A set of rules adopted by the company for the governance of its officers, directors, and shareholders.
All the jargon used in investing can seem overwhelming at times. Explore the Lexicon to learn the language that will help make you a smart investor.
The basic organizational document filed with a state to legally operate as a company. It may also be called the Articles of Incorporation.
Individuals elected to represent shareholders of a company. Directors establish corporate management related policies and make decisions on major company issues such as the hiring and firing or officers, and dividend payments to shareholders. Directors owe the company the fiduciary duties of care and loyalty. This means that directors must act in the best interests of the company, refrain from self-dealing, and make decisions on an informed basis.
Property that results from original creative thought. Intellectual property protected under U.S. law include patents, trademarks, and copyrighted material.
Executives of the company who develop and implement high-level strategy and manage the day to day affairs of the company. Officers are appointed by the directors. Common officer roles include Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Operating Officer.
Startup and early stage companies frequently change their product, selling strategy, or business plan to adapt, when their prior actions are not leading to profits or a scalable business. These "pivots" may revamp the company into something very different than what was originally presented to investors. Investors must bear in mind that these changes happen, but consider whether the entrepreneur gave sufficient warning about the possibility of a change in plans.
The ultimate owners of a company. Any person, company, or other institution that owns a least one share in a company is a shareholder. The term is often used interchangeably with stockholder.
An early-stage, high-potential, high risk, growth company. Many of the companies seeking crowdfunding are startups. They typically consist of a founder and an idea, and are usually associated with new technology. They can become incredibly successful, like Google, Apple or Facebook, or go bust, like many companies in the dot com era. A company grows from being a startup as it passes certain milestones, such as becoming profitable, being purchased through a merger or acquisition, or becoming publicly traded in an IPO.
An estimate of what the company is worth. This would help the investor determine whether the price paid per share is a fair price, a good investment, or a poor investment. To value a company, an investor should consider the assets and liabilities of the company. A startup typically has few tangible assets (such as property), it typically has more intangible assets such as patents, copyrights, software, trade secrets, customer relationships and other items of growth potential. A startup typically has liabilities such as loans outstanding.