Early Stage Tech Companies: Navigating Potential Pitfalls

For early stage tech employers the upside generated by rapid business growth can quickly be eliminated from costly employment and immigration law missteps. Potential risks can be magnified when new business owners strive to attract sought after talent and expand their workforce in today’s competitive job market.

On this episode of We get work,™ law experts from Jackson Lewis share practical yet critical steps employers should consider early in the business life cycle of both domestic and foreign national employees to mitigate legal risk and financial exposure.

Listen now.

Our hosts today are Doug Klein, principal in the New York City office, and Ben Lau and Zain Abidi, associates in the Los Angeles office of Jackson Lewis. Running the gamut of legal assistance on this issue, Doug, Ben and Zain all work with large and established Fortune 500 corporations and startups in fintech industries, forging partnerships with employers of all sizes and at all stages of development.

How to accurately measure productivity of remote workers

According to a recent FlexJobs survey, 51% of people who have been working remotely during the pandemic report being more productive at home than they were in the traditional office setting.

But, how can employees and their managers accurately measure productivity in the new normal?

Shanna Hocking, associate vice president of individual giving at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and expert on career development, says one of her favorite strategies is using what she calls an NNTR Update.

“NNTR means No Need to Respond,” Hocking explains. “It’s a twice-weekly email update to your boss to share your progress and your value at work. It’s a chance for you to share on your own terms what you’re working on and what you’ve accomplished.”

That kind of communication is more important than ever, she adds.

“Now, when you can’t necessarily have a water cooler conversation or stop by the boss’s office, it’s a chance for you to maintain contact and stay visible,” Hocking adds. “And we know how important these things are to your advancement at work.”

Even employees and employers who speak or message frequently can benefit from an NNRT Update.

“This is a great way to frame what you’re working on and for both of you to have a document to refer back to,” Hocking explains. “I also encourage [employees] to track of these updates, which will be especially helpful as they prepare to ask for a raise or promotion, or at performance evaluation time.”

The NNTR, she says, works well for her.

“I know for me it gives me a chance to help the staff member prioritize if there are too many things on their plate for that week or for me to ask for their help on additional projects.”

A continually updated Google sheet where team members input what they’ve worked on throughout the day is the way Jenny Massey, co-owner of Snowy Pines White Labs, manages work-from-home employees.

“We have certain goals that we are expected to hit each day, so when I look at their end-of-day log, I can ensure that they are getting the work done that they are required to do,” Massey reports. “Some days have better data than others, but if it all evens out and we hit our goals by the end of the month, I am happy with it.”

Jason Adwin, senior vice president of compensation and career strategies at Segal, actually believes COVID-19 has given managers the opportunity to change employee assessments for the better. He says the following tips “can help managers update their productivity measurement approaches to fit the times.”

  1. Increase interaction and feedback.
    To ensure employees aren’t blindsided during an end-of-year performance review, Adwin advises scheduling weekly or monthly video conference calls to discuss issues that tend to come up during those reviews. “When feedback is regular and consistent then it increases engagement and strengthens trust,” he says.
  2. Shift the scope to outcome-focused.
    “Create metrics to compare results monthly or quarterly so the conversation can become more about performance development rather than performance management,” Adwin suggests. “Add adaptability, teamwork collaboration, innovation and continuous learning assessments to the review as these skills are increasingly important in COVID times.”
  3. Adjust incentive plan metrics to match the uncertainty of business outcomes due to COVID-19.
    Segal, for example, created a framework to help employers strategically consider several questions: Should we readjust target incentives after a base salary reduction? Readjust 2020 incentive targets/goals? Change performance metrics? Change payout curves? Delay the payout of any incentive? Change the length of our performance cycle?
  4. Personalize the experience.
    “It’s the manager’s responsibility to create energy and drive culture via one-on-one coaching,” Adwin says. “Managers should align career development with goals that are clearly described and mutual, and map back to career progression.”These uncertain times require an understanding that not everyone is responding to pandemic in the same way. “Each employee may need a different type of incentive to improve their performance given how COVID-19 has affected their circumstances,” Adwin stresses.

Whatever the approach, it is important to keep employees’ privacy in mind — especially if you’re considering tapping technology to measure productivity.

Check out this article from the Harvard Business Review for more insight: “How to monitor your employees — while respecting their privacy.”

(Kathleen Furore is a Chicago-based writer and editor who has covered personal finance and other business-related topics for a variety of trade and consumer publications. You can email her your career questions at


Public Venture Capital: An Alternative Financing Option for U.S. Growth Companies

Hello… I’m Delilah Panio, Vice President of US Capital Formation for Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange. As a proud new member of the Austin Technology Council (ATC) and sponsor of the upcoming Leadership Dinner on August 18th, I am sharing a series of three articles on public venture capital, how to know if going public is the right fit for your company, and why the Canadian capital markets may be your stepping stone to a U.S. exchange. I hope you can join us on the 18th!

As a U.S. high growth company looking for funding, you are likely considering all capital raising options. While many tech entrepreneurs tend to only consider the traditional route – from angel investors to venture capital to being acquired – there are other options that may be a better fit for your company’s long term growth strategy.

With the resurgence of Special Purpose Acquisition Corps (SPACs) and increased amounts allowed under equity crowdfunding rules, there are now more financing options than ever, including the public markets. But with 218 IPOs completed in the U.S. year to date raising a total of US$80B, the average IPO is US$367M… not exactly early stage growth capital. (Source: Renaissance Capital as of July 13, 2021)

North of the border is a different story. The Canadian capital markets are unique in that TMX Group owns and operates a two-tiered marketplace serving companies from early stage pre-revenue companies on TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) to multi-billion dollar established businesses on Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). The idea of going public “early” may not be intuitive to most U.S. companies, but it is an important option worth considering.

TSX is the senior market for larger, more stable companies with a track record. The typical financings on TSX fall in the $50-$150M range and TSX listed companies have an average market cap of CDN$4.7B. These companies often benefit from increased analyst coverage and attracting large institutional investors in Canada and the U.S.

For smaller, early stage growth companies, TSXV is a unique platform that is tailored to companies of this size. TSXV provides financings typically in the $5-$25M range and TSXV issuers have an average market cap of CDN$65M.

Here is what has been happening on TSX and TSXV so far this year…

Breaking Records in the Innovation Sector

2020 was an unexpected and incredible year for financings and listings by innovation companies on TSX and TSXV. And Q1 2021 broke many records including:

  • Best Q1 for capital raised on TSX and TSXV in the last 15 years
  • Best Q1 for corporate IPOs on TSX in the last 15 years
  • All-time best quarter on TSX for the innovation sector IPOs and new listings

Q1 also provided some significant milestones:

  • TSX became the first market in the world to list Bitcoin exchange traded funds (ETFs) when the Purpose Bitcoin ETF began trading in February.
  • Telus International became the largest tech IPO in TSX history raising CDN$1B in February.
  • became the largest new innovation sector listing in TSXV history when it was spun out of Constellation Software in January.

Recent U.S. Activity on TSX and TSXV

In the last six months, several U.S. companies have listed and raised growth capital on TSX and TSXV (see chart below) representing diverse sectors. In financings YTD June 30, 2021, the 112 U.S. companies currently listed on TSX (50) and TSXV (62) raised a total of CDN$745M. Notably, Village Farms International Inc. (TSX:VFF) did the largest capital raise of CDN$172M.

Some recent U.S. highlights:

  • Based in North Carolina, Tantalus System Holdings (TSXV:GRID) provides smart grid solutions. It listed on TSXV in February 2021, raised CDN$10M, and quickly graduated to TSX, the senior market, in May.
  • The Real Brokerage Inc. (TSXV:REAX) (New York), a technology-powered real estate brokerage operating in 31 states, began trading on NASDAQ in June and is now dual-listed.
  • Two recent new listings in June connected to the U.S. were: Salona Global Medical Device Corporation (TSXV:SGMD), a San Diego-based acquisition-oriented medical device company; and Kovo Healthtech (TSXV:KOVO), based in Vancouver and Colorado and offers revenue cycle management services to digitally track and manage patient care.


YTD June 2021


  • HempFusion Wellness Inc.; TSX:CBD; Life Sciences (CBD)
  • Subversive Acquisition LP; TSX:SVX; SPAC (completed Qualifying Acquisition: InterCure Ltd in April 2021)
  • Tilray Inc.; TSX:TLRY; Life Sciences (cannabis)
  • Vintage Wine Estates, Inc.; TSX:VWE; Consumer Products (vineyard)
  • Tantalus System Holdings; TSX: GRID; Technology (smart grids)


  • Skylight Health Group Inc.; TSXV:SHG; Life Sciences (medical care services)
  • ProStar Holdings Inc.; TSXV:MAPS; Technology (mapping software)
  • PsyBio Therapeutics Corp.; TSXV:PSYB; Life Sciences (psychedelics)
  • Salona Global Medical Device; TSXV:SGMC; MedTech (acquisitions)

Access the list of al U.S. listings on TSX and TSXV at

For more information on public venture capital and exploring going public in Canada, contact Delilah Panio, VP of US Capital Formation, at or visit

This article is #1 of a three-part series for U.S. companies on TSX and TSXV. Stay tuned in the next few weeks for article #2 on “Going Public Considerations: Should I Be Taking My Company Public Now?”

* Unless otherwise noted, all data is sourced from the Market Intelligence Group of TMX Group as of June 30, 2021.

Copyright © 2021 TSX Inc. All rights reserved. Do not copy, distribute, sell or modify this document without TSX Inc.’s prior written consent. This information is provided for information purposes only. Neither TMX Group Limited nor any of its affiliated companies guarantees the completeness of the information contained in this article, and we are not responsible for any errors or omissions in or your use of, or reliance on, the information. This article is not intended to provide legal, accounting, tax, investment, financial or other advice and should not be relied upon for such advice. The information provided is not an invitation to purchase securities listed on Toronto Stock Exchange and/or TSX Venture Exchange. TMX Group and its affiliated companies do not endorse or recommend any securities referenced in this publication. Capital Pool Company, CPC, TMX, the TMX design, TMX Group, Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX, TSX Venture Exchange, TSXV, The Future is Yours to See., and Voir le futur. Réaliser l’avenir. are the trademarks of TSX Inc. All other trademarks used in this article are the property of their respective owners.

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