Need to Generate a Business Name? Here’s How to Get it Right.

Three tips for crafting the perfect moniker for your business.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You have a great idea for a company. You’ve nailed your business plan. Now comes the hard part. What do you call it? There are several ways to do it. You can hire a branding expert or a naming agency. You can have long brainstorming sessions with your partners. Or you can hope for an “aha” moment.

There’s no one right way to craft the perfect name for your business. Maybe something from my story will spark an idea for yours.

Related: 8 Mistakes to Avoid When Generating a Name for Your Business

1. Make sure your business name is unique and true to your brand.

I wasn’t even thinking about a name when I began Hint, my healthful flavored beverage and lifestyle company. I was focused on the product and trying to get it on the shelves. My initial idea was for unsweetened flavored water. It came about because of the time and place in my life. I had a couple of kids, and I was trying to get them to drink less juice and more water. The first name that came to me was “Wawa.”

My husband, an intellectual property attorney from the East Coast, told me that there’s already a giant convenience store chain called Wawa. There was no way I’d secure the trademark.

Then, one afternoon, a new moniker came to me. I realized that while talking about my concept that I always used the word “hint” to describe it. My husband wasn’t so keen on it, though. He pointed out that because it’s a four-letter, common word, the likelihood of getting the trademark was slim. But I said, “Why not try? The worst thing that could happen is that we get a ‘no.’” Spoiler alert: We got the name. And I think it’s one of the best ones out there for a consumer products brand. 

2. Consider all of the potential business name connotations.

“Hint” has multiple meanings. Literally, we’re adding a hint of flavor to our water. There’s just enough fruit in — a hint. But the meaning extends beyond the obvious to our overall goal, which is to offer people gentle nudges about how they can achieve wellness.

Related: Five Situations to Remember as You Generate a Business Name 

It’s difficult for a lot of people to get as healthy as they want to be. Fad diets come and go, we’re drowning in too much information (and misinformation) about nutrition, and as a society, we’re overweight. It’s a real problem. There are so many products that claim to be the solution, but they just add to the confusion. We hear from consumers all the time that our product is the first step in helping them believe they can reach their goals. Hint helps them on their journey of shifting away from soda and other sugary beverages. 

Ultimately, though, I care less about what my definition of our company name is, and more about what it means to consumers. The best brands are the ones people remember. And people remember and remain loyal to companies that “get” them. 

There are so many cleverly named companies. A few of my favorites include Drybar, Warby Parker, Rent the Runway and Shake Shack. Drybar immediately tells you the story of what the company does; Warby Parker is fun and memorable (it sounds like someone who would wear glasses); Rent the Runway provides a visual of what you’re going to get; and Shake Shack is fun to say and makes people smile.

Related: 3 Mistakes to Avoid When Generating Your Business Name 

3. Hire a pro to help generate a business name — or not.

One of the dangers of naming is that without a process — or a lightning bolt of inspiration — you end up either overthinking it or become paralyzed and don’t actually do it.

People always ask me if I suggest hiring branding or naming experts. Although this wasn’t how I ended up generating my business name, I can’t tell you yes or no. That’s a personal decision. But there’s a cost to hiring someone else to do it, and it’s not just financial. 

When you outsource, you sometimes lose control over parts of your business. Ceding some autonomy to a naming agency may end up making you feel disconnected from your brand, story and mission. On the other hand, experts exist for a reason, and many unforgettable brands have been born in an agency brainstorm. Ask yourself: If I can’t come up with a name, am I willing to outsource it? And how will you feel if don’t like any of the names they suggest?

In the end, it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it seek outside help, or whether you have the skillset and patience to find the perfect name yourself.

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Dharma Announces Closed Beta for Version 2 of Lending Platform

San Francisco-based crypto lending and borrowing firm Dharma has announced the start of a closed beta for a new version of its platform.

Upcoming changes and short-term timeline

Dharma announced its new platform iteration in an official blog post on Aug. 29. According to the announcement, Dharma has partnered with the Ethereum-based money market Compound and will reportedly use its protocol as infrastructure for the new platform. Additionally, Dharma will now make its smart contracts open source prior to production, per the announcement.

Dharma V2 is currently in closed beta, which means that it is only accessible to existing Dharma users. However, the company plans to open up the beta within weeks for further testing. Moreover, Dharma announced a number of new features they aim to push out including a non-custodial and multisig smart wallet, dedicated deposit addresses, and frictionless fiat on-ramps and off-ramps.

Previous issues and a new chapter

According to the announcement, Dharma decided to start from scratch on its platform due to technical issues and security concerns. The company reported that they were “plagued with reliability issues across the platform and had limited confidence in the security of the system,” although they note that the security of user funds were never compromised. 

Dharma’s initial stated goal was to construct a “standardized, generic rails for peer-to-peer lending on Ethereum” with many user-requested features.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Dharma ultimately moved to halt new deposits and loans on its platform at the beginning of August, but promised that a “new chapter” was coming soon. The company wrote:

“For now, we’re pausing new deposits and loans in Dharma. If you have an existing deposit or loan with Dharma, you’ll still be able to access your account and will have the option to withdraw any funds that are not currently locked up.”

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5 Ways That Billionaire Warren Buffett Pays a Lower Tax Rate Than His Secretary

How Warren Buffett navigates the taxes on his income.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

To provide entrepreneurs with insights on some of the 2020 Democratic Candidates wealth tax proposals, let’s take a closer look at how and why billionaire Warren Buffett still pays less tax as a percentage than his secretary. With several presidential frontrunners advocating programs to increase taxes on the rich to reduce wage gaps and pay for free government programs such as “Medicare for All” and free public college tuition, it’s important to look at the big picture questions. 

Let’s take a closer look at five ways Warren Buffett and other billionaires pay less tax and the economic benefits.

1. Pays primarily capital gains tax versus income tax

The top reason that Warren Buffett pays less tax as a percent than his secretary is because he is being taxed primarily on capital gains income as an investor versus his secretary, who is taxed on a salary or earned income as an employee. And while Buffett does pay himself a relatively small salary of $100,000 (same for the past 25 years, Investopedia) as CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, the majority of his income is from stock market investments. And even though the long-term capital gains and qualified dividend taxes did not change in the TJIA (taxed at 0%, 15% and 20%), they remain much lower than ordinary income tax rates. 

Related: 75 Items You May Be Able to Deduct from Your Taxes

2. Warren Buffett makes major contributions to charity 

The Oracle of Omaha further reduces his salary by making major donations to charity, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Buffett has made it a mission to give away most of his wealth versus leaving it to his heirs, and actually advocates increasing the estate tax.

3. Hires top accountants to legally reduce the effective tax rate  

The rich also can pay tax accountants to help them find legal ways to reduce their effective tax rate. For example, the current maximum tax rate in the U.S. is currently 37% (down from 39.6% with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017). By hiring a great tax advisor, this top tax rate can be reduced significantly.

Related: Warren Buffett’s 3 Top Pieces of Advice for Entrepreneurs

4. Creates jobs 

The government rewards companies who create jobs with tax incentives that significantly reduce taxes. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has created 360,000 jobs at 25 headquarter offices and subsidiaries (CNBC). In comparison, Jeff Bezos has generated 647,500 jobs at Amazon. And while these companies are required to pay Payroll Taxes (Social Security, Medicare, etc.) for every employee, there are many tax deductions and credits that help offset these costs.

5. Takes advantage of new tax law  

Berkshire Hathaway’s net-worth increased last year to $63 billion, with $29 billion of that coming from the change in tax law. According to Buffett, there were two primary reasons (CNBC). One was a new Bonus Depreciation for fixed assets, which includes car purchases. For example, for a $10,000,000 asset, Buffett used to take 10% per year deduction or $1 million per year, and now he takes 100% the first year as a deduction. The second biggest change was a corporate tax rate that went down from 35% to 21%, which he describes as a “huge tailwind.”

So the real debate should be whether raising corporate rates and eliminating tax incentives that create jobs and investments in the U.S. economy should be changed? Senator Elizabeth Warren has proposed a Wealth Tax that would include a 2 percent tax every year on households with assets over $50 million and a 3 percent tax on households with assets over $1 billion. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, proposes a 70 percent marginal tax rate on income above $10 million. And Senator Bernie Sanders is talking about raising the Estate Tax.

And the second debate is should capital gains taxes be raised? Presidential Candidate John Delaney wants to raise the 20 percent top tax rate on long-term capital gains because he believes investors no longer need a lower rate to encourage investments. The counter-argument, of course, is that an increase may impact the bottom line for companies so much that it results in lay-offs, reduced income and hurt the overall economy.

If we look back at the Tax Reform Act of 1986 passed by President Ronald Reagan, the bill lowered the top tax rate for ordinary income 50% to 28% and raised the bottom tax rate from 11% to 15%. It also raised the maximum tax rate on long-term capital gains to 28% from 20% (Investopedia). And for businesses, the corporate tax rate was reduced from 50% to 35%.

And while the Reagan Tax Reform Act of 1986 did help clean up the tax code, the economic results were mixed as a result of many other economic issues (NPR). It did attack the 1980 recession and stagflation and promised to reduce the government influence on the economy. It was based on supply-side economics that believes corporate tax cuts are the best way to grow the economy.

So I think the real question every American should be asking is who do you trust more with your money: the government, corporations or yourself? Would you rather have Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos generate jobs that produce income or have big government collect more money and be more responsible for our economy?

Related: The Top 4 Tax Strategies To Save Your Business Money

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What’s Being Built – and What’s Not – on 2019’s Smart Contract Blockchains

Has anyone checked in with EOS lately, to see how it’s doing? How about Tezos – any signs of life there? In mid 2017, two of the largest token sales in history birthed two smart contracting platforms that promised to topple Ethereum and usher in an era of fast and low-cost value transfer with dApps for everyone. Two years on, news.Bitcoin.com decided it ought to perform a welfare check on the leading smart contracting platforms to look for signs of life.

Also read: How Market Makers Inject Liquidity Into the Cryptoconomy

‘U Okay Hun?’

The number of smart contract platforms, sometimes referred to as second-generation blockchains, has multiplied since the days when EOS, Tezos, and Tron were being talked up as the new Ethereum. Just to further complicate matters, there’s also been a string of layer two solutions and sidechains that connect to networks such as Ethereum, performing much of the heavy lifting off-chain, before transmitting the computed result to the mainchain. Even Bitcoin Cash has gotten in on the act, with Simple Ledger Protocol supporting ERC20-style token issuance, but with lower fees. As a result, there isn’t enough time, space or willpower to record what every smart contract platform in the industry is currently up to. The following snapshot, however, reveals the health of the main players and their new contenders. Consider it the equivalent of a kindly text to an old friend who hasn’t been heard from in days. “U okay hun?”

What’s Being Built – and What’s Not – on 2019’s Smart Contract Blockchains

The story concerning what’s being built on EOS differs wildly depending on whether you read the narrative being peddled at eosprojects.org or the unofficial one recorded by Dappradar.com. According to the former, recent projects of note include Equilibrium, a smart contract solution for creating EOSDT-backed stablecoins, and pro-privacy market research project Insights Network. Other than that, the handful of projects listed on eosprojects.org are either dead or dying, such as Eos Time, an auction site that hasn’t been heard from since the start of February. Srsly hun, u okay?

What’s Being Built – and What’s Not – on 2019’s Smart Contract Blockchains
Top five EOS dApps.

Dappradar paints a far rosier picture of EOS adoption, even if its killer use case isn’t the one that Dan Larimer envisioned. It turns out that EOS is great for running gambling dApps, thanks to its free transactions and fast block times. Centralization concerns aren’t an issue here either: for gambling purposes, EOS is decentralized enough. Top dApps include Dice, Hold’em Poker King, and GP Casino. There are also a few gaming dApps in the top 10 such as Prospectors and EOS Knights.

$4 billion to create a cheap gambling network doesn’t seem like much to crow about, though to cut EOS some slack, gambling was one of Bitcoin’s early successes – remember Satoshi Dice? At some stage, EOS will need to start launching more than just gaming and gambling dApps if it’s to justify its existence. The EOS VC fund, with its $1 billion war chest, should help there. One of EOS’ problems is a lack of cohesive communication about what’s actually being built on the network. Scout around, however, and there are signs of life. Tech collective Ghostbustersx, for instance, are beavering away on some interesting EOSIO projects including a DAG for the independent nation of Liberland.

What’s Being Built – and What’s Not – on 2019’s Smart Contract Blockchains

Tron

Tron’s trajectory has proven very similar to EOS, with the difference being that Justin Sun’s ICO-funded network seems willing to embrace what it’s become: a gambler’s paradise. Moreover, having raised six times less than EOS (albeit a still significant $70 million), there’s been less pressure on Tron to deliver flagship products from game-changing crypto companies. As a result, Tron has quietly grown into one of the most successful dApp networks to date. Admittedly, there’s a preponderance of gambling dApps, with a few exchanges thrown in for good measure, but then not every smart contracting platform has to reinvent finance: sometimes it’s nice to throw a few tokens at a high-low betting game and see what comes back.

What’s Being Built – and What’s Not – on 2019’s Smart Contract Blockchains

Another minor success story for Tron is that its sub-tokens have gained some traction, in contrast to EOS. Most notably, the Wink token, which IEO’d on Binance last month, has done well, and cemented Tron’s reputation as the gambler’s chain of choice. Tron’s also been making progress in other areas, such as with the Sun network, a sidechain for launching dApps that provides all the functionality of the mainchain but with lower resource costs.

What’s Being Built – and What’s Not – on 2019’s Smart Contract Blockchains
Top five Tron dApps

Tezos

After getting concerned at the milk bottles stacking up outside the door and the number of newspapers protruding from the mailbox, news.Bitcoin.com sent a series of increasingly concerned texts to Tezos. Tezos did not respond.

What’s Being Built – and What’s Not – on 2019’s Smart Contract Blockchains

RSK

Unlike the other smart contracting networks featured here, RSK isn’t a second-gen blockchain: it’s a layer two that serves as an open source smart contract solution anchored by the security of the BTC network. That’s right, the absolute madmen are building on Bitcoin. As value propositions go, that’s pretty enticing, not least to enterprises that desire the functionality of smart contract-powered products, but without dirtying their hands by dabbling with unproven blockchains.

What’s Being Built – and What’s Not – on 2019’s Smart Contract Blockchains

After a quiet start to the year, RSK has announced a detailed roadmap and begun to court developers interested in building open finance products. RSK is already being used by a number of projects, including a meat production traceability initiative in its native Argentina. In July, a major network upgrade (Wasabi) improved storage components of the RSK protocol, and a raft of other improvements scheduled for Q3 will ensure the smart contract network is enterprise-ready. After that, it’ll be time for RSK to step up and show what it’s made of.

Matic Network

We’ve left the main chains behind now, and are onto sidechains and other smart contract solutions that nevertheless compete directly with EOS and its ilk. Matic is probably the biggest breakthrough this year, from the dozens of sidechains promising to enhance Ethereum and every other network they’re plugged into. While the seed money from Coinbase Ventures and the IEO on Binance has undoubtedly helped its cause, Matic has actually built stuff too, partnering with a string of companies along the way including some known names.

What’s Being Built – and What’s Not – on 2019’s Smart Contract Blockchains

Decentraland and Makerdao are among the partners Matic can count, while on the dApp side it’s got a handful of applications up and running. Matic Network uses an adapted version of Plasma, a scaling technology originally conceived for Ethereum. It enables fast and cheap transactions, which attain finality once confirmed on the mainchain. Thanks to its broad cross-industry support, coupled with an energy that only young projects can possess, Matic looks set to end 2019 on a high.

Liquid Apps

Purpose built for hosting dApps that can operate at scale, Liquid Apps is focused on the endgame: a future in which thousands of decentralized apps are used by millions. Should that vision ever become a reality, cheap computation and storage will be essential, which Liquid Apps promises to deliver through the originally named Dapp Network.

What’s Being Built – and What’s Not – on 2019’s Smart Contract Blockchains

Rather than seek to take on the leading dApp blockchains in a zero-sum game, Liquid Apps aims to work with them. Its interoperability product Liquid Link connects EOS and Ethereum, enabling developers to create dApps that work on both chains. Like RSK, Liquid Apps has its tech stack in place. Next up, it needs to attract a few more projects that can showcase what its technology can do.

Verdict: Signs of Life

For the networks described here, there are signs of life, ranging from tepid to robust. Even Tezos will probably stir at some point once it’s put its legal troubles behind it and is free to focus on building. One matter that all those involved with the above networks seem to agree on: Ethereum isn’t scalable, and won’t be application ready any time soon. “Complex dApps just don’t work on Ethereum,” Vahid Toosi of Ghostbustersx told news.Bitcoin.com. “I also think there is something different with EOSIO which allows people to iterate quickly on different blockchains … The idea was always to build platform specific chains rather than general and then have the interoperability between the chains.”

In the promised land envisioned by its architects, blockchains communicate openly with one another, dApps scale, fees are forever low and block producers never collude. It may be an impossible dream, but for the developers of today’s smart contract networks, it’s one worth clinging to. News.Bitcoin.com will return in six months for another welfare check when its entreaty – “U okay hun?” – will hopefully be met with a resounding “Yes.”

Which smart contract platforms do you think are likeliest to succeed? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Dappradar.com.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

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Kai Sedgwick

Kai’s been playing with words for a living since 2009 and bought his first bitcoin at $12. It’s long gone. He’s previously written white papers for blockchain startups and is especially interested in P2P exchanges and DNMs.

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Litigation funding platform wins first case

Alternative Credit

AxiaFunder says the net investor gain was 43 per cent as the firm looks to ramp up its pipeline of cases.

Litigation funding platform wins first case

Image source: Pexels

AxiaFunder, a new alternative finance platform that helps investors access litigation funding, has seen its first case make a net return for investors of 43 per cent, according to an update from the firm.

Litigation funding has been hugely popular with hedge funds and available indirectly to investors via the recently troubled Burford Capital. AxiaFunder says it is opening the asset class to a new level for retail investors.

The firm was set up by Cormac Leech, formerly of Liberum and Victory Park Capital, in early 2019. 

It works by bringing those wishing to undertake a legal case but lack the cash to pay for it with investors who fund the legal costs and get a return based on the successful financial outcome of the case. 

In the event, the case is lost investors lose all of their money and in some instances, investors may lose more than their original stake,  up to double the amount invested.

This first case has a relatively modest £12k funding requirement.  Leech says its second case is ongoing with several more cases in the pipeline and the firm is currently advertising for a funding requirement of £40kinitially followed by an £810k follow on.

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Supermarket Chain Migros Implements Blockchain-Based Food Traceability

Switzerland’s largest supermarket chain and retailer, Migros is turning to blockchain to keep tabs on its supply chain for food.

Migros announced the implementation of TE-Food’s blockchain-based food traceability system, Aug. 29. Whilst many retailers are incorporating such systems to provide transparent information to customers, Migros is looking to the technology to optimize processes and provide greater value.

Optimization through deeper supply chain insight

According to the announcement, Migros expects the new initiative to provide more benefits than just offering transparency for customers. Rather, the supermarket expectst the new platform to deliver value by enabling easier product recalls and improved supply chain control for example.

The new supply chain optimization are also expected to lead to more efficient distribution and reduced food waste, in line with upcoming initiatives from the European Food Safety Authority.

Partnership extends existing traceability functions

The implementation of the TE-FOOD system to Migros’s fresh fruit and vegetable supply chains, will reportedly extend the functionality of its legacy systems.

Fresh food suppliers already had the possibility to input traceability data through a GS1 standards-based API. However, Migros looks to extend these capabilities through a business-to-business mobile and web app with file upload functionality.

The project is designed to be a purely internal process, and there is currently no scope for opening it up towards consumers.

TE-Food is one of a number of companies offering blockchain-based supply chain traceability services to the food industry.

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Disrupt SF prices increase tonight

Nobody likes them, but price hikes happen, people. Price hikes happen. And the early-bird price for passes to Disrupt San Francisco 2019 disappears tonight, August 30 at 11:59 p.m. (PST). Avoid the pain of paying more and enjoy saving up to $1,300. You have only a few hours left. Buy your Disrupt SF passes right now.

Why attend Disrupt SF? It’s simply the place to be for members of the early-stage startup ecosystem — no matter what your role. Take it from Luke Heron, CEO of TestCard Diagnostics. His company exhibited in Startup Alley at Disrupt SF ’17 and again at Disrupt Berlin ’18 — and recently closed on $1.7 million in funding.

“If you’re a startup founder or an entrepreneur,” said Heron, “attending Disrupt is a no-brainer.”

Need more reasons? Okay, we’ll break it down for you.

  • Programming across four stages, workshops, Q&A Sessions, panel discussions and a roster of speakers representing a veritable who’s who of tech leaders, icons, makers and doers. Check out the Disrupt agenda.
  • Startup Battlefield, where 15-30 outstanding early-stage startups launch on a world stage and vie for a $100,000 cash prize.
  • Startup Alley, featuring more than 1,000 early-stage startups — and don’t forget to meet our hand-picked TC Top Picks — 45 incredible startups made the cut this year.
  • Networking — especially but not exclusively in Startup Alley — is practically a contact sport at Disrupt events. And by that we mean you’ll find plenty of contacts to help drive your business forward. We even have a tool to help you… read the next bullet.
  • CrunchMatch, a free, business match-making service that can help you cut through the thousands of people to find and connect with founders and investors who share similar business goals.
  • The TC Hackathon, where up to 800 talented makers will compete for a $10,000 top prize, plus thousands more in cash and prizes from sponsored contests.

Disrupt San Francisco 2019 takes place October 2-4, and you have just a few short hours left to take advantage of early-bird pricing and save up to $1,300. Price hikes happen. Don’t let them happen to you. Buy your passes before 11:59 p.m. (PST) tonight, August 30.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt San Francisco 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

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Startup Guide: 4 Tax Deductions to Watch for in 2019

Guest Post: Justin McLoughlin, Founder of airCFO. Under no circumstances should any of the below content be construed as legal, tax or investment advice from 500 Startups or any of its affiliates.

Taxes. They’re a constant presence for any startup. No matter whether you just started earning revenue or you’re a mature veteran, taxes are an important expense item that can be a drag on your bottom line. An effective tax strategy can make all the difference between success and failure, especially in your early years.

Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to minimize your tax exposure and reduce their impact on your profitability. Businesses can take advantage of a wide range of deductions. In fact, there are so many available that it can be hard to know exactly which ones are right for you.

You’re probably aware that you can deduct most business expenses like salaries, advertising, travel and more. There are other deductions, though, that may not seem obvious for your business. Below are a few deductions you may want to consider as you develop your 2019 tax strategy. They could reduce your tax costs and boost your bottom line.

Startup Costs

Did you invest money to launch your business? Those expenses may count as your very first business deduction. If your startup costs were less than $50,000, you can deduct up to $5,000. If your costs were between $50,000 and $55,000, your deduction limit may be reduced. And if your costs were greater than $55,000, you can’t take the deduction. If you’re in your first year of business, be sure to keep good records of your expenses during launch so you can take advantage of this deduction.

Research and Development Credit

Think research and development is just for medical and tech companies? Think again. The IRS offers a sizable tax credit to any company that is developing new strategies and solutions for their customers. There are a wide range of products and services that qualify for the R&D credit, including software, physical products, and more.

Under the new tax law, companies with less than $5 million in annual revenue can apply for a $250,000 R&D credit to offset their FICA payroll taxes. You can apply for the credit for five years, giving you a potential $1.25 million in tax credits.

Bonus Depreciation

Do you use any equipment or machinery in your startup? If so, that equipment could help you get a sizable deduction. Businesses can deduct expenses for depreciation, which is the normal decline in value for equipment due to wear and tear.

Under the new tax law, small businesses can deduct up to 100 percent of the value of any personal property used for business purposes. The only requirements are that the property have an expected useful life of at least 20 years and that you bought it from someone who isn’t a relative.

Software Subscription Costs

Even if you don’t use equipment in your business, it’s likely that you use various kinds of software. You may have a contact management system, a content marketing or social media platform, bookkeeping software or more. In fact, the average small business uses between 16 and 20 apps. You can deduct the subscription costs for those apps as a business expense.

This is just a sampling of some of the deductions that may be available to you. The best way to make sure you take advantage of all possible deductions and credits is to work with an experienced and skilled accounting company. And guess what? You can deduct these costs too. Contact airCFO today to learn how we can help you manage your tax strategy.

This article originally appeared on airCFO.

NOTE: JUSTIN MCLOUGHLIN IS A GUEST POSTER AND ANY VIEWS OR OPINIONS REPRESENTED IN THE ABOVE POST ARE PERSONAL AND DO NOT REPRESENT THOSE OF 500 STARTUPS OR ANY OF ITS STAFF OR AFFILIATES UNLESS EXPLICITLY STATED. ALL CONTENT REPRESENTED ABOVE IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. 500 STARTUPS MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS AS TO THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF ANY INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE ABOVE POST. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ANY OF THE ABOVE CONTENT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL, TAX OR INVESTMENT ADVICE FROM 500 STARTUPS OR ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ANY INFORMATION OR CONTENT IN THIS POST, BE CONSIDERED AS AN OFFER TO SELL OR SOLICITATION OF INTEREST TO PURCHASE ANY SECURITIES ADVISED BY 500 STARTUPS OR ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES OR REPRESENTATIVES. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ANYTHING HEREIN BE CONSTRUED AS FUND MARKETING MATERIALS BY PROSPECTIVE INVESTORS CONSIDERING AN INVESTMENT INTO ANY 500 STARTUPS INVESTMENT FUND.

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In-House vs. Outsource: What’s the Best Accounting Strategy for Your Startup?

Guest Post: Justin McLoughlin is the Founder of airCFO. Under no circumstances should any of the below content be construed as legal, tax or investment advice from 500 Startups or any of its affiliates.

The early days of any company are all about resource management. Life as a startup is perilous. The companies who survive and thrive are usually the ones who find ways to do more with less. That could mean having employees who pull double duty and fill multiple roles. It may mean working a grueling schedule. It could also mean outsourcing certain key functions.

Outsourcing can be a great way for a startup to leverage experienced and skilled talent without breaking the bank. You only pay for the work you need, so you can avoid long-term commitments and robust compensation packages. You can use outsourcing to minimize your costs and slow your burn rate.

The big question is which services you should outsource and which you should bring in-house. You can outsource virtually anything, from marketing to human resources to legal to IT and more. If you’re in the seed stage and have only a few employees, you might outsource almost everything. If you’re a more mature startup, it could make sense to handle some of those functions in-house.

What about accounting, though? Accounting is a critical function in any business. If your books and financial documents aren’t clear and accurate, it’s difficult to make smart decisions.

Accounting may be an important part of your business, but is it so important that you should handle it in-house? Should you hire an in-house bookkeeper or accountant? Or outsource the work to an accounting firm?

The answer depends on your company’s unique needs and goals. Below are reasons why each could make sense.

Why outsource your accounting?

For most startups, outsourcing is an effective accounting solution, for the following reasons:

Cost flexibility. When you outsource work, you only pay for the services you need. If you’re a startup, you may not have enough bookkeeping or accounting work to require full-time help. You can protect your capital by outsourcing those services and only paying for the work you need. As your business grows, you can expand your services.

Expert advice and service. As you likely know, talent can mean the difference between survival and failure as a startup. If you can recruit smart, experienced, innovative people, you can get a leg up on the competition.

Unfortunately, you may not have the budget to hire an experienced, skilled accountant or even bookkeeper on a full-time basis. However, outsourcing gives you access to high-level financial talent without straining your budget. You only pay for the work you need and you share your accountant with other clients. That helps you get expert advice at a fraction of the cost.

Clean, credible financial statements for investors. Raising capital is one of the biggest challenges for any startup. An experienced accounting firm can make sure your books and your financial records are up-to-date and accurate.

They can also provide you with valuable consultation and advice through the fundraising process. For example, they may help you determine how much you need to raise given your current burn rate. Or they might provide business valuation so you know what your company is worth. It’s tough to get that kind of insight from an in-house bookkeeper.

Why go with an in-house solution?

For most startups, an outsourced relationship with an accounting company is the right solution. However, there could be instances in which an in-house professional makes sense.

Niche or unique needs. Maybe you operate in a highly-specialized industry that has unique accounting or bookkeeping methods. Perhaps you’re struggling to find a firm or outsourced company that fully understands your needs. In that case, it could make sense to hire a bookkeeper to manage in-house.

Multi-tasking. In many startups, it’s common for employees to pull double-duty. People may work in sales and customer service or pull two roles in product development and marketing. It’s possible that you have an employee who has bookkeeping experience and can fill other roles. In this case, it could make sense. However, you’d likely still want outside expertise on things like raising capital and preparing financial documents.

Not sure which is right for you? Talk to an accounting firm that provides bookkeeping and other services to startups. They can help you determine which services are right for you and how you can take advantage of experienced accounting talent without busting your budget.

This article originally appeared on airCFO.

NOTE: JUSTIN MCLOUGHLIN IS A GUEST POSTER AND ANY VIEWS OR OPINIONS REPRESENTED IN THE ABOVE POST ARE PERSONAL AND DO NOT REPRESENT THOSE OF 500 STARTUPS OR ANY OF ITS STAFF OR AFFILIATES UNLESS EXPLICITLY STATED. ALL CONTENT REPRESENTED ABOVE IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. 500 STARTUPS MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS AS TO THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF ANY INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE ABOVE POST. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ANY OF THE ABOVE CONTENT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL, TAX OR INVESTMENT ADVICE FROM 500 STARTUPS OR ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ANY INFORMATION OR CONTENT IN THIS POST, BE CONSIDERED AS AN OFFER TO SELL OR SOLICITATION OF INTEREST TO PURCHASE ANY SECURITIES ADVISED BY 500 STARTUPS OR ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES OR REPRESENTATIVES. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ANYTHING HEREIN BE CONSTRUED AS FUND MARKETING MATERIALS BY PROSPECTIVE INVESTORS CONSIDERING AN INVESTMENT INTO ANY 500 STARTUPS INVESTMENT FUND.

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500 Startups & Misk Innovation to Launch Second Batch of the Misk 500 Accelerator Program

Applications are now open for Batch 2 of the Misk 500 Accelerator Program

500 Startups and Misk Innovation will host the second batch of its accelerator program based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to fuel startups throughout the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region.  Batch 2 of the Misk 500 Accelerator Program will bring experts from Silicon Valley and beyond to educate 15-20 early-stage startups from MENA. The program will consist of 14 weeks of mentorship and workshops that will have an emphasis on growth hacking techniques, product design, and fundraising. In addition to the educational component of the program, participants will have a unique opportunity to make long-lasting connections with investors and corporate partners from the region. 

Following the highly sought after Misk 500 Accelerator Program Batch 1, 500 Startups and Misk Innovation are excited to continue working with startups from the region. The goal of the program is to empower local and regional startups by raising the level of training standards for young people in MENA. 500 Startups regional fund, 500 Falcons, will invest USD $50,000 into each participating startup in exchange for 7% equity.

Applicant Qualifications:

  • Pre-seed and seed-stage technology companies based in the MENA region
  • Company founders are expected to fully participate in all aspects of the program. A maximum of two additional team members (per company) will be also allowed to participate at any time during the program
  • Startups must have an available product or service (MVP) or live beta

Space is limited to 15-20 startups. Apply here before July 26th, 2019.

Misk 500 Accelerator – Batch 2 Program Dates:

Phase Description Date
Application Applications are open — Apply now! Jun 26, 2019
Start Date Batch 2 Program Kickoff Sep 1, 2019
End Date Final Week of Program Dec 1, 2019
Demo Day Presentation to Investors and Corporate Executives Dec 3, 2019

Looking Back on Batch 1

Batch 1 of the Misk 500 Accelerator Program consisted of 19 startups who took part in the 16-week program in Riyadh. Participants joined from Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Palestine, and the United Arab Emirates. 37% of these companies had at least one female founder. The program concluded with a Demo Day, where startups gave a 3-minute pitch to a packed room of over 200 attendees, which consisted of both investors and corporations from the region. 

If you are a startup interested in participating in the Misk 500 Accelerator program, apply here.

Notes:

500 STARTUPS PROGRAMS, INVESTOR EDUCATION SERVICES, STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP CONSULTING SERVICES AND EVENTS ARE OPERATED BY 500 STARTUPS INCUBATOR, L.L.C. (TOGETHER WITH ITS AFFILIATES, “500 STARTUPS”) AND THE FUNDS ADVISED BY 500 STARTUPS MANAGEMENT COMPANY, L.L.C. DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN ANY REVENUE GENERATED BY THESE ACTIVITIES. SUCH PROGRAMS AND SERVICES ARE PROVIDED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ANY CONTENT PROVIDED AS PART OF ANY SUCH PROGRAMS, SERVICES OR EVENTS BE CONSTRUED AS INVESTMENT, LEGAL, TAX OR ACCOUNTING ADVICE BY 500 STARTUPS OR ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES.

THIS POST IS INTENDED SOLELY TO PROVIDE INFORMATION REGARDING 500 STARTUPS. ALL CONTENT PROVIDED IN THIS POST IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATIONAL OR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. 500 STARTUPS MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS AS TO THE ACCURACY OR INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS POST AND WHILE 500 STARTUPS HAS TAKEN REASONABLE STEPS TO ENSURE THAT THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS POST IS ACCURATE AND UP-TO-DATE, NO LIABILITY CAN BE ACCEPTED FOR ANY ERROR OR OMISSIONS.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ANY INFORMATION OR CONTENT IN THIS POST, BE CONSIDERED AS AN OFFER TO SELL OR SOLICITATION OF INTEREST TO PURCHASE ANY SECURITIES ADVISED BY 500 STARTUPS OR ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES OR REPRESENTATIVES. FURTHER, NO CONTENT OR INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS POST IS OR IS INTENDED AS AN OFFER TO PROVIDE ANY INVESTMENT ADVISORY SERVICE OR FINANCIAL ADVICE BY 500 STARTUPS. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ANYTHING HEREIN BE CONSTRUED AS FUND MARKETING MATERIALS BY PROSPECTIVE INVESTORS CONSIDERING AN INVESTMENT INTO ANY 500 STARTUPS INVESTMENT FUND.

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