Emerging Company and Venture Capital TRANSACTIONAL

Helping clients launch their businesses and transform their innovative ideas into successful companies.


WilmerHale's nationally recognized Emerging Company and Venture Capital Practice has helped thousands of entrepreneurs successfully launch their businesses; raise billions in angel, venture and strategic financing; and guide their companies to market leadership through IPOs and M&A transactions. We have a longstanding tradition of representing innovators, entrepreneurs and investors across a wide range of industries. We offer solution-focused, strategic advice and an indispensable business perspective that is critical to our clients' success. Our team-oriented approach to service gives clients the flexibility to call on a number of experienced lawyers at any time, including our more than 100 dedicated corporate lawyers located in the most active startup markets across the United States. U.S. News - Best Lawyers defines our practice as “a top notch group with smart and practical lawyers who know how to complete deals,” and clients say that “WilmerHale is excellent” and “very attentive and responsive, putting the interest of the venture always first.”

Drawing on WilmerHale's extensive experience, the firm developed WilmerHaleLaunch.com to provide insightful and practical information about topics relevant to the development of a company. Our corporate capabilities are bolstered by our experience in a variety of practice areas—from intellectual property and labor and employment to tax, litigation, regulatory issues and beyond.

Through our QuickLaunch Program, our lawyers help entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses, and because of our extensive lifecycle experience we are able to provide startups with innovative, business-oriented solutions.

Helping clients launch their businesses and transform their innovative ideas into successful companies.


WilmerHale's nationally recognized Emerging Company and Venture Capital Practice has helped thousands of entrepreneurs successfully launch their businesses; raise billions in angel, venture and strategic financing; and guide their companies to market leadership through IPOs and M&A transactions. We have a longstanding tradition of representing innovators, entrepreneurs and investors across a wide range of industries. We offer solution-focused, strategic advice and an indispensable business perspective that is critical to our clients' success. Our team-oriented approach to service gives clients the flexibility to call on a number of experienced lawyers at any time, including our more than 100 dedicated corporate lawyers located in the most active startup markets across the United States. U.S. News - Best Lawyers defines our practice as “a top notch group with smart and practical lawyers who know how to complete deals,” and clients say that “WilmerHale is excellent” and “very attentive and responsive, putting the interest of the venture always first.”

Drawing on WilmerHale's extensive experience, the firm developed WilmerHaleLaunch.com to provide insightful and practical information about topics relevant to the development of a company. Our corporate capabilities are bolstered by our experience in a variety of practice areas—from intellectual property and labor and employment to tax, litigation, regulatory issues and beyond.

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Contacts

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Buckland, Peter

Peter Buckland

Vice Chair, Corporate Practice Group

Co-Chair, Emerging Company Practice

+1 650 858 6036 (t)

peter.buckland@wilmerhale.com

Gammell, David

David D. Gammell

Co-Chair, Emerging Company and Venture Capital Practice

+1 617 526 6839 (t)

david.gammell@wilmerhale.com

Bain, Mick

Mick Bain

Co-Chair, Corporate Practice Group

+1 617 526 6158 (t)

michael.bain@wilmerhale.com

Der Marderosian, Lia

Lia Der Marderosian

Co-Chair, Corporate Practice Group

+1 617 526 6982 (t)

lia.dermarderosian@wilmerhale.com

Bain, Mick

Mick Bain

Partner

+1 617 526 6158 (t)

michael.bain@wilmerhale.com

Bonnes, Andrew

Andrew Bonnes

Partner

+1 617 526 6136 (t)

andrew.bonnes@wilmerhale.com

Boot, Jeannette K.

Jeannette K. Boot

Partner

+1 212 295 6507 (t)

jeannette.boot@wilmerhale.com

Borden, Mark G.

Mark G. Borden

Partner

+1 617 526 6675 (t)

mark.borden@wilmerhale.com

Bothwick, Jay E.

Jay E. Bothwick

Partner

+1 617 526 6526 (t)

jay.bothwick@wilmerhale.com

Braun, Martin

Dr. Martin Braun

Partner

+49 69 27 10 78 207 (t)

martin.braun@wilmerhale.com

Brown, Lillian

Lillian Brown

Partner

+1 202 663 6743 (t)

lillian.brown@wilmerhale.com

Buckland, Peter

Peter Buckland

Partner

+1 650 858 6036 (t)

peter.buckland@wilmerhale.com

Emerging Company

We work with founders to properly set up their companies; review business plans and identify companies' key strengths and weaknesses before approaching financing sources; license core technology; develop strategies to obtain funding and negotiate terms for initial and later-stage financings; prepare and implement key agreements with management, employees, consultants and advisors; design equity incentive plans; and advise clients on how best to achieve liquidity. We also attend board meetings and offer strategic advice and counseling on important business decisions, as well as guidance on forming and running an effective board of directors and board of advisors.

Our lawyers represent a variety of life sciences and technology companies, including those in industries such as:

  • artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • big data
  • biotechnology
  • clean technology
  • consumer internet
  • cybersecurity
  • digital media, marketing and sales
  • energy
  • FinTech
  • hardware
  • healthcare
  • material science
  • medical device
  • mobile technology
  • robotics
  • software

In addition to our corporate experience, we are able to tap into the deep knowledge of our attorneys who hold degrees in a variety of technical and scientific fields. As a result, we have a sophisticated understanding of the important technical and intellectual property issues facing companies in these sectors.

Venture Capital

WilmerHale represents both venture-backed companies and venture capital firms in industries such as big data and data analytics, software as a service, FinTech, digital media, cybersecurity, semiconductors and electronics, telecommunications, life sciences, biotechnology, medical devices and many others. We are counsel to more venture-backed companies in the eastern half of the United States than any other law firm in the country, and have a growing presence on the West Coast and in the European and Israeli venture capital communities.

Our extensive experience with emerging companies allows us to efficiently manage standard venture capital financings and effectively navigate more complex transactions. In 2017, we served as counsel in more than 250 venture financings raising over $4.5 billion, including some of the largest and most prominent deals of the year. Since 2007, we have handled more than 2,800 venture financings with total proceeds in excess of $35 billion.

We have represented venture capitalists for more than five decades and have assisted some of the earliest venture capital firms in their initial investments. Today, we represent many premier venture capital firms in portfolio investments.

Our practical, problem-solving approach and our collective experience, which comprises the insights of more than 120 lawyers with technical and scientific degrees, enable us to cost-effectively protect investors' interests. As a result, we can conduct sophisticated due diligence—including landscape analyses of competitors' patents, clearance studies and patent portfolio audits—and provide opinions and advice regarding patentability, infringement, validity and freedom to operate.

WilmerHale represents numerous venture capital funds, hedge funds, real estate investment partnerships, REITs and other investment entities in connection with all aspects of their organization, management, operation and regulatory compliance. Our fund clients also draw on the extensive resources of our corporate, litigation, private client, tax and other practices for their investment activities and internal management and administration needs.

Transactions

We have represented:

  • Accion Systems, a space technology startup led by MIT graduates, in raising $7.5 million in Series A funding
  • Altiostar Networks, a company providing solutions for the mobile broadband industry, in its $60 million venture capital financing
  • Andela Inc., a startup that identifies the most talented individuals in Africa, shapes them into world-class developers and pairs them with the world's leading tech companies, in its $24 million Series B funding round
  • Aushon BioSystems, a global provider of protein biomarket measurement and analysis products and services, in its initial closing of a $6.14 million Series C financing
  • Bark & Co., the company behind BarkBox, in raising $60 million in new funding
  • Blue Apron, a meal delivery service that provides customers with pre-portioned meals, in its $135 million fourth round financing
  • Civis Analytics, a leader in data science software and services, in its $22 million Series A funding round
  • Dedrone, an automated software-based drone detection platform, in its $10 million Series A funding and $15 million Series B funding
  • Kala Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing innovative ophthalmic products, in the closing of a $68 million Series C preferred stock financing
  • Kite Hill, a brand that makes plant-based cheeses, yogurts, cream cheese-style spreads and other dairy analogue products, in an $18 million funding round
  • Nearpod, an education tech startup, in its $21 million Series B funding round
  • Quilt, a venture offering self-service online insurance products, in raising $3.25 million in seed funding
  • Soft Robotics, a robotics company designing pneumatic grippers and control systems to automate bin picking, order fulfillment and other material handling tasks, in its initial $3 million tranche of its Series A financing
  • The Muse, an online career resource, in the closing of a $16 million round of financing
  • TransMedics, Inc., a medical technology company dedicated to improving quality, assessing viability and increasing the utilization of donor organs for transplantation, in its closing of $51.2 million growth equity financing
  • UNTUCKit, a leading direct-to-consumer apparel brand, in raising $30 million in new funding
  • WorkMarket, an online platform and marketplace for businesses to manage consultants, in the closing of a $25 million Series D financing
  • Zaius, a CRM built for the scale and velocity of business-to-consumer markets, in its closing of an $8 million investment

In addition, we represent investors such as Advanced Technology Ventures, Atlas Venture, Clarus Ventures, Flagship Ventures, Matrix Partners, MPM Capital, New Leaf Ventures, North Bridge Venture Partners, Spark Capital, Sofinnova Ventures and many others.

Publications & News

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April 13, 2018

WilmerHale Counsels Zaius in $30M Series B Funding

On April 12, 2018, Zaius, the CRM built for B2C marketers, announced it raised $30 million in a Series B investment round led by Insight Venture Partners. Previous investors Matrix Partners, Underscore VC and Leaders Fund also participated in the round, bringing its total funding to $50.8 million.

April 12, 2018

You’ve Signed a Term Sheet for Your First Equity Financing. Congratulations! … Now What?

Gary Schall, in this article published by The Recorder, shares six critical steps founders can take to forge a strong and open relationship with their new business partners.

April 9, 2018

WilmerHale Counsels DriveWealth in $21M Series B Funding

On April 3, 2018, DriveWealth Holdings, Inc., a company founded to democratize investing in the US stock market through a technology that modernizes and simplifies financial services, announced the closing of a $21 million Series B investment.

April 6, 2018

Standardized Term Sheets May Not Protect Your Interests

An article by Joshua Fox, published by Law360, focusing on standardized term sheets and how they may inadvertently gloss over or neglect issues that can be critical to founders' long-term success.

March 30, 2018

Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act: Due Date Nears

As the April 1, 2018 effective date nears, we wanted to take the opportunity to remind Massachusetts employers of their obligations under the new Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

March 23, 2018

WilmerHale Counsels BNP Paribas in Leading $30 Million Funding Round

Digital Reasoning, a leading artificial intelligence company, announced it has raised $30 million in new funding. International bank BNP Paribas led the funding round and its Global Head of Strategic Investments has joined Digital Reasoning's Board of Directors.

March 23, 2018

Founders, Pay Attention to This Stuff—Not the Stock Market

An article by Daniel Zimmermann, published by Xconomy. The article discusses information that entrepreneurs should follow and what they can safely dismiss.

March 21, 2018

Selected 2018 Venture Financings As Company Counsel

In 2017, we served as counsel in more than 250 venture financings raising over $4.5 billion, including some of the largest and most prominent deals of the year. Since 2007, we have handled more than 2,800 venture financings with total proceeds in excess of $35 billion.

March 15, 2018

WilmerHale Represents Behavioral Biometrics Leader BioCatch in Closing $30M New Investment

BioCatch, a global leader in behavioral biometrics, announced that it has closed a $30 million financing round, cementing its growth plan and vision to redefine digital identity and enable renewed trust in online interactions.

March 14, 2018

WilmerHale Counsels Commonwealth Fusion Systems in Collaboration with MIT

Commonwealth Fusion Systems, a private company dedicated to commercializing fusion energy, will join the MIT Energy Initiative as part of a new university-industry partnership.

Events

April 24, 2018

MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge: Get Smart on Term Sheets

Boston, Massachusetts

April 13, 2018

IdeaStream 2018

Cambridge, Massachusetts

April 11, 2018

Inside Startup Fundraising Panel - SF 2018

San Francisco, California

April 10, 2018

QuickLaunch University Webinar: Term Sheet Basics and Negotiation Tips

Webinar

March 22, 2018

Underscore.VC Blockchain Core Summit and Meetup

Boston, Massachusetts

March 8, 2018

Blockchain Startups and the SEC

Palo Alto, California

March 1, 2018

QuickLaunch University Webinar—Legal Landscape Update: The Future of ICOs and Cryptocurrencies

Webinar

February 21, 2018

NVCA Industry Vertical Event Series: ICO/Cryptocurrency

San Francisco, California

February 20, 2018

MIT $100K Accelerate Finale

Cambridge, Massachusetts

February 9, 2018

MIT Venture Capital + Innovation Conference – 20th Anniversary

Cambridge, Massachusetts

2017 Reports

WilmerHale's annual IPO, Venture Capital and M&A Reports offer insights into market conditions and provide comprehensive statistics and analysis that are hard to find elsewhere.

Our 2017 IPO Report offers a detailed IPO market review and outlook, plus useful market metrics and articles on topics of interest, including:

  • Rates of adoption of JOBS Act relief by emerging growth companies
  • The potential impact of the new presidential administration on policy and direction at the US Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Changes in the IPO process over the past two decades
  • The growing divide between the governance practices of IPO companies and established public companies
  • The profusion of recommended corporate governance best practices public companies are under pressure to adopt in the current environment
  • Multi-class capital structures
  • Tips for living with the IPO “quiet period”
  • New Securities Act exemptions that have expanded the pre-IPO financing toolkit
  • Post-IPO financing alternatives
  • The challenges and benefits of pursuing a dual track to liquidity

The 2017 Venture Capital Report offers an in-depth US venture capital market review and outlook, including industry and regional breakdowns, as well as a look at the following issues:

  • Steps startups should take now if they plan to secure a Series A round in 2017
  • Common structures for management carve-out plans
  • Best practices for private companies setting option exercise prices
  • The benefits of investing in qualified small business stock
  • Trends in venture capital financing terms, convertible debt terms and VC-backed company M&A deal terms

Our 2017 M&A Report provides a detailed global M&A market review and outlook, as well as insights on the following topics:

  • Takeover defenses for public companies
  • Key lessons for buyers and sellers considering earnouts
  • Recent developments in merger control regulation
  • Common interest privilege protection among deal parties
  • Special considerations in California M&A deals
  • Acquisition financial statement requirements for IPO companies
  • A comparison of deal terms in public and private acquisitions
  • Key terms and issues in sales of VC-backed companies

Each report also includes a center spread showcasing prominent recent transactions in each area and company counsel rankings from independent sources showing WilmerHale's preeminence as counsel in IPOs, VC financings and sales of VC-backed companies.

To request copies, contact the WilmerHale Client Development Department or call +1 617 526 5600. 

QuickLaunch Program

WilmerHale's QuickLaunch Program is a platform for qualified startups and entrepreneurs to receive the critical guidance and legal advice they need to get off the ground and gain a competitive advantage. QuickLaunch members have access to a community of like-minded entrepreneurs who face many of the same challenges related to their new ventures.

Additional benefits include: 

  • introductions to venture capitalists, angels and other investors;
  • access to potential recruits, mentors, advisors and preferred providers;
  • an audience of peers and influencers to help refine and promote your startup;
  • invitations to our private QuickLaunch events in Boston, New York and Silicon Valley;
  • legal guidance on everything from company formation, expansion and patent protection to securing financing and exit strategies; and
  • the ability to manage costs through free services and deferred, fixed and/or discounted rates.

Through the QuickLaunch Program, our lawyers leverage their institutional knowledge and deep experience to deliver services on a responsive and efficient basis.

Contact us to learn more.