Emerging Company and Venture Capital
We work with founders to properly set up their companies; review business plans and identify 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 robotics, big data, biotechnology, cybersecurity, digital health, energy, fintech, hardware and software, medical devices, and mobile technology amongst others.
In addition to our corporate experience, we are able to tap into the deep knowledge of the more than 120 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 any of these sectors.
WilmerHale represents both venture-backed companies and venture capital firms in industries such as artificial intelligence and robotics, big data, biotechnology, cybersecurity, digital health, energy, fintech, hardware and software, medical devices and mobile technology amongst 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 on behalf of investors. 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 in both corporate and intellectual property issues 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.
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 legal expenses cost-effectively using technology solutions 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.
The Road to IPO Legal and Regulatory Insights into Going Public
Representing investors such as Advanced Technology Ventures, Atlas Venture, Flagship Pioneering, Matrix Partners, New Leaf Ventures, North Bridge Venture Partners, Spark Capital, Sofinnova Ventures and many others in venture financings.
Represented Stash, a financial technology platform revolutionizing investment and financial literacy across the US, in its $40 million in Series C and $37.5 million Series D financings.
Represented Generation Bio, a company developing the first genetic medicines that can be titrated to effect and re-dosed for a lifetime of benefit, in a $100 million Series B financing. Proceeds will be used to move its first two therapeutic candidates through Investigational New Drug enabling studies. We also previously advised the company in its $25 million Series A financing.
Represented Andela—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 $40 million Series C. The round was led by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a for-profit entity formed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. We also represented the company in its $24 million Series B funding round.
Represented Visterra, a clinical-stage biotechnology company that uses its novel Hierotope platform to identify unique disease targets and to design and engineer precision antibody-based biological medicines against them, in its $46.7 million Series C financing round, including a new extension totaling $23.6 million.
Represented 1366 Technologies, a developer of manufacturing solutions for silicon cell manufacturers, in its $9 million in Series D funding from strategic partners and return investors. The new funding will be used to further their scaling plans and brings them closer to realizing their vision for the future where solar energy displaces coal as the cheapest fuel source on the planet.
Represented Fulcrum Therapeutics, a company focused on unlocking gene control mechanisms to develop small molecule therapies, in its launch and $55 million Series A financing; in May 2017, we represented Fulcrum in securing additional Series A funding from Google Ventures to support the continued advancement of its lead programs in Fragile X syndrome and Fascioscapularhumeral muscular dystrophy.
Represented UnifyID, a company leading the development of an implicit authentication platform that requires zero conscious user actions, in its $20 million Series A led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA). Investors Andreessen Horowitz, Stanford-StartX and Accomplice Ventures previously invested in the company’s seed round, bringing the total invested to $23.4 million. This latest round of funding will be used to grow the team to expand enterprise trials, accelerate research and maintain the company’s position as the leader in implicit authentication and behavioral biometrics.
Represented UNTUCKit, a leading direct-to-consumer apparel brand, in a $30.0 million fundraising round led by Kleiner Perkins. UNTUCKit will use this funding to open 15 new stores, expand its women’s line and launch children’s apparel. According to sources, the deal values the company at around $200 million.
Represented Hyalax Orthopaedics, a medical device company advancing new products that feature HYALEX™ technology, a synthetic polymer that mimics cartilage, in a $16 million Series A financing.
Represented Trevi Therapeutics, a late-stage clinical development company focused on treatments for chronic itch, in its $50 million Series C financing led by New Enterprise Associates. The company plans to use the proceeds from the financing to advance the development of Nalbuphine ER, a drug with a dual agonist/antagonist mechanism of action uniquely suited to treating itch associated in various dermatologic, metabolic, hematologic and neuropathic conditions.
Represented Bark & Co., the company behind BarkBox, in raising $60 million in new funding.
Represented Civis Analytics, a leader in data science software and services, in its $22.0 million Series A financing led by Drive Capital with participation from Verizon Ventures, WPP and Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Alphabet, Inc.
Represented Cape Analytics in its $14.0 million Series A financing, with participation from Formation 8, XL Innovate, Data Collective, Lux Capital, Khosla Ventures, Promus Ventures and Montage Ventures. The company uses computer vision and machine learning to improve automated property underwriting for insurance companies.
Represented Daily Muse, an online career resource targeting millennials, with more than 50 million users per year, in a $16 million Series B led by Icon Ventures. With this fresh capital infusion, in addition to expanding into new markets, The Muse will further scale the business across employer product suites, career advice tools, and the company's recently launched professional development platform.
Represented 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.
Recognized as a Top Firm in the Nation for Startups & Emerging Companies
Recommended for Venture Capital and Emerging Companies
The Legal 500 United States
Named a Leading Law Firm for Venture Capital Law
U.S. News - Best Lawyers®
- American Lawyer – The 2017 Corporate Scorecard report ranked WilmerHale among the top five law firms handling IPOs for issuers based on the number of transactions in 2016.
- Best Lawyers in America – Recognized 107 WilmerHale partners for 2018, naming nine as “Lawyers of the Year,” including Steve Singer as New York Corporate Law Lawyer of the Year, David Westenberg as Boston Technology Law Lawyer of the Year and Jonathan Wolfman as Corporate Governance Law Lawyer of the Year.
- Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business – Named our corporate practice among the best in 2012-2018, with sources saying that WilmerHale provides “excellent service and quality advice and representation” and is “very knowledgeable” with “a deep wealth of information on matters impacting rapidly growing venture-backed startups.” The 2018 edition of Chambers USA also ranked WilmerHale in the following regions and practices: Massachusetts and Washington DC for Corporate/M&A; Nationwide for Startups & Emerging Companies; and Massachusetts for Private Equity: Venture Capital Investment and Technology.
- Corporate Board Member – In 2014 and 2016, WilmerHale was named to Top National Corporate Law Firms list, a comprehensive ranking of the top 25 firms in the nation. Results are based on law firm surveys and feedback from thousands of directors and general counsels.
- Lake Whillans – The Life Sciences Law Firm Index included WilmerHale among the top three best life sciences law firms (2016, 2017), as the top firm for startup work (2017), among the top 10 deal firms (2017), the top two patent law firms (2016) and top 10 firms for thought leadership (2016).
- Law360 – Named WilmerHale a Technology Practice Group of the Year for 2016 and 2017, an award recognizing the firm’s key role in the significant matters that made headlines and changed the legal landscape within the past year.
- Super Lawyers – Our corporate lawyers are consistently recognized as “Super Lawyers” and “Rising Stars” in multiple jurisdictions.
- The Legal 500 United States – Recommended WilmerHale’s mergers and acquisitions practice in the areas of antitrust, commercial deals and contracts, M&A middle-market, and venture capital and emerging companies in their 2010-2017 editions.
- U.S. News - Best Lawyers® – In the 2010-2017 “Best Law Firms” rankings, our corporate law, mergers and acquisitions and venture capital law practices were ranked in the first-tier nationally and in Boston, along with our corporate law practice also being ranked in the first-tier in New York and Washington DC. Our technology law practice was also ranked in the first-tier in Boston and in the second-tier nationally.