Digital Mission to New York Master Class - Legal and Experienced

New York Sky LineThe Digital Mission companies have arrived in New York and are well into the first day's activities, which kicked off with the Master Class session at Winston & Strawn's offices.

It's amazing to think that a year has passed since the previous Digital Mission to New York, but the view across New York from the Met Life Building brought the memories back. New York is a unique city, with a very distinctive vibe and culture. Doing business here is both challenging and exhilarating.

The panels were a pleasant mix of new and familiar faces, kicking off with the basics of setting up in the US, including dealing with general legal issues, employment law, Intellectual property and tax. You might be a UK business, but US courts can claim jurisdiction over you. The US legal systems operates at a state level, which raises the spectre of 50 different courts reaching their long-arms out to you.

Like the UK, there are different legal structures for a growing business, from the start-up friendly LLC model to the full "Inc." corporation. The Winston & Strawn team talked through the pro's and con's of each, and the challenges of meeting the SEC's requirements when it comes to raising capital. SEC registration can be a long process and requires extensive public disclosure, but there are exclusions if you do things the right way. Clearly an area where good, professional legal advice is required.

Digital Mission Panel

The panel sessions and talks were packed with useful advice, from the wisdom of getting multiple points of reference for contacts and information, to really knowing your market well. Good advice anywhere, but all the more important when you are entering a new market. Referencing is essential - people want to talk to others that have done business with you - so building a good network is one of the key foundations to building a successful business in the US.

Toby Daniels told his "stories from the trenches" based on his own experiences of setting up in the US. His top tips for getting started:

  1. Be present - get to as many events as you can! [but know which to focus in on]
  2. Know who the connectors and community organisers are - get to know them.
  3. Give back, contribute - as well as being personally fulfilling, it is great for your brand.
  4. Do everything you can to rise yourself above the parapet - don't just be a passive observer. Look to create value and rise above the noise.

And with that advice ringing in their ears, the Digital Mission companies networked over lunch, before readying themselves for the invite-only Consulate Reception, where they will spend the evening networking with key players from New York's digital scene.