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A startup is usually so busy with developing its product and the business behind it, thinking about the legal consequences is usually forgotten. With all its consequences. That thought led AKD advocaten to creating their own startup team. The AKD Startup program was officially born on Friday night, December 2nd.


The lawyers Carmen Hermes, Edith Hendriks and Robert Vodegel presented the main features in Seats2Meet at Strijp-S for an audience of young AKD members and local startups. “We provide legal assistance for an average of 60 euros per hour for three years. That is well below the normal rates of a lawyer”, says Carmen Hermes. “We also invite the startup 6 times a year for a lunch where we can discuss all current affairs. It basically comes down to thinking with the startup as much as we can, from the perspective of our legal expertise.”

Admittance to the program is not unlimited, says Edith Hendriks. “If you have a good, innovative idea and you want to make a business out of it, you should sign up via our website as soon as you can. We then look at your idea to see how innovative and scalable it is. If all is okay, we start immediately.” There is room for ten startups; they can come from all sectors.

Legal support is important, but often neglected by a startup, says Robert Vodegel. “We can, for instance, help make an estimation of the risks.” Vodegel emphasizes that the program is only at the beginning. “We have a good deal to offer, but we are open to additions and improvements.”

Yuri van Geest

Yuri van Geest
Yuri van Geest

To introduce the startup program, AKD invited Yuri van Geest from SingularityU. He had to do his very best to convince his audience that the world will look completely different in a few years. Exactly like in his introductory film about the emerging tsunami, in which people at the beach are wondering what is coming at them, but at the same time are totally incapable of assessing the consequences. “Mentally we’re not able to make that connection, simply because it’s too extreme.”

At a breakneck speed, Van Geest is going past all sectors that stand for exponential change, while casually firing his warnings at the lawyers present. ”It would serve you well to quickly embrace blockchain for example.” But Van Geest has many more examples of developments that turn our lives upside down. “Look at the Port of Rotterdam. Ostensibly still a major power, but it will soon be completely irrelevant. 3D printing makes transport unnecessary, we are on the verge of a radical decentralization of all means of production.”

China has already understood, says van Geest – on almost all areas. Including: nano photonics, Crispr, quantum computers. “It’s about time for Europe to wake up as well.” Van Geest sees 80% of the existing jobs disappear. “The good news is that there are also many new jobs. Not as many new jobs as disappearing jobs, but still.” For that, our education system needs to change drastically. If that works, Van Geest thinks new jobs will arise in three sectors:

  1. Everything around new technologies
  2. Everything that comes out of the right hemisphere (who’s still counting on the left hemisphere for his job, can forget about it soon)
  3. Arts and culture

“The reality is a permanent museum”, says Van Geest. Only the people who embrace the exponential development, have a chance to survive the great battle. But there are still risks. “In 2018 we will definitely again encounter a financial crisis. That’s no joke, people. That is what’s going on now.”