Swiss Start-ups & Entrepreneurs Expanding into the US
Switzerland is generally a fertile ground for start-ups. A strong economy, relatively low taxes and a business-friendly legal framework help create good conditions for entrepreneurs. Not surprisingly, Switzerland is among the 10 most innovative countries in the world(*).
For some of these entrepreneurs having created a business in Switzerland it makes sense to consider an expansion into the US sooner or later in the business life cycle. After all the US offers the largest consumer market in the world as well as a huge business-to-business market. And the presence of like-minded people especially in innovation centers such as New York, the Boston area and Silicon Valley can promote further innovation and represent business opportunities. Of course, such a potential expansion across the pond requires a detailed analysis and careful planning.
From a legal perspective, here are ten questions that entrepreneurs should start reviewing early in the process:
- In which US State do we want to set up our business and where do we want to conduct business?
- What will be the appropriate business structure?
- Will we need to raise money to finance the expansion and if so, in what form?
- What are the tax implications of the expansion and what tax planning is required?
- Are the products or services we offer subject to specific regulations (e.g., medical device)?
- Do we need a license (local, state and/or federal) to operate our business (e.g., in fintech)?
- If we have intellectual property (IP), what steps do we have to take to ensure that such IP is protected in the US?
- Is the business name we use in Switzerland or want to use in the US available?
- Do we want to hire local people and/or employ people who already work for the start-up in Switzerland? If the latter, what are the immigration law requirements?
- What agreements will we need in the initial stage (governing documents for the business entity, lease, employment agreements etc.)?
The early involvement of a lawyer and other subject matter experts will greatly help with the review of these questions and the discussion and implementation of solutions.
The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be understood or construed as legal advice.