Up-and-coming entrepreneurs in a University of Queensland accelerator program are being given access to expert legal services and will only have to pay the bill if their startup is a success.
Entrepreneur in Residence Ran Heimann said each startup company selected in ilab ’s six-month Germinate Plus would pay back legal fees only when they had raised $500,000 in investment.
“Should the startup fail, they don’t pay a cent,” Mr Heimann said.
“We see too many founders making simple mistakes because they can’t afford to get the right advice,” he said.
“Startup founders are competing on a global stage, so it is important startup founders get world-class professional advice to be positioned for success.”
Mr Heimann said ilab had formed a collaboration with Rostron Carlyle Rojas Lawyers to make up to $30,000 in legal services available to Germinate Plus participants.
“This model is working successfully in Tel Aviv, one of the world’s most mature startup ecosystems, and I decided it was time to bring the practice to Australia,” he said.
“Professional and legal services firms in emerging ecosystems often lack the understanding of the particular needs of startup founders, or the difference between small business and a startup.
“This initiative moves the goalposts for the delivery of professional services for Australian startups from ‘necessary evil’ status to that of a trusted advisor.”
RCR Lawyers managing partner Greg Rostron has worked extensively in entrepreneurship since founding the company.
“I am very aware of the challenges entrepreneurs face at the outset of their journeys,” he said.
“We are excited that this initiative with ilab gives our local talent the confidence of a solid legal footing as they launch their businesses into the Australian market and beyond.
“We see working with startups at this early stage as an opportunity to create a bond that will grow as the business matures.
“I hope to support UQ startups that hopefully become the next Atlassian or system Afterpay.”
Mr Heimann said RCR Lawyers had made a significant commitment to building its team of lawyers with the right skills to support startup clients.
“It would be great if accounting professionals followed in their footsteps and offered similar support for Australian entrepreneurs,” he said.