Venture Capital & Technology

At Phillips Lytle, we know entrepreneurs need capital, investors need returns and universities need to partner with companies to promote their technology. And we know all of these groups need well-versed attorneys with the experience and connections to put together profitable deals. That’s where we can help. Through experience and relationships built over time, we know how entrepreneurs think and are able to identify the opportunities investors will consider worthwhile. Our Venture Capital & Technology Team has the tools needed for success in this competitive field.

Phillips Lytle has been bringing entrepreneurs and investors together for more than 180 years. We’ve been working with founders, investors, bankers and business people since before the days of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison. We’ve grown alongside the technologies that have revolutionized the world and have helped to bring great wealth to the entrepreneurs that harnessed them, and to the investors whose capital enabled those technologies to be brought to market.

Today’s opportunities lie in artificial intelligence; machine learning; robotics; virtual reality; augmented reality; the Internet of Things; 3D printing, scanning and imaging; big data analytics; platform technologies; mobile commerce; autonomous vehicle technologies; genes; chips; atoms; alternative energy; green initiatives; and other new technologies and business models. Phillips Lytle works with startups, emerging growth companies, venture capital and private equity funds, venture lenders, educational institutions and corporate research departments. We bring these groups together through a practical and cost-effective approach that makes good business sense for all parties involved. Whether working for the inventor or the investor, our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to ease the tension between entrepreneurs who want to protect their ventures, and stakeholders who want to protect their investments, by designing agreements that strike a balance between control and security.

Our Venture Capital & Technology Team is comprised of multidisciplinary attorneys with deep domain expertise in corporate and securities law, private placements, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, licensing, sales, distribution and other commercial arrangements, employment and executive compensation, and credit arrangements. Our attorneys also start with the end goal in mind by counseling business owners on a variety of issues related to corporate law, business succession planning, corporate trusts and estate administration, and taxes.

Our attorneys are experienced in venture capital funding and all types of private equity and venture structures. We work on seed (including Series seed) and Series A, B and C round financing, venture lending and strategic exits. We have bench strength working on all types of technology company financings and associated merger and acquisition transactions.

Our Venture Capital & Technology Team serves clients in many industries, from mobile commerce and SaaS and Platform companies, to hardware, fintech, robotics, sports and entertainment, digital health and life sciences.

Our attorneys often act as outside general counsel to clients, advising on technology transactions, corporate governance, IP licensing and strategy, employment law, compensation, and corporate benefit and tax issues.

Collectively, the members of our team write and lecture extensively on the topics of venture capital and angel investing to national and local groups, as well as undergraduate and graduate student entrepreneurs. Our attorneys regularly serve as mentors to start-up founders entering business plan competitions such as 43North. We host Canadian entrants to the U.S. marketplace in our NYC landing pad as part of our relationship with the Communitech Hub and have an office in Canada dedicated to helping startups enter the U.S. marketplace. We also host the NYC branch of Access Silicon Valley, which guides and mentors various start-up founders. We are actively part of the start-up founders’ and investors’ ecosystems in all of the firm’s offices – from Buffalo and Albany to Washington, DC. We work on deals from all across the U.S., from NYC to Chicago to Silicon Valley, and guide foreign clients from all over the world – from Israel to Europe, Asia and Latin America – as they enter the U.S. marketplace.

HELPING FOUNDERS IDENTIFY INVESTORS AND GET TO THEIR EXITS

On the start-up side, good business ideas require funding in order to grow into good business ventures, but angel and institutional investors are looking for more than good ideas. They want a strong management team that can execute a well thought-out business plan that reflects a strong understanding of market trends and needs. They also want a realistic exit strategy that will give them a reasonable time frame to collect a return on their investment.

Phillips Lytle represents companies of all sizes, from startups to mature companies doing multimillion-dollar financings. We guide founders and startups through the negotiation process so that they do not give away too much equity or control, nor discourage early stage investors by being unreasonably demanding. We advise startups on how to best structure their entities in light of their long-term goals.

Emerging companies on their second or third round of financing may attract the eyes of venture capitalists or private equity funds. Institutional venture capital funds are looking for the next big investment opportunity in private technology companies, as are non-traditional start-up investors such as family offices, private equity funds, hedge funds and even sovereign wealth funds. We advise these technology clients that are looking for investors on the pros and cons of various equity plays and their options in light of market conditions and their long-term goals. We then help them negotiate the most favorable terms available from institutional investors.

Mature private companies may be ready for an initial public offering, merger or acquisition. The complexity of these arrangements, and fundamental changes they will bring about, require thorough consideration. Phillips Lytle leads its entrepreneurial clients through an extensive risk/reward analysis and all facets of a transaction – from due diligence to closing.

GUIDING INVESTORS

On the investor side, Phillips Lytle’s Venture Capital & Technology attorneys advise investors and their funds and help them find companies in which to invest. We also counsel them on the business of investing, negotiate terms on their behalf and vigorously protect their interests in the ventures that receive their money.

Investment risks are not limited to projected returns. Venture funds are businesses that face legal exposure, employment issues and stringent compliance standards. They also pay taxes and need advice on the consequences of various business practices and entity structures. Phillips Lytle offers a full array of business and corporate attorneys to advise institutional investors on all aspects of their operations, and we back that knowledge with a powerful team of trial attorneys and litigators should the need arise to enforce our clients’ interests.

PROTECTING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Our intellectual property and patent expertise runs far and wide. Our attorneys have extensive experience in prosecuting domestic patent applications in virtually all technical disciplines, and they regularly file and prosecute foreign patent applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty and European Patent Convention. We have strong working relationships with 191 international law firms in 79 countries. We also file and process domestic and foreign trademark applications, allowing us to economically and efficiently obtain worldwide protection for our clients. Our attorneys are members of various intellectual property trade associations, including the intellectual property sections of the New York State and American Bar Associations.

OPERATING, HIRING, GROWING AND EXPANDING OPERATIONS

We guide companies as they go through their growing pains and try to relieve the pain points. Whether we are advising companies on warrant issues, board governance issues, employee stock options and other equity incentive plans; negotiating executive employment agreements; or dealing or drafting customer agreements, our multidisciplinary attorneys advise on all facets of a company’s general day-to-day needs.

Venture Capital & Technology