Congrats! you have already achieved a milestone by starting up.

Running a Startup up in a Legally Compliant manner, abiding by all the tax and regulatory business laws is very important and investors love this approach.

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What type of entity should I form while starting up? Private Limited Co. or LLP?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It depends on your growth plans in relation to your startup.
The most important criteria for deciding the legal structure of the startup is to figure out your future funding plans. If you are planning to raise external funding from angel investors or VC firms then we would recommend you to set up a Private Limited company. Investors prefer this because of the security and transparency it offers to the investors about their money and shareholding. Private Limited companies are very compliance heavy, a lot of regulations are to be taken care of such as Companies Act, Income tax act and GST Etc. If you are running under an LLP set up then the investors might ask you to convert your LLP into a Private Limited company before the investment. We have seen it happening.
On the other hand if you are planning to keep your company bootstrapped and fund it either with your own money or the revenue generated then its best to avoid the compliance burden of a Private Limited company and start setting up a LLP. LLP gives you the benefit of limited liability, same as Private Limited company with much lesser compliance burden.

Do I need to take up Startup registration at the time of starting up

Yes, it is advisable to take up the start-up India registration as it is one of the major schemes launched by the Central Government to promote the startup ecosystem in the country. A lot of benefits are linked to this registration, some of them are mentioned below:
  • Angel tax exemption under 56(2)(viib), subject to filing and approval of declaration under Form
  • Eligibility for exemptions under 80-IAC i.e. tax holiday for any 3 years from the first 7 years of startup existence.
  • Self-certification under labour and employment laws
  • Reduction of fee while registering Intellectual property.

Having said that, it is not mandatory for any startup to get this exemption, it is a personal choice of the founders.

When does a startup earn Unicorn status?

When a startup’s valuation reaches $1 billion then it earns a unicorn status around the ecosystem. It means that such startups have found the best market fit having stale revenues, and will plan for the IPO in the coming years. India has currently over 40 unicorns, having a total networth of over $80 billions. Some of the names are Flipkart, Oyo, Uban company, Ola, Policybazar, Paytm, etc.

As a startup do I need to comply with accounting and income tax laws?

Yes, startups also need to comply with all the accounting standards/ INDas as the case may be and income tax laws. Startup needs to do regular accounting and file the income tax return at the year end.

How is the startup valuation carried out, and why is it necessary?

Startup valuation is the first step to the funding process for any startup. Anyone raising external funds should have a clear idea of his/her company’s valuation. This can’t be just an ad-hoc number as the founder has to substantiate the valuation with proper workings and assumptions. Here, the valuation expert comes into the picture. Founders take an expert’s help in arriving at the valuation and based on such valuation future rounds are raised.
As a usual market practice a lot of startups take Discounted cashflow (‘DCF’)as a valuation technique to calculate the value. Independent valuer works with company’s finance team to arrive at 5-10 year of projected cashflows and with help of DCF techniques company’s valuation is arrived by the projected cash flow.

What are ESOPs, and is it relevant for a startup?

Employee Stock Option Plan (‘ESPO’) is a widely used mechanism to retain senior talent and compensate them in lieu of cash salaries in a startup. ESOPs play a critical role in the early stage startups journey and help them to save cash by offering ESOP as compensation to its employees.
ESOPs are governed by the ESOP scheme approved by special resolution in the shareholders meeting. ESOP expenses are to be booked every year based on the value of the ESOP arrived by an independent valuer.

What are accelerators and what do they do?

Startup accelerators and incubators are organizations that help startups attain success. They provide startups with mentorship, advice, and resources to help the startups succeed. They also include a Demo Day at the end of the mentorship session, where a startup can pitch to some potential investors and get funded.

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