We live in a sharing society, which seems to be divided by generational lines that dictate your level of privacy. At 30 and under, you likely share virtually everything about yourself online. Older than that, you probably guard your privacy more. Interestingly, there are companies that look at their internal confidentiality the same way. Some startups will not share anything about their plans for years –preferring to stay in stealth mode, while others start tweeting their plans from the moment they get the idea, through funding and potential IPO.
The one thing both sides have in common, however, is the need to confidentially share trade secrets with some people. In other words, when you are seeking support for your idea, you want to ensure your potential partners and hires keep the secret until the time is right.
This gets us to the non-disclosure agreement or NDA. At some point, every company runs into situations where they need to sign or produce them, which involves going to your legal team or hiring an outside attorney, if you are too small to have a team. You could always use the last one you came across and modify it accordingly, but who knows if that is the best way to go about ensuring your trade secrets aren’t shared improperly.
Then there is the challenge of managing it all. Has it expired? What are you obligated to keep secret? For how much longer? Who in the company is allowed to sign it? Where do you store it once it’s signed? In a recent conversation, Crick Waters (News - Alert), co-founder of EasyNDA, explained to me the idea to launch this company came about because he himself needed to deal with the challenge of making and sending out NDAs. Now, he says, the company’s SaaS (News - Alert)-based platform gives small companies the ability to quickly produce NDAs and lets large companies deal with the complexity of knowing what NDAs have been distributed and signed – and of course to whom.
In addition, there is mobile-support allowing two people at a lunch to quickly agree to and sign an NDA with their fingers on a smartphone.
The main benefit of automation is not just NDA-management but the lubrication of business. Currently, if you want an NDA signed before you share an idea, you have to take potentially a few days to deal with the production and signing of the document. With a “standard purpose” NDA from EasyNDA, both parties will feel generally confident that the wording won’t take away their first-born child and will hopefully sign without much thought. This should allow more focus on business and less on legalese. Moreover, since information is stored in the cloud, the rest of the people in each organization will be aware of the new development.
While there are expensive systems on the market to handle things like this for mega-corporations, the target audience here is the small to medium-sized business.
For now, the service is available for free but, going forward, you will still be able to use the system at no cost to receive, execute and store NDAs. Otherwise, to produce and send EasyNDAs, you can purchase an individual subscription for $4/month, $19/month for a team of six or $79/month for a team of 25. The latter plan allows you to also use your own NDA if you so choose.
Edited by Maurice Nagle