The High-touch Legal Services® Blog…for Startups!

© 2009-2017 Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law

WSJ: VCs Reducing Appetite for Risk

WSJ.com logo

In an article published today (Venture Capital to Suppress Its Appetite for Risk in 2013), the Wall Street Journal reports that venture capitalists have dramatically lowered their appetite for risk, reducing the power of Internet entrepreneurs who are seeking funding.

The article notes that:

  • In light of disappointing stock-market performance of Facebook, Zynga and Groupon, VCs are investing less in consumer Internet companies.
  • During the past year, valuations have gone down significantly.
  • On a quarter-over-quarter basis, the number of deals, the amount invested and the percentage of “up” rounds all have declined.

(more…)

Why You Shouldn’t Use a Finder to Find Venture Capital

Picture of a compass (for determining direction based on magnetic North)

I recently spoke with three startup entrepreneurs who had just retained a finder to locate venture capital in exchange for an equity stake in the form of warrants (the right to purchase shares at a specified price by a specified date). They got very nervous when, after reading their agreement with the finder, I told them the business and legal reasons why retaining the finder was a bad idea: (more…)

In which State should My Startup Incorporate?

Quora logo

This post about the state in which a startup should incorporate brings together points I have made in earlier posts (please see below) and is based on a comment I made on another Quora participant’s answer.

I admit to having a point of view that differs from that of many other lawyers. However, as explained toward the end of this post, my point of view results directly from the types of clients that I serve.

(more…)

I Think the Recession is Over

Fireworks against a nighttime sky

There are two reasons why I now think the recession is over. First, within the past two weeks several clients have seen a dramatic increase in investor / acquisition interest:

  • A client that has been offering secure-communication software for six years found fundraising very difficult one year ago. Now it is being chased by four VCs (and may spurn them all for a super-angel investor).
  • A client that developed a superior e-commerce solution two years ago received a mid-seven-figure acquisition offer from a well-known software company – and immediately rejected the offer, having talked to an investor who said he would give the client a substantially higher valuation.
  • A year-old life sciences company that hasn’t even completed development of its intellectual property – but which has a great underlying technology – is about to receive a low-seven-figures VC investment after putting little time and energy into fundraising.

(more…)

WSJ: Lots of Money for Social Startups

WSJ.com logo

In an article published yesterday (“Money Rushes Into Social Start-Ups”), the Wall Street Journal reported that VCs are investing in companies that are taking social networking from computers to mobile phones. The rationale, according to the article (emphasis added):

Behind the spurt of new services is also the idea that the phone, carried by people at all times, can reinvent the notion of a social network by sharing more real-time information about where people are, what they’re seeing and even who they’re around.

Other points made in the article: (more…)

Do VCs care where my company is incorporated?

Several weeks ago, a first-time entrepreneur called. He had read that venture capitalists prefer investing in Delaware corporations, and he sought my input on the subject.

I replied that, in my experience, incorporation either here in California or in Delaware is fine. Then I started wondering why what the entrepreneur read differed from what I had experienced.

I did some research and conducted an informal survey of a few VCs. Here are my tentative conclusions:

  • California-based VCs are comfortable investing in corporations that are formed in either CA or DE (thus my experience, because the vast majority of the VCs whom I know are here in the Bay Area).
  • VCs outside California have a preference for investing in Delaware-based corporations, though that preference can be weak or strong, depending on the VC. Even with a strong preference, however, a Delaware-preferring VC will invest in a corporation in another state if it is the right deal

Related posts:

This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.

WSJ: VCs to Resume Funding Startups in 2010

In an article published today (After Dry Year, Start-Ups Are Poised to Get Cash), the Wall Street Journal reported that venture capitalists will resume funding startups in 2010.

The major reasons for this development:

  • During much of 2009, VCs were hoarding cash to protect their existing companies. With the economy and the stock market stabilizing, VCs are returning to investment mode.
  • Whereas initial public offerings were almost nonexistent this year, investment bankers see IPOs returning in 2010.

Some additional points made in the article:

  • During 2009, the vast majority of the (modest) VC investment that did occur was in information technology or health care.
  • For 2010, VCs are looking for opportunities in social networking, mobile technology, health-care technology, and clean technology.

Related posts:

This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.

Investor Due Diligence Redux

On July 2, I posted Investor Due Diligence Should Go Both Ways. The thrust of that post: Founders should conduct due diligence on prospective investors just as investors conduct due diligence on founders.

In a similar vein, I just read Make Sure Your VC Isn’t A Jerk by Mark Peter Davis of DFJ Gotham Ventures. Well-written, succinct and worth reading.

This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.