WilmerHale’s emerging company team hosted promising entrepreneurs from the East Coast at the firm’s first Harvard Tech Startup Night, which drew roughly 100 entrepreneurs, investors and other tech industry players to the Palo Alto office.
Six startups with Harvard roots made formal financing pitches at the event, which WilmerHale hosted in partnership with Harvard’s Office of Technology Development (OTD). Two of the startups, Hyperlight and RightHand Robotics, are WilmerHale clients.
WilmerHale Partner Peter Buckland and OTD Executive Director Sam Liss offered welcome remarks, and Jonathan Zittrain, faculty director of Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, gave a keynote on the potential and risk inherent in artificial intelligence and other transformative technologies.
The night provided an opportunity for promising entrepreneurs based in the Northeast to strengthen their connections with legal counsel, investors and other startups in the heart of Silicon Valley.
These connections are already paying off, according to Harvard Magazine: one of the six featured startups, Aliro—a brand-new company developing “software for emerging cloud-based quantum computing platforms”—is near to closing a seed financing round as a result of the event. “Liss said there had been frequent conversations and exchanges since the gathering, which he judged successful already, based on the contacts made there,” the magazine reported.
“We’re always proud to play a role in the growth of such innovative young companies,” says Buckland, who co-chairs WilmerHale’s Emerging Company and Venture Capital Practice and has worked closely with many technology startups throughout their lifecycle.
Partner William Lee, the senior fellow of Harvard Corporation who has litigated some of the most prominent intellectual property disputes between technology companies, played an instrumental role in setting up the event.
“We appreciated this opportunity to roll out the red carpet for our East Coast friends,” says Lee, “and we hope to host more of them in our West Coast offices at future events.”
(Partner Peter Buckland welcomes the crowd at Harvard Tech Startup Night.)