As an entrepreneur, the most valuable asset you have is your idea.
(Actually, that’s not necessarily true. There are plenty of strong traits an innovative entrepreneur has, but for the purpose of this blog let’s roll with it.)
Your idea could be a service you provide, an algorithm, or a some revolutionary new technology you’ve developed that’s going to totally turn your industry upside down.
Naturally, you’re concerned about protecting your secrets. But how can you make sure your game-changing idea stays yours? Is the threat of someone stealing it real enough to need legal protection, or do you just trust no one because you’ve been burned in the past?
Enter the confidentiality agreement, non-disclosure agreement, or NDA. Generally, an NDA is presented by a startup founder when beginning discussions with a potential investor, purchaser or joint venture partner. You’ll be sharing information with them that you don’t want them to use for any other reason than evaluating your business. They’re gonna need to know some stuff – like financial information and business strategy – but you want to make sure the information you share stays under lock and key.
“Don’t you DARE tell anyone, Susie!”
They’ve Signed, Now What?
Look at you with your fancy, signed NDA. Now, you’re probably wondering how you can actually enforce it if it’s violated. Great question! On one hand, your secret information is like virginity on prom night – once it’s been ‘lost’, you can’t claim it back, but you can try to limit the damage, and a good NDA will help you do that.
The level of protection you have with your NDA depends on how well it is written. If you can prove they leaked the information or used it for unauthorised reasons you may be able to get an injunction (court order) to remove the information from the public sphere or prevent them using it, and you may also be able to claim financial compensation if your business suffers losses as a result.
More than anything though it acts as a warning, a sign that says “I know my value and I know my rights, and I am serious about my business”. So get your world class NDA for free, right here with Upstart.