermore, correcting mistakes involves costly attorneys and accountants. Unfortunately, these mistakes are usually overlooked until a company is pursuing a capital raise. However, in today’s competitive capital markets, money may dry up while investors wait for a resolution to this oversight.

This is where Equa can help!

As a technology company, Equa understands these problems and has built an incredible team of entrepreneurs and developers to automate the management of operating agreements, as well as the organized maintenance of a cap table. Our technology empowers any organization to swiftly make decisions covered by an operating agreement. Every vote is captured and recorded securely and in real-time through our web application and mobile app.

Fundamentally, this process reduces friction by adding velocity and accountability to organizational management such as owner or director level decision-making processes. Our technology also includes a single source of truth that allows a fully transparent and auditable ledger of an organization’s ownership. The combination of Equa's advanced agreement and ownership management provides peace of mind to busy business owners. Further, our tools provide them with the ability to timestamp and permanently store their decisions in a system for easy dispute resolution and reconciliation in the future.

Equa: Frictionless agreements. Cap Table Management. Business Simplified

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

Maintaining a clean, paper trail of securities transactions is a prevailing issue for many companies. At the nexus of this is SEC Rule 144, which stipulates that certain conditions must be met in order for the sale of securities to take place.

The effective tracking of securities is vital for private companies seeking to enter the public marketplace. Steering clear of knotty compliance issues and delays pursuant to any SEC due diligence reviews is paramount.

A key qualifier for the Rule 144 exemption is meeting the holding period for each security issued prior to resale. Pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, an issuing company that’s also a reporting company has a qualifying holding period of six months. For those companies that are not in a reporting capacity, the qualifying holding period is one year.

This holding period commences on the original issuance date of the security, irrespective of resale or conversion. Many private companies, however, fail to track and account for this on their capitalization tables. This can be problematic if an audit is ever conducted.

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

What Is an Option Pool?

An option pool consists of shares of stock reserved for employees of a private company. The option pool is a way of attracting talented employees to a startup company - if the employees help the company do well enough to go public, they will be compensated with stock. Employees who get into the startup early will usually receive a greater percentage of the option pool than employees who arrive later.

The initial size of the option pool may decrease with subsequent rounds of funding because of investors' ownership demands. The creation of an option pool will commonly dilute the founders' share in the company because investors (angels and venture capitalists) often insist on it.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

How Option Pools Are Structured

The shares that comprise an option pool typically are drawn from investor stock in the company rather than the shares earmarked for investors. This may be 15%–25% of the overall outstanding shares and may be determined when the startup receives its earliest funding round as part of the overall terms put in place.

It is also possible that a company, over the course of its development and subsequent funding rounds, may establish additional option pools after the initial one is put in place. The size of the pool may be dictated or advised by the venture backers to be a portion of the pre-money or post-money valuation of the company. Negotiations over the scope of the option pool can affect the startup’s overall price. For example, investors may want an option pool offered post-money option to be priced at the pre-money valuation, which could lower the price for the company.

Other Considerations

The shares disbursed from the option pool may be determined by the roles of the employees as well as when they are hired. For example, senior management that is brought on board near the founding of the startup may receive a percentage of the entire pool, whereas later employees in more junior roles might be granted just fractions of a percent.

The option pool grants shares that, like other types of stock options, often require a period of time before they are vested. This means the employee will not be able to benefit from these shares possibly for several years. By delaying their ability to reap monetary value from their portion of the option pool, the belief is that the employee will contribute more to the overall health and growth of the company in order to see the greatest possible gains when the shares vest.

A “Cap Table” (short for “Capitalization Table) is a document, typically in the form of a spreadsheet or table, that offers a snapshot of a company’s equity capitalization and total market value.

While commonly used by startups and early-stage businesses, cap tables have utility for all types of companies. In the case of a new startup, the founders are typically the only ones represented on the cap table. This is because they’re the sole equity holders. But as a company matures, the volume of cap table entries expand pursuant to growth in the number of investors as well as company ownership changes.

These documents aim to capture shareholder equity and other sorts of information including common equity shares, preferred equity shares, warrants, and convertible equity. With this, cap tables become a vital decision-making tool for assessing equity ownership, market capitalization, and market value.

Given the financial significance of this information and the fact that companies are constantly evolving, it is paramount for a cap table to be accurate, tailored, and kept current and up-to-date.

One of the common pitfalls with cap tables is that a manually updated Excel spreadsheet can morph into more than one version.

By way of example, the company chief financial officer might manage one copy while outside legal council holds another version. So if a staff member exercises their option and the company forgets to provide an update of this to the lawyer (or vice versa), the two records become inconsistent. It’s here where the reconciliation of these records can become time-consuming and costly

There are many factors and emerging trends that impact capitalization. Therefore accurate and up-to-date cap table provides are paramount for fostering strategic direction and business growth.

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

How to successfully Raise Capital

Are you finally at the point where you need to develop a better process to raise capital?

Every successful task requires a good process. The more difficult and time consuming a task the more essential an effective process becomes. When it comes to raising capital, this can translate to whether your company hits its goals, achieves the desired valuation. With this in mind, what can you do to improve your performance?


Setting the foundation

With our clients, we advise them based on our past success and failures. This advice is a well-constructed soup to nuts process that entrepreneurs and early stage companies process that can be followed every in every round.

Key elements we instruct on, include:

·      Researching your potential investors

·      Getting advice early and often

·      Crating all the necessary collateral like pitch decks and executive summaries

·      Nurturing relationships

·      Choosing the terms

·      Following up

·      Negotiation

·      Closing the round

·      Delivering on promises to each investor.

Be Patient

When planning to raise capital, it is important to understand that investors aren’t going to invest in your company without having an established and valued relationship. Equally important to understand is that not every investor is the right investor. Therefore, taking the time to build relationships is key to future success as these individuals will often take on advisory roles or board seats. With that in mind, expect that raising a round will take months in the best of times. With the global Covid19 pandemic disrupting markets and spooking investors, it can take longer. So being patient and setting appropriate expectations will help ease minds as the next market disruption can happen at any moment.

As you go down this road, you will need to treat the capital raise process like sales. Each lead requires constant nurturing and follow up in order to close. Larger deals can take up to a year so even when you’re not raising capital you should be strengthening relationships.

Remember, set appropriate expectations, be patient, and start preparing for that next round today.

Uncertainty

When planning your process, it should be noted that there is no guarantee of success relative to your timelines, valuation, and financial benchmarks. This shouldn’t come to a surprise as every aspect of the entrepreneurial journey is riddled with roadblocks.


To that end, if you are willing to take on the advice form mentors and be humble and resilient you can get to the finish line. Willingness to adapt and change strategies will always be key tools to realize the goals set forth in your business plan and executive summary. Once again, expect unforeseen challenges like changes in the global markets to happen and be willing to do what it takes and be unreasonable when it comes to success.

When will it end?


Raising capital isn’t fun but it’s essential if you want to build growth and success. Making sure that you hold on to a positive state of mind will make a huge difference in overcoming each challenge. This is important to pass on to your team as they will be looking to you for guidance and leadership. Visualizing failure breeds apathy in those around you, whereas living future success in the moment will create a culture of resilience and tenacity.

Create a great pitch deck

Selling you vision requires a quality deck that follows a well-defined template. Without a great pitch and deck, it will communicate a weak message to investors that are inundated with deal flow. Consider the point that you are only as strong as your weakest asset. This is equally important in the quality of your team that must constantly execute despite lacking money or resources. 


Don’t be the smartest person in the room

Even people at the top of their fields look to get better or gain any advantage to stay at the top. Just look at Tony Robbins and Tom Brady. They are world renowned, very successful, yet they continue to find an edge. If they’re doing it so should you. Surround yourself with coaches, and experts to remove blind spots. When it comes to raising capital, seek out those that have a track record of success and absorb all that you can. Remember, you are competing with potentially hundreds or thousands of other entrepreneurs in your space for limited investor capital.


Network! Network! Network!

We live in a noisy world full of notifications, news feeds, texts, emails etc. Therefore, knowing how to get through to investors requires a lot of follow up work and relationship building. Be creative when it comes to getting through to those key investors. Learn who they are influenced by, learn who their gatekeepers are and use every type of communication to follow up with them in an attempt to build relationships with your targets.

Knowing what you don’t know

Every entrepreneur starts off with a different composition of skills, and weaknesses. Likely, raising capital is not among your strengths. Therefore, as you learn all the things you need to know to build a successful organization, add raising capital to that list! Sure, you can go and hire an investor relations ninja. However, being prepared to fight as though your life depends on it requires being knowledgeable when it comes to communicating, negotiation, networking and follow up. Regardless of your industry, being a constant student will improve your chances of not being ignored.

Consciously or unconsciously, there are three desires every business owner strives for: They are time, money and significance.

Sadly, however, most find themselves at the whim of a never-ending flow of demands on the entrepreneurial journey. As a result, their businesses often never reach a place where they can untether themselves to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Chuck Blakeman, author of the bestselling book Making Money is Killing Your Business: How To Build a Business You Love and Have a Life, Too, reminds his readers that the primary reason many people start a business is not to focus on making money at the exclusion of everything else. Rather it’s to build an enterprise that’s financially self-sustaining so that it aligns with one’s personal freedom and contributions in life.

Selected by the National Federation of Independent Business as its №1 Business Book of the Year, Blakeman provides a first-hand account of the stumbles and mistakes he’s made as a business owner. He delivers a practical, no-holds-barred set of ideas that are easy to comprehend and put into practice.

Formulating a Business Process and System

Blakeman is also a huge proponent of documenting your business systems, what he refers to as a “Process Map.” Instead of asking “How do I do this?”, he says the question should be “How do I do this for the last time?”

Ultimately, says Blakeman, those who determine how to do things for the last time and adopt an ongoing commitment to maximum productivity and efficiency in their work receive both time and money back from their enterprise. “No biggy,” he says — “it’s just your freedom and your life that is at stake.”

Below is a TEDx talk that Blakeman gave that underscores these themes as a part of the new Participation Age business model that he espouses.

Equa's quest to simplifies agreements aligns well with the Participation Age philosophy that Blakeman subscribes to. Utilizing a process that facilitates a roadmap from creation to execution, they will assist you in building a constellation of contracts that become a living adaptable core foundation for your business.

When launching a new business and the agreements that support it, the last thing you want is to find yourself in a sea of documents and paperwork. Equa will help with the heavy lifting here, breathing life into your living documents when they’re required for critical business decisions. In the end, you’ll find yourself with more time and money as your most important documents are managed on the Blockchain, the most revolutionary technical advancement of our lifetime.

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

Data rooms are cloud applications that facilitate the secure storage and sharing of confidential information, including business documents. These virtual constellations are now the norm and are rapidly replacing the need for actual physical documentation.

Properly administered, these systems represent an additional layer of security for business documents. They can also reduce friction when it comes to the movement of documents contributing to the speed and execution of a transaction.

Essentially, a data room acts as a hub for all sorts of engagements that require a robust and secure environment for storage, management, and sharing of business information. These systems then become globally accessible through an internet connection.

Companies facing various forms of due diligence and asset management requests find data room solutions of immense value. They are particularly useful in the facilitation of collaborations and working relationships between business stakeholders.

Traditionally employed in the financial world, data room use cases have experienced a major growth trajectory over the past decade. Mergers and acquisitions and joint venture investments are two realms where virtual data has grown in popularity. Operating agreements, patents, and compliance records are other areas where these digital systems are seeing growing adoption.

In the future, data room solutions will increasingly make use of artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to boost such features as automatic document translations and query management. Other features that are making an advancement include notation systems, advanced permissions, and multi-factor authentication.

Then there’s the emergence of Blockchain that promises to upend the world of traditional archiving, with secure data rooms validated with the timestamping phase of a transaction.

Below is a list of common questions and answers about the Equa data room and why Equa represents such a promising new normal for businesses and enterprises.

How are documents transferred into the Equa data room?

The client success team will work with you every step of the way to ensure an easy and secure upload of your files to the Equa data room. Through this manual process, we collect everything our clients need to set up a corporate data room successfully. We conduct a thorough gap analysis of your documents before migrating them into our system.

As we begin to digitize the individual and unique clauses of operating documents, vendor documents, employment documents, cap tables, — anything tied to governance and compliance activities within your organization, we will turn all of those documents into digital forms that will be updatable and changeable as you progress through your business cycles. Our aim is to ensure a smooth and safe transmittal of this information.

Who manages a data room, Equa or the client?

The aim is for both Equa and you, the client, to have full administrative control over the contents of a data room. What that means is, while Equa could produce documents that could land in your data room, you as a client will also have your own documents that you’ll want to upload and manage.

What makes the Equa data room so valuable?

Keeping track of myriad business documents is an immense, time-consuming hassle for most organizations. A compliance review can be an absolute nightmare as well, unless you’re fortunate enough to have a really good lawyer who’s exquisitely well organized with files and can retrieve them on a moments notice. The value of a data room is in this retrievability, along with the accessibility and authoritativeness of having the most recent, up to date independently verifiable source of a document.

How easily can we retrieve documents?

With Equa, not only are your documents retrievable on a moment’s notice, but you also have the ability to amend them very quickly. And it’s very cost-effective compared to other options.

How do we engage with the Equa platform once our documents have been downloaded?

Our intuitive dashboard comes with simple and easy-to-understand workflows to ensure a world-class user experience. This, in turn, helps to boost the overall efficiency of your document storage and retrieval processes.

What if we want to make changes to a document?

The ability to make changes or amendments to any governing document is essential to ensuring the most up to date, accurate repository. Equa provides a seamless platform for ensuring a single source of truth for all your documents.

How does this update and access process actually occur?

Once uploaded, we’ll produce the original documents which will allow those designated to digitally signed these documents. We will also create hashed versions of these for the blockchain with those links of information stored within our system so you can see the who and when of any amendments to the document.

Who controls access to these documents?

Once you make changes to, say, a Capitalization Table or other operational document, we’re going to back that up on a blockchain, creating a public record that’s independently verifiable by each individual who had access to the original document via a private key. Here at Equa, we’ll help you manage and control access to those documents, along with providing auditable records of all of who accessed them and when they were accessed.

And who can be given access?

That’s for you to determine. It could include two corporate administrators, a president and a vice-president, the corporate lawyer or employees who have been issued stocks in an organization. Each person is going to have different levels of access to the data room, or different data rooms specific to their needs. Those different levels of access will provide them with different pieces of information that are appropriate for their levels of exposure.

Is there a particular protocol that ensures this access?

Essentially what we’re talking about here is data storage with private key encryption and basic log in protection which allows each person access at the appropriate levels. Audit trails are then going to tag along as people with the right credentials are able to access certain documents.

What about our paper documents?

Paper versions do ultimately get filed with some jurisdictional or government agency. The good news is that digital options to file those paper versions have been developed. Those are the types of partnerships we’re looking to build through Equa over time.

What is the ultimate value proposition that Equa delivers?

For both you as a business and your community of stakeholders, your cost and productivity value exponentially increase in terms of greater efficiencies around agreements. Decisions can be made more quickly with the rapid processing and dissemination of information. It’s like rocket fuel for businesses that want to move more quickly while staying compliant.

The year was 1993. I registered my first corporate entity, an S corporation for a new Chicago-based business I’d decided to launch.

Several months later I sat in stunned amazement after receiving a voluminous three-ring binder with all of my documents.

“Yipes”, I thought. “What have I gotten myself into?”

Keep in mind that these were the pre-Internet days. There was no web, no cloud service to house the documents on, no email, nada. Yet somehow, I had to figure out how to keep all of these documents straight.

My solution? Tuck the binder away for safekeeping and never look at it again.

Sound familiar?

A Flurry of New Documents

I’ve now established corporate entities in states like Indiana, Nevada, California, New Mexico, and Colorado over the years. And thankfully, with the growing adoption of the Internet, the process of setting up a business has become exponentially easier.

Take a look online and you’ll find an ocean of corporate entity services for setting up LLCs and the like. They’ll file the appropriate Secretary of State documents, set up a tax ID number, and secure a resident agent for you if you reside out-of-state.

The good news is that many of these companies are now able to send you an electronic version of your documents. Unfortunately, if you’re anything like me, these documents are rarely given any attention. In fact, often they end up getting parked in an e-repository gathering cosmic dust, vulnerable to security hacks.

The filed formation documents, however, hold great importance in terms of equity holder rights as well as the management and operation of your entity. For corporations, this is embodied in what is known as the “articles of incorporation” and the “bylaws.” Limited liability companies (LLCs) on the other hand utilize certificates of formation and operating agreements.

Limited Liability Companies, in particular, have grown in popularity over the years in part due to less onerous document requirements. On the other hand, if you form S Corporations, C Corporations, and certainly Limited Liability Partnerships, you’ll likely find your paperwork to be much more voluminous.

In the end, every business needs a written agreement outlining the operational roadmap, protocol, and rules. These operational documents are your company’s governance model, akin to a written constitution or charter.

But wait, you’re not done.

Once your business is operational, you will find that it will spawn all sorts of other documents that can be challenging to keep organized. By way of example, Nevada and Wyoming corporations offer major benefits in terms of asset protection. So, documents tied to brokerage accounts, gold certificates, cars, homes, and other tangible assets placed under say an LLC must be properly accounted for and stored in a secure and safe environment.

The Blockchain of Business

Equa is a promising new company positioned to deliver a compelling solution to the morass of documents that business owners are required to manage. It combines the ability to easily and seamlessly form a new business entity with the ongoing support needed to ensure that documents are up-to-date, organized and easily accessible.

Equa's key value proposition is the ability to foster the living core documents that are the brain of your business. Equaeffectively facilitates the constellation of start-up documents and business agreement by employing the emerging technology known as Blockchain.

In his book, The Blockchain and the New Architecture of Trust, Kevin Werbach, Professor of Legal Studies at the Wharton School of Business defines blockchain as “a data storage system using linked sequential chunks of information. It is literally a chain of blocks designed to create an immutable ledger of transactions.”

In other words, blockchain as a digital ledger is exquisitely efficient in organizing records of business agreements and transactions. It offers privacy protocols that regulate how information can be accessed as well as a digital trail identifying who and when the information was accessed.

An additional element in the blockchain constellation, known as smart contracts, mitigates the need for intermediaries, boosts consistency and creates accountability in the workflow process. This helps boost the efficiency and effectiveness of a business.

New Frontiers of Business Asset Management

Back when I formed my business in 1993, the three-ring binder full of documents I received included stock certificates to issue shares to investors. Moreover, any assets held by my company were to be recorded on a paper document and filed away appropriately.

Today with blockchain’s emergence, tokenization is the next evolution for the future of business. Literally, anything of value can be tokenized by recording it on a blockchain with the digital tokens signifying value and ownership. Investor shares can be easily purchased and sold from your business via tokens, all easily transferable via the blockchain network.

All of this reflects the next wave of proprietary rights tied to the tokenization of assets whether they be commercial real estate, cars, even gold. Equa can offer direction on how to build a digital token framework for managing these assets in a secure and efficacious way.

Now with a living version of your organizational documents and tokenized assets, you’ll no longer be working with a static document that is sitting on a hard drive on some computer. That’s what sparked my interest in Equa and I hope you’ll invest the time to learn more about this exciting startup as well.

Michael Scott is a Las Vegas Blockchain Journalist and blogger for Equa

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

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