Start-ups are unique, and most law firms are honestly not equipped to handle them. In the traditional business, a few partners submit a business plan to a bank or similar source of financing, get a loan, acquire some property, and start working on a product. That's what most business firms are built on handling. When was the last time you heard of a start-up doing any of that? Particularly in the Bay Area, it's more common for a few friends to get an idea, work like demons on it, and then approach a Venture Capitalist firm, or VC. Start-ups may or may not acquire real property; a purely app-driven product may not need an office, or the people involved may prefer working from home.
Also, unlike the steady growth or decline of a traditional business, start-ups can suddenly become immensely valuable, or can suddenly dissolve. Traditional forms of business association (BA) don't do a good job of handling start-up realities, both because of the explosive growth start-ups are capable of, and because of their untraditional sources of capital. A successful start-up negotiates with an interested VC for money, often issuing closely held stock or taking on a board member from the VC involved. It's not unusual for a start-up that's just four friends from tech school with no office or employees to suddenly find themselves with $50 million in funding, and traditional law firms often have no idea what to do with this kind of a situation. Start-ups are too fast and too weird for the fundamentally slow and conservative field of business law.
Further, there's an important cultural difference. How many programmers do you know that like wearing a button-up and tie to work? We haven't met many. How many social media managers like filling out time-sheets? Twitter doesn't stop at 5 pm, nor is there a ton happening on Facebook before people get morning coffee. Most importantly, how many groups of friends who know and trust each other like going through protracted contract negotiations with some attorney who things their idea will fail, and who still thinks that code happens on punch-cards?
Enter Verbeck Law. We know how fast and weird start-ups can be, and we like it. We know that a 4-person start-up can't pay $10k for a big formal business plan, and shouldn't, because at that stage there's probably a pivot in the company's future. We know that people who work for start-ups aren't going to tolerate a lot of business formalities, and we know that a lot of start-up agreements run on a handshake. Find a traditional Mergers and Acquisitions lawyer and tell him you agreed to buy your buddy's company over a game of Go at a wine bar in SoMa and you'll see how a totally normal start-up agreement freaks out traditional lawyers. Instead of running away screaming, or charging you for a bunch of junk you don't need, we'll get your idea and offer you what we think will help.
If you have a general inquiry, or you suddenly got served with papers, shoot us an email and we'll let you know what we think would be helpful. Alternatively, if you'd like to see our options for a company of your size, click below and we'll show you what we've got. Every service comes with a consultation, and a fixed price tag. Our policy is that if you don't understand it, we won't charge you for it.