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Herbert Smith Freehills Startup School

A founder-focused initiative


Applications for our second round of Startup School are now closed. For enquiries about the Herbert Smith Freehills Startup School, please contact us at [email protected].

The Herbert Smith Freehills Startup School is a law-firm led education program for startups in Melbourne. Startup School is a modular training program, which involves a series of 6 practical workshops, led by experienced lawyers from Herbert Smith Freehills and some of its pre-eminent partners who are immersed in the startup sector, including Greenwoods + Herbert Smith Freehills, CultureAmp, Cannings, NAB Labs and Zeus Consulting. In every session, participants will hear from founders and advisers about some of the pitfalls of, challenges of and learnings from running a startup, have the opportunity to share their experiences with others, and learn from the best in the business.

Course Overview


Tuesday 5 June 2018: 6.00pm to 9.00pm

Toby Eggleston (Greenwoods + Herbert Smith Freehills), Adam Charles (Herbert Smith Freehills) and Damien Williams (CultureAmp)

In this session, we will provide you with an overview of company and tax structuring to help you gain an understanding of how best to structure your business, we’ll cover mechanisms for making the most of tax incentives available to you and will discuss the pro's and con's of using ESOPs.


Thursday 7 June 2018: 6.00pm to 8.00pm

Natalie Gaspar (Herbert Smith Freehills)

In this session, we will discuss the difference between various employment mechanisms and the rights, obligations and costs associated with each. The session will cover some of the key terms that should be included in employee and/or contractor agreements, aspects of legally compliant hiring/firing and social media policies, and a discussion on best practice employment practices.


Thursday 14 June 2018: 6.00pm to 9.00pm

Katherine Gregor, Kaman Tsoi and Eliza Foley (Herbert Smith Freehills) and Daniel Wypler (NAB Labs)

In this session, we’ll cover some of the key legal and practical considerations associated with commercialising your product, including an overview of key intellectual property rights, maximising the value of your data and protecting your valuable business assets. The session will also cover best practices for brand management, traps in commercial licensing and key considerations for taking your business online.


Tuesday 19 June 2018: 6.00pm to 8.00pm

Anna Jaffe and Mandy Milner (Herbert Smith Freehills) and Zubin Pratap (Zeus Consulting and Whooshka)

In this session, you will gain an overview of key contractual terms, and will include a discussion on important legal risks and tips for managing these risks. We will also cover common areas of contract negotiation with your suppliers and customers, and general strategies for managing your business' liability.


Tuesday 26 June 2018: 6.00pm to 8.00pm

Renee Bertuch (Cannings)

In this workshop, you will develop a toolkit of skills for developing clear and consistent messaging ready for the market, you will learn about the importance of developing a compelling narrative and you will explore ways to effectively use different channels to reach stakeholders. We will also discuss tips for developing a clear communications plan and presentation skills suitable for conferences, board meetings and panel discussions.


Tuesday 3 July 2018: 6.00pm to 9.00pm

Claire Thompson (Herbert Smith Freehills), Ben Hensman (Square Peg Capital) and Kara Frederick (Tiger Capital)

In this session, you will learn about various models of funding and the legal risks involved with each model. We will discuss bootstrapping, debt and equity funding and the process leading up to IPO, including steps you can take now to ensure you are prepared for future due diligence processes. You will also hear about some of the key tips and traps when entering into shareholder agreements.



Why should you sign up for Startup School?

Herbert Smith Freehills is a global top tier law firm with a first class technology practice as well as sector focus on technology. We represent top companies around the world and want to be a part of your pathway to success.

We are looking for founders, entrepreneurs and business enthusiasts who have an established startup and are preparing for scale or fundraising. 

We offer you:

  • (Network) Access to a network of mentors, advisors and experienced professionals to help your startup navigate legal and regulatory challenges. Herbert Smith Freehills Startup School will enable you to build relationships and partnerships within the startup sector and the Melbourne business community.
  • (Curriculum) Herbert Smith Freehills Startup School brings together experts from the legal and related sectors to ensure that you are aware of, and understand, key commercial drivers and risks that will be important when operating your business.
  • (Support) Stuck at a cross-roads? Not sure if your legal issues require further advice? The team at Herbert Smith Freehills Startup School are experts in their respective fields and will be able to give you commercial and targeted advice to put you on the right path.
  • (Community) Hear from startups that have succeeded and failed. Herbert Smith Freehills Startup School is a practical and hands-on experience. You will hear directly from your peers in the startup community on their tips and traps and advice to make sure you learn from the mistakes of other startups that have faced the same challenges.

For enquiries about the Herbert Smith Freehills Startup School, please contact us at [email protected].

Herbert Smith Freehills' 2017 Startup School
In 2017, 22 Aussie startups took part in the inaugural Herbert Smith Freehills Startup School. Here’s what some of them had to say about their experience.


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