I found a unicorn - help.

Let's say you come up with a brilliant unicorn startup business idea and plot twist - you're an employee in IBD.

If you create your business plan and investor pres. using some work resources, does the bank have any legal claim to remuneration or to the business after you quit and hit it big?

If you create materials without company resources while still an employee, does the bank have any legal claim to remuneration or to the business after you quit and hit it big?

FINRA states you have to declare outside business activities - what's timing on this? Is it safe to do so immediately prior to incorporation? Do you do this as soon as you begin drawing up a business plan?

Thanks.

Comments (38)

Oct 31, 2018

When I was an analyst, the lady that helped make some of the graphics for powerpoint did some of her own outside work during her work time and she was fired. Like she made a party invitation for a friend or something and got fired.

Don't do anything on company time.

Oct 31, 2018

Thanks for that but i'm more concerned with the questions above. Thanks though.

Most Helpful
Oct 31, 2018

You are a moron if you do not understand the significance.

Nov 1, 2018

Don't do anything on company time or company resources. This includes laptop, wifi, etc.

Oct 31, 2018

First piece of advice - read your employment contract. If it's not discussed there, read your employee handbook. This is the easiest place to go to find out if there could be a conflict of interest. If it's not in the handbook, speak to a lawyer about your particulars and get some clarity.

Second, I would be careful, not just about using "official" company resources, but about using anything that can be viewed as corporate linked. By this I mean not only the obvious things (such as using company resources while on the clock), but developing your idea using their work-issued property may be problematic as well. They may be able to argue that you used their property to derive personal value and are therefore entitled to compensation. I don't know if this would also include your personal phone if you use it for work too, but just keep that in mind.

Third, for the disclosure, talk to a securities attorney. They would know best. I could venture a guess and would think it would be when you actually file the formation documents, but this shit can get very particular. I mean, I heard a story of a guy who got fined by FINRA because he didn't disclose that he made $2,800 from an OBA. You know what that OBA was? Ump'ing for little league. So go figure.

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Oct 31, 2018

Thank you - very helpful. Much appreciated.

Oct 31, 2018

If you did it while on company time using company resources, then its reasonable to assume its their property if you signed a standard employment contract with them.

Oct 31, 2018

Get a lawyer.

Oct 31, 2018

Reading the title of this thread, I thought this was another gem from theaccountingmajor

    • 1
Oct 31, 2018

(sigh)

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Oct 31, 2018

It's an investor pres - you don't have a business yet, so no your employer has nothing to claw back.

But as posters below have mentioned, start doing this work on your own computer at home.

Oct 31, 2018

Thanks - what is your source though and how confident in this are you ? First hand experience in similar situations? Seems contrary @Frieds is stating above.

Oct 31, 2018

I'd be very cautious to jump on that piece of advice. Let's be real here. If you use company resources to build your investor deck and they find out, you could be sued for theft, if not more. Say your business takes off and they find out that you used their resources for an investor deck, they could argue for not only theft but that the uncompensated use of their resources successfully helped you grow a new business of which they are entitled a piece of the profits from. I wouldn't say it's worth the risk at all if that's what you're thinking of doing.

Nov 1, 2018

Do it on your own time and don't tell anybody at work about it. Once you have a solid plan lined up leave the company and go start your business. Wait about a month or two for things to cool off before you launch and make sure all of the ideas are your own. The best way you can do this is signing NDA's with anyone you speak with about the business. Keep all of your information secure and do not send texts and emails about the business. If the company has no evidence they can't possibly win a case. Just don't do it at work and use your own materials. Also don't steal ideas from the company or use information you learned about other companies while on the job.

Nov 4, 2018

No one cares that much, its a waste of company resources to care that much.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Nov 1, 2018

Some good points above, but two others for you to consider:

  • It takes years to achieve unicorn status. And most startups lie about when they were actually founded (to create the appearance of extraordinary momentum/growth), so if you're inclined to say "Well, XYZ corp did it in three years" it was probably more like 5 or 6. This has no legal implications, but it decreases the already tiny odds that someone at your IB is going to go back and comb the IT logs to see if some percentage of the 23.5 hours a day you spent using powerpoint might have been devoted to your startup
  • Your idea has almost no value. Execution is everything. Most unicorns emerge - again, after years - from a pack of 5, 10, 50 companies all going after the same opportunity. (I don't say this to be negative, but to offer some candor on how likely it is that you will, anytime soon, own something of real value).
Nov 4, 2018

Man, I saw 24 comments and was totally certain I wouldn't be the first to say it:

Troll.

Anybody who had a business idea with any sort of credible shot at being a unicorn would hire a lawyer for this not post it on a (semi) anonymous forum with a median user age of 26.

    • 1
Nov 4, 2018

lol @ ideas being worth money

Nov 4, 2018

Lol, I thought I was sufficiently conservative when I said 'shot at' but you're so right.

Nov 4, 2018

Look up Netscape/Mosaic v University of Illinois. Employers have way more control over IP produced on their time than Universities, and Illinois lost...still, it's not something I'd wager a billion dollar idea on.

Also, remove it from your head that your idea is worth a billion dollars. Entrepreneurship is incredibly hard. Way harder and more stressful than banking, and it's controlled in many ways by factors outside of your control. I spent a decade in IB and started my own company about 7 years ago. I look back on my banking career as low stress and easy.

Nov 4, 2018

Lol, OP is gonna be that guy that quits his day job to develop some useless nutrition app and gets laughed at at every work function for it once he's gone. OP is the definition of a MM banker. A helpless schlup and unlucky schlemiel, who probably has a receding hairline.

Nov 1, 2018

Tell us, @HarvardBoy, what do you do for a living?

Nov 4, 2018

Go to Harvard

Nov 4, 2018
Comment
Nov 4, 2018