Allens’ open source legal documents for startups get tick of approval from StartupAUS

- June 30, 2015 2 MIN READ

StartupAUS, an Australian non-for-profit body representing the interests of and advocating for the startup community, has made the Allens Accelerate A-Suite available through its website. The suite is comprised of 14 open-sourced legal documents packed into four bundles: Corporate, Employment, IP & NDA, and Privacy & Website.

Although certain standard deal terms were met with some criticism from the startup community, the ‘open source’ movement in Australia – specifically targeted at supporting startups or startup-related activity – was kicked off by Dan Atkin, Partner at Sparke Helmore Lawyers, Paul Bennetts, Investment Manager at AirTree Ventures, and Niki Scevak, Managing Director at Blackbird Ventures, who worked together to create standardised legal documents for early-stage startups looking for seed or angel investment.

In similar tone, Allens, a top-tier Australian law firm, created the documents to provide the startup community with ‘a new industry standard’. The document templates, which have been claimed to be independent, unbiased and founder-friendly, can be accessed freely on StartupAUS and Allens Accelerate’s websites and customised to suit the needs of each startup.

The Corporate bundle includes: Constitution, Shareholders’ Agreement, Subscription Agreement and Director’s Deed. The Privacy & Website bundle includes: Website Terms and Conditions, Privacy Fact Sheet, Privacy Policy and Collection Statements. The IP & NDA bundle includes: One-way Non-Disclosure Agreement, Reciprocal Non-Disclosure Agreement and IP Assignment Agreement. The Employment bundle includes: Independent Contractor Agreement, Employment Contract and Casual Employee Contract

Allens Partner Gavin Smith acknowledged that StartupAUS’ decision to host the documents on its website is significant as it demonstrates the body’s approval and support for the initiative.

“The goal for the A-Suite documents is for them to become the industry standard and this decision by StartupAUS is a significant step forward towards this,” said Smith. “The documents are drafted from an entirely independent perspective which means they are founder friendly, but can also be used as a base for future fundraising rounds.”

Smith added that the firm is actively seeking feedback from startups, VCs and other industry stakeholders to ensure the documents are appropriate and valuable to the community. Allens will also strive to improve and update the A-Suite documents as and when needed.

In May, Allens also launched the Allens Accelerate practice to provide a range of fixed price legal services to startups, not too dissimilar to services offered by other startup-friendly firms like LegalVision.

“We see our Allens Accelerate practice as a strong commitment and investment into the startup community,” Smith said. “The goal is to not only help startups get off the ground, but to build a long-term relationship where we can bring to bear the expertise and contacts we have at our firm during the different growth cycles of a startup.”

Although the A-Suite received a big tick of approval from StartupAUS, the documents should be read carefully as different startups have different needs and adjustments may be required.