This week we’re pleased to introduce Julie Reed from Miller Nash as this week’s Sponsor Spotlight. Miller Nash has been a long time supporter of OEN, and Julie has been a dedicated volunteer.
What is the role that you and your firm play in the entrepreneurial community?
I help entrepreneurs and their companies protect their intellectual property assets. In addition to doing the actual protection, both filing the copyrights for the trademarks or the applications and also helping them sort out their strategy on how to protect those assets.
We also have a team that can support them on whether to become an LLC or corporation, finding business insurance, parsing international imports and export issues, making connections to off-shore manufacturing in China or Taiwan, or Mexico, and generally helping navigate international business law.
What type of entrepreneurs are you best suited to support?
I personally engage most with technology companies because that’s where my experience lies as an electrical engineer. Miller Nash, however, is a multi-service firm and we have folks who can help startups in any industry.
What are your most common recommendations to first-time entrepreneurs?
There’s no such thing as getting the lawyers involved too early! For example, we run across people who, even though it is not necessarily a complicated procedure, sometimes don’t really give a lot of thought as to what kind of entity they want to be.
I also work to make sure founders have all the rights, intellectual property, and employment procedures in place to stop them from running into problems later. The earlier the better, even if it’s just for an hour of an attorney’s time to kind of get a survey of what the things they need to do.
I’ll add that this is especially important if they’re going to be looking to be an acquisition target. If their goal is to go into business and then eventually merge into a larger company, the due diligence involved in that process is intense! Best to get set up right from the start and stay organized throughout.
What do you think is an opportunity for this community to grow?
I think one of the big areas for growth and development of any mainstream community in the US, including the entrepreneurial community, and perhaps especially the entrepreneurial finance community, is learning how to best support non-traditional founders. They often already have a market for what they’re trying to do, but they’re struggling to find financing.
As a group, we really need to do better by first-time founders, especially those who don’t fit the typical “pattern-matching” and are not in the limelight, that the mainstream VCs and the angels may not be looking at. We need to understand what support they need and help provide them with a bigger platform.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I’m a sixth-degree black belt in a martial art called Tang Soo Do. It’s Korean but different from TaeKwonDo. Unfortunately, the formal school of the practice dissolved when the founder passed away, but I continue to practice. I’ve been training in the martial arts for 30 years.