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 lead their companies to sale, IPO and market leadership. 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.

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.


Sort By
Buckland, Peter

Peter Buckland

Vice Chair, Corporate Practice Group

Co-Chair, Emerging Company Practice

+1 650 858 6036 (t)


Gammell, David

David D. Gammell

Co-Chair, Emerging Company Practice

+1 617 526 6839 (t)


Bain, Mick

Mick Bain

Co-Chair, Corporate Practice Group

+1 617 526 6158 (t)


Der Marderosian, Lia

Lia Der Marderosian

Co-Chair, Corporate Practice Group

+1 617 526 6982 (t)


Bain, Mick

Mick Bain


+1 617 526 6158 (t)


Bonnes, Andrew

Andrew Bonnes


+1 617 526 6136 (t)


Boot, Jeannette K.

Jeannette K. Boot


+1 212 295 6507 (t)


Borden, Mark G.

Mark G. Borden


+1 617 526 6675 (t)


Bothwick, Jay E.

Jay E. Bothwick


+1 617 526 6526 (t)


Braun, Martin

Dr. Martin Braun


+49 69 27 10 78 207 (t)


Brown, Lillian

Lillian Brown


+1 202 663 6743 (t)


Buckland, Peter

Peter Buckland


+1 650 858 6036 (t)


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 2016, we served as counsel in approximately 250 venture financings raising nearly $3 billion, including some of the largest and most prominent deals of the year. Since 2006, 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.


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
  • Spark Therapeutics in the closing of an underwritten public offering of common stock pursuant to an automatically effective shelf registration statement that was previously filed with the SEC
  • 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


August 14, 2017

Massachusetts Issues Proposed Regulations Requiring Remote Sellers to Collect Sales Tax

We previously reported to you that the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) had revoked Directive 17-1 requiring the collection of Massachusetts sales and use taxes by Internet vendors that meet certain sales thresholds in Massachusetts. The DOR has now issued proposed regulations substantially similar to Directive 17-1.

August 10, 2017

WilmerHale Represents Jebbit in Raising $6.8M Series A Investment

Jebbit, a Boston-based venture-backed startup that has built the world's first declared data platform, announced that it closed a $6.8 million Series A round to continue growing its declared data platform for enterprise companies.

August 8, 2017

UnifyID Raises $20M Series A Funding From NEA to Fuel Next Gen Authentication

UnifyID is leading the development of an implicit authentication platform that requires zero conscious user actions. The company announced that it has closed $20 million in Series A financing led by NEA.

August 4, 2017

SEC Confirms Certain ICOs Are Securities Offerings; Regulators Renew Focus on Cryptocurrencies

Participants and observers in cryptocurrency markets have long expected input from the SEC on the question of whether offerings of cryptocurrencies would be subject to the federal securities laws. On July 25, the SEC issued a Report of Investigation pursuant to Section 21(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 of its investigation of an offering of digital tokens by “The DAO,” an unincorporated virtual organization.

August 1, 2017

WilmerHale Reps ExecOnline in Securing $16 Million Series B Investment

ExecOnline announced that it secured a $16 million Series B investment round. The round was led by NewSpring Growth Capital, NewSpring Capital's dedicated growth and expansion stage fund.

July 27, 2017

WilmerHale Represents Kala Pharmaceuticals in $103.5 Million IPO

On July 25, 2017, Kala Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced the closing of its initial public offering of 6,900,000 shares of common stock, including the underwriters' exercise in full of their option to purchase an additional 900,000 shares, at the public offering price of $15.00 per share.

July 24, 2017

WilmerHale Represents Trevi Therapeutics in Securing $50M in Series C Financing

The WilmerHale deal team counseling Trevi Therapeutics was led by Stuart Falber and included Sam Rothberg and Cara Fonseca.

July 20, 2017

LMG Life Sciences Recognizes WilmerHale in 13 Categories on 2017 Award Shortlist

In its annual recognition of the top law firms, lawyers and in-house counsel in the life sciences industry, LMG Life Sciences named WilmerHale to its 2017 award shortlist in 13 categories.

July 14, 2017

WilmerHale Represents Stash in Securing $40M in Series C Funding

Stash, a financial technology platform revolutionizing investment and financial literacy across the US, announced that it has raised $40 million in Series C funding.

July 11, 2017

Massachusetts Revokes Directive Requiring Remote Sellers to Collect Sales Tax

On June 28, 2017, the Massachusetts Superior Court issued a declaratory judgment ruling that Directive 17-1 was invalid because the DOR had not followed the notice and comment procedures applicable to agency regulations under the Massachusetts Administrative Procedure Act, M.G.L. c. 30A.

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.