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Strategies for Foreign Investment in Indian Start-Ups

Strategies for Foreign Investment in Indian Start-Ups

Foreign investment in Indian high-tech start-ups can yield significant profit opportunities for savvy investors.  During 2018, over 1,000 deals were struck, reflecting $38.3 billion in new investments.  If these investments turn out to be profitable, the tax exposure for the investor will vary with the form of the investment.  Choices of investment vehicles include (i) L.L.P.’s, (ii) Category I, Subcategory I alternative investment funds (“A.I.F.’s”) registered with the Securities Exchange Board, (iii) Category III A.I.F.’s, and (iv) trusts.  Each has unique tax consequences for investors receiving dividends and realizing gains.  Raghu Marwah and Anjali Kukreja of R.N. Marwah & Co L.L.P., New Delhi, explain the entities choices and the resulting tax costs.

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Qualified Small Business Stock & the EB-5 Visa Program – An Attractive Combination for Potential Investors

Qualified Small Business Stock & the EB-5 Visa Program – An Attractive Combination for Potential Investors

Ever heard of qualified small business stock (“Q.S.B.S.”) as a means of investing in start-up companies?  Although it is not typically thought of as a tax planning tool for foreign investors, when the foreign person is an applicant for an EB-5 visa, the tax results can be surprisingly good.  Fanny Karaman and Beate Erwin explain.

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Corporate Matters:  Five Steps for Leveraging your Start-Up’s Emerging Intellectual Property

Corporate Matters:  Five Steps for Leveraging your Start-Up’s Emerging Intellectual Property

For an emerging business, intellectual property (“I.P.”) can be the business’s most important asset and the difference between its success and failure.  That is why steps must be taken early on to protect those “jewels.”  Barry Lewin of Gottlieb, Rackman & Reisman, P.C. in New York explains five important actions designed to protect and enhance value.

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Corporate Matters: Convertible Note Financing

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We have seen an increased number of term sheets for convertible note financings lately and thought it might be helpful to discuss some of the terms and conditions of these notes. In an earlier issue of Insights, we discussed angel investing and the risks (and rewards) of that strategy. Convertible note financings are used for seed financing and are a very economical and efficient way for start-up companies to obtain seed capital without losing control of the early-stage company.

CONVERTIBLE NOTE

A convertible note financing is short-term debt that automatically converts into shares of preferred stock upon the closing of a Series A financing round. This method of financing is favored by company founders because it can be completed very quickly, is somewhat simple, and is relatively inexpensive in terms of legal costs. A convertible note purchase agreement and note can be a few pages long and prepared and closed in a few days.

While start-up companies can issue common stock to early investors, there are a variety of reasons why the founders may be reluctant to do so. These include the difficultly in putting a value on an early stage company and potential tax issues for founders issued stock at nominal values. Because convertible notes are debt not equity, their issuance puts off the valuation matter until the later round of financing – by which time the company may have developed to an extent where more and better information is available on which to base a valuation.

Corporate Matters: Angel Investing, An Introduction

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Bette Davis once said that growing old is not for sissies. If she were she alive today, she would no doubt be an accredited investor and may well add angel investing to the potentially long list of activities not for sissies.

Typically, angel investors provide seed capital to start-up companies or entrepreneurs. When an individual or newly formed closely-held entity seeks financing for a new venture, the most common sources of financing are individuals who have a preexisting relationship with the founders of the venture. With every IPO of a former start-up and the corresponding stories of amazing returns on investment for the few initial investors, angel investing activity, as a whole, and the number of people seeking out such investments has steadily increased over the last decade. The Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire found that the number of active angel investors in 2012 was 268,160. A decade earlier, that number had been approximately 200,000. The dollar amount invested over the same period grew to $22.9 billion from $15.7 billion. There is potential for the numbers to grow further: The Angel Capital Association estimates that there are approximately 4 million potential accredited investors (persons with an individual or joint net worth with a spouse that exceeds $1 million - not counting the primary residence) in the United States who might be interested in start-up and early stage companies.

This increase is despite the fact that approximately 80% of start-ups fail. Many investments made by angel investors end up worthless or sit for long periods in inert companies that buyers have little interest in.