The ownership of startups is often a mystery. In the absence of a public registry, it is difficult to figure out who owns what. Since most startups incorporate in Delaware, the Delaware Division of Corporations holds relevant information, but you may not be able to get all the information you need, and putting it together from the legal paperwork will be challenging.
To understand a startup’s capital structure, you must have access to its capitalization table, also known as cap table...
Now, a coalition of Silicon Valley law firms and startup vendors is forming to address this issue. In a Medium post from July 27, the Open Cap Table Coalition stated its intention to “improve the interoperability, transparency, and portability of startup cap table data.” Since standardization means fewer billable hours for lawyers and less lock-in for software platforms, it may go against the short-term interest of some participants. However, the coalition reflects Silicon Valley’s way of doing business — as AnnaLee Saxenian, the [former] dean of the UC Berkeley School of Information noted in her influential 1994 book “Regional Advantage,” the Valley is a place where intense competitors become partners and informal co-operation and exchange become institutionalized.
AnnaLee Saxenian is a professor and former dean of the UC Berkeley Information.