Category Archives: Attorneys

Celina Kirchner


Celina Kirchner

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Celina Kirchner is an associate in the Business Litigation practice area.

Celina’s civil litigation practice focuses on all areas of business and commercial litigation, with a particular emphasis on digital media, technology, internet, privacy, emerging companies, insurance, breach of contract, fraud, and complex business disputes.  In her practice, Celina works closely with business professionals of all levels in order to develop practical strategies for resolving their disputes.  She also advises businesses on formation, governance and contracting matters in the hope that they can avoid litigation altogether.  Having worked with clients of all sizes, Celina understands that every case is unique and, ultimately, comes down to people.  She focuses on the human element of her cases and communicates in an understandable, business manner.  In the end, Celina endeavors to make what can be a stressful time for her clients as smooth as possible.

Celina is a frequent speaker at events centered around digital media and the burgeoning Silicon Beach community.  She was named to the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Stars lists, a distinction reserved for only the top 2.5% of lawyers in the state.

She earned her J.D. from the University of Southern California Gould School of law where she focused her coursework on the internet, digital media, and emerging companies.  Celina attended Yale University as an undergraduate, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and was chosen as the Class Insight Speaker, where she gave a speech after Bill Clinton.  She is admitted to practice law in the State of California.

practice & experience


SAM Client Malauzai Acquired by Finastra

malauzaiStubbs Alderton & Markiles client Malauzai,  a provider of mobile and Internet banking solutions for community financial institutions, has been acquired by Finastra, a fintech company that builds and deploys next generation technology on an open software architecture the company developed and a cloud system.

To read the full press release visit here.

Stubbs Alderton attorney John McIlvery  has represented Malauzai since its inception through acquisition, demonstrating how SA&M creates and builds relationships with its clients throughout their evolutionary path.  Other attorneys participating in the transaction included Caroline Cherkassky and Kelly Laffey.

About Malauzai Software
Malauzai was incorporated in 2010 in response to the growing demand for a technology company that could provide innovative mobile solutions for community financial organizations. As a cool company in a cool town with a focus primarily on community financial institutions, Malauzai provides consumer and business digital banking that enhance the customer experience for mobile and Internet banking, ultimately resulting in increased value for financial institutions.

For more information about the Mergers & Acquisitions practice, contact John McIlvery at, Caroline Cherkassky at or Kelly Laffey at


SAM Client Alpine Pacific Capital Invests in Arable Capital Partners’ Acquisition of Farmington Fresh Cuts

alpine pacific capitalStubbs Alderton & Markiles’ client Alpine Pacific Capital was a minority investor in Arable Capital Partners’ acquisition of Farmington Fresh Cuts, a processor of fresh sliced apples, oranges, pears and other packaged fruits. Farmington will merge with Fresh Innovations, which is also backed by Arable.

To read the full press release visit here.

Stubbs Alderton attorney representing Alpine Pacific Capital is Marc Kenny.

About Alpine Pacific Capital 
Alpine Pacific Capital is a private equity firm focused on acquiring closely-held, profitable businesses located primarily in the Western Region of the U.S. The firm understands the unique needs of smaller private companies and possesses the necessary infrastructure, experience and vision to help build enduring value.

For more information about our Mergers and Acquisitions Practice , contact Marc Kenny at


SAM Client INTAC Actuarial Services to be Acquired by Ascensus

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles’ client INTAC Actuarial Services, which provides administration of employer-sponsored retirement plans for about 3,000 small and mid-sized companies, their owners, key executives and employees, has announced that it will be acquired by Ascensus, a technology-enabled solutions provider that helps more than 8 million Americans save for the future.

To read the full press release visit here.

Stubbs Alderton attorneys representing INTAC Actuarial Services in this deal are Scott Galer & Nick Feldman. 

For more information about the Mergers & Acquisitions practice, contact Scott Galer at or Nick Feldman at


SA&M Encourages You to Attend “LAVA Healthcare: Digital Health Startups: From Ideas to Successful Exits” Featuring SAM Partner Kevin DeBré

LAVA Healthcare Presents:
Digital Health Startups: From Ideas to Successful Exits


12 Jul 2018
6:30pm – 9:00pm PDT
ASU California Center
725 Arizona Ave,
Santa Monica, CA 90401, USA

Investments in digital health start-ups have been setting record highs since 2010.  More than $23 billion flowed into digital health startups since 2010.  2017 saw the greatest amount of funding being poured into digital health to date with a steady increase in completed deals.  For instance, in the first half of 2017, $3.5 billion was invested in 188 digital health companies – setting a record for the number of companies funded and the total amount invested.

LAVA’s distinguished panel will discuss (1) distinctive topics in building digital health ideas towards successful exit, (2) challenges and opportunities in the current investment environment, and (3) what it will take for founders and entrepreneurs to establish their start-ups as an attractive investment.

Please join LAVA on July 12th for an informative, interactive session and networking.


Kevin DeBré
Kevin D. DeBré is the chair of the Firm’s Intellectual Property & Technology Transactions Practice Group.  Kevin advises entrepreneurs and companies that use intellectual property to build their businesses.  Kevin has particular expertise in structuring and negotiating technology commercialization and patent licenses, strategic alliances, research and development collaborations, trademark licensing and brand merchandising agreements and manufacturing, distribution and marketing arrangements.

Kevin is a business lawyer, a registered patent lawyer and a former engineer. He is a frequent guest lecturer in undergraduate and graduate level entrepreneurship courses at UCLA Anderson School of Management, UCLA School of Engineering, USC Marshall School of Business, Pepperdine University and Chapman University, and serves as Chairman of the Caltech Entrepreneurs Forum, an organization that facilitates the growth and success of technology-based entrepreneurial ventures in Southern California.  He has been quoted in numerous high-tech industry publications and has appeared on Bloomberg TV.

Kevin is the author of “Licensing of Trade Secrets and Know-How,” and a contributing author of “Joint Ventures and Strategic Alliances,” a chapter of Intellectual Property in Business Transactions, and is an update author of “Exploiting Trade Secrets by Licensing” and of “Form Licensing Agreements and Provisions.”

Harry Nelson
Harry Nelson, co-chairman of the Adaptive Health Capital board and member of the investment committee, is a leading healthcare advisor best known for the eponymous law firm he founded, Nelson Hardiman, LLP.  At Adaptive Health Capital, he specializes in healthcare transaction advisory services and funding—Mergers & Acquisitions, bridge financing, etc.  Beyond his healthcare, life sciences, and legal expertise, Harry is known nationally as a consummate leader at the intersection of healthcare law and business, as evidenced by his role in co-founding five healthcare-related start-ups in the last decade.  Deeply immersed in healthcare transformation and innovation; he frequently speaks on cutting edge issues and the future of the industry itself.  Proactively tackling timely healthcare issues, Harry is the co-author of the recent book, “From Obamacare to Trumpcare,” a survey of healthcare policy leading up to the Affordable Care Act and a prediction for the future direction of U.S. healthcare.

Harry’s thought leadership around the healthcare and life sciences industry has driven many next-generation healthcare ideas and initiatives to realization, including telehealth and other modalities of digital health and behavioral health.

Vishal Gandhi
Vishal Gandhi has been a senior-level M&A advisor for more than a decade at firms such as Banc of America Securities, Jefferies Inc., and MTS Health Partners. Vishal has partnered with several early-stage companies to steer their business toward new, challenging, and uncharted territory for the industry. Vishal is currently an independent advisor to Mount Sinai Innovation Partners, serving Mount Sinai Health System’s effort to commercialize internal innovation to better serve the global community.

His firm, Keval Health, is made up of senior healthcare investment banking professionals who have done extensive work alongside public and private healthcare organizations and private equity firms. They have worked on providing M&A advisory services, facilitating capital-raising efforts across debt, equity, and hybrid products, offering sell-side advisory services, divestitures, corporate carve-outs, royalty monetization advice and strategic and commercial partnerships.

Panel Moderator:

Edmond Banayan, MBA, MSIMC
Mr. Banayan has founded and led business ventures in healthcare, technology, and services.  As Co-Founder and CEO of Chronaly Inc. (Chronaly), Mr. Banayan leads a multi-disciplinary team in their mission to develop and commercialize digital health applications for developmental disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  Chronaly’s dedicated team is pushing the frontier of digital health and medicine by applying deep artificial neural networks, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other technological advancements to innovate and improve the lives, health, and health outcomes of millions of children and adults across the world with developmental disabilities.  In addition to his leadership at Chronaly, Mr. Banayan is also Chairman of Los Angeles Venture Association (LAVA) Healthcare Strategic Interest Group.  Mr. Banayan attended UCLA for his undergraduate degree and graduated with honorable mentions. Subsequent to UCLA, he received his graduate degrees in Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications (MSIMC).

We hope to see you there!


SAM Client Influential Raises $12 Million in Series B Financing Round

influentialStubbs Alderton & Markiles client Influential, an AI social data and activation technology company, announced Thursday that it has raised $12 million in a Series B financing round. With the fresh capital, the company plans to take their A.I. platform, designed to match brands with influencers who have relevant followings, to market. The funding came from existing investors Capital Zed, ECA Ventures, Paradigm Talent Agency, ROAR and Tech Coast Angels, as well as from Hollywood agency WME .

To read the full article visit here.

Stubbs Alderton attorneys representing Influential in this deal are Greg Akselrud and Nick Feldman.

About Influential
Influential is an A.I. influencer technology and developer partner of IBM Watson. Influential’s patent-pending app is on the hip pocket of more than 25,000 of the most highly engaged influencers on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and YouTube, reaching over 5 billion users. Brands and agencies are able to make a digital media buy on social via Influential’s in-demo impression guarantee, which mirrors traditional or digital media spends. Influential conducts all campaigns through a brand-safe vetting process and provides robust recaps via 3rd party analytics partners. Influential and IBM Watson have also co-created technologies that allow brands and agencies to identify psychographic data on influencers, as well as three first-to-market A.I. products. Influential runs campaigns for Fortune 100 companies including Coca-Cola Company, Nestlé, General Mills, Kia Motors, Fox TV, Sony Pictures and more. Influential has offices in Beverly Hills, New York City, and Las Vegas.

For more information about the Internet, Digital Media & Entertainment practice, contact Greg Akselrud at or Nick Feldman at



Kevin DeBré Shares IP & Licensing Insights with Delegation from Poland

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles Partner Kevin DeBré meet with a delegation from Poland, sponsored by the U.S Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, to discuss IP & Licensing in the U.S.



For more information about our IP & Technology practice contact Kevin DeBré at


SAM Client Embodied Raises $22 Million in Series A Round

embodiedStubbs Alderton & Markiles client Embodied, a robotics and artificial intelligence company, has raised $22 million in Series A funding to support its AI and robotics platforms for improved care and wellness. The investment is led by Calibrate Ventures and Jazz Venture Partners, and had participation from previous backers including Osage University Partners, Intel Capital, Grishin Robotics, and others.

To read the full article visit here.

Stubbs Alderton attorneys representing Embodied in this deal are Louis WhartonScott Alderton and Grace Kim.

About Embodied
Embodied, Inc. is an industry leading robotics and AI company creating state-of-the-art companion robots to revolutionize human-centric care and wellness by enhancing quality of life for individuals and families.

For more information about our Venture Capital and Emerging Growth Practice , contact Louis Wharton at


SAM Client Kairos Ventures Leads Series A Funding Round For PolyCera Membranes

kairos venturesStubbs Alderton & Markiles client Kairos Ventures led a Series A funding round for PolyCera Membranes raising $9 Million. This round of funding will enable PolyCera Membranes, which develops and markets next-generation membrane technology for industrial wastewater treatment and process separation, to make immediate investments to build out its global manufacturing, R&D and sales capabilities. The Series A funding round was led by Kairos Ventures with follow on capital provided by Bluestem Capital and the Wolfen Group – two of PolyCera’s existing investors through Water Planet.

To read the full press release visit here.

Stubbs Alderton attorneys representing Kairos Ventures in this deal are Louis Wharton and Kelly Laffey.

About Kairos Ventures
Kairos Ventures invests early, often during the formative stages of a company, and work closely with the world’s leading scientists to commercialize their technologies. Depending on the stage of development and the capital requirements of each venture, they make investments between $150,000 and $20 Million. While KV are hands-on investors, they also recognize that it is the entrepreneurs’ sweat, hard work and perseverance that will drive the growth of their companies. They strive to ensure that the founding team, who make the early sacrifices in pursuit of their venture, retain the majority of the ownership in their companies. In addition to providing early-stage capital, KV leverages our expertise and extensive network of professionals specializing in all disciplines required to build a successful company, including legal, finance, marketing, operations, business development and HR. They provide these services to early stage companies in their portfolio to allow the entrepreneurs to focus their energy on continuing to innovate and pushing the envelope in their respective fields.

For more information about our Venture Capital and Emerging Growth Practice , contact Louis Wharton at or Kelly Laffey at


SAM Client Alert – GDPR Compliance: Necessary for Companies with an EU Presence

GDPR Compliance Effective as of May 25, 2018, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) imposes strict regulations on the way companies collect, record, organize, store or disclose (collectively, “process”) certain personally identifiable information (“Personal Information”) that is received in the US from the European Economic Area (“EEA”).  Any business that provides goods or services, regardless of whether there is a payment for such goods or services and regardless of where such business is geographically located, and that collects Personal Information of an EU resident who is physically located in the EU at the time of collection, must be GDPR compliant.  Collection of information relating to an EU citizen who is outside of the EU when the Personal Information is collected does not subject a business to GDPR. Listed below are GDPR’s major initiatives that data processors—including American companies—should be particularly mindful of when adhering to the new legislation:

Informed Consent
In order to process Personal Information, the collector must obtain valid consent. In order to be valid under GDPR, consent must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous. Consent may not be a prior condition to using the website or services. If the user is to sign or assent to a written declaration, the terms must be in clear and plain language and easily accessible. Further, the user should have the right to withdraw their consent at any time.

Consent can be achieved by acceptance of a Privacy Policy or Terms of Service; however, these agreements require “active opt-ins”. The pre-selected opt-in boxes are invalid and there must also exist a clear separate consent for every use of data. For example, consent for the service provider’s cookies and consent for another third-party’s cookies must be displayed independently in a discernible manner.

Notification of Data Breach
Data processors must report data breaches to a supervisory authority within 72 hours of learning of the breach. The report must include what data was impacted, the likely consequences to follow and how the issue will be addressed moving forward.

Access and the Right to be Forgotten
EU residents may have the right to request a copy of their personal data held by a data processor. Additionally, EU residents can request their data be deleted without undue delay if they meet one of the requirements listed in Article 17. These requirements include, but are not limited to, personal data that is processed but is no longer necessary in relation to the purposes for which they were processed, consent was not initially provided to process the data, the personal data was unlawfully processed, or the data processor has no legitimate grounds for processing the data. Further, in some cases, companies may be obligated to take steps to get third parties or other processors to erase the data as well.

Third Parties and Parties
If a company transfers Personal Data to third-party agents or service providers, or if its website, mobile application or service uses plug-ins or connects to any third-party services, those third parties must be GDPR compliant. Under certain circumstances, companies may remain liable for the acts of its third-party agents or service providers for their handling of EEA Personal Data that the company transfers to them.

Data Protection Officer
Certain data processors will need to appoint a Data Protection Officer (“DPO”) if they are a public body or if they monitor certain data subjects on a large scale, which can include tracking user behavior. DPO’s must advise data processors and employees of their obligations with respect to GDPR and also understand the inherent risks associated with data processing operations. Further they must maintain an expertise with respect to the protection of personal data, be reachable by data users, fully cooperate with supervisory authority and have the necessary resources to carry out the job.

Parental Consent
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA”), imposes requirements on websites that collect information on children that are under 13 years of age. COPPA specifically requires that parental consent be given for the collection or use of any personal information from children under the age of 13. Consent can be achieved through many methods such as a personal video conference, by postal mail or electronic signature via email. Similarly, GDPR has an expanded requirement whereby parental consent is necessary to collect personal information from children up to age 16. However, member states may provide by their state law for a lower age as long as the age is not lower than 13. The controller of the online service or site is also required to make viable efforts to receive parental consent.

The consequences of GDPR non-compliance can be significant, with financial penalties of up to the greater of 20 million Euros or 4% of the company’s revenues.

Privacy Shield
Fortunately, the European Commission and the US Department of Commerce have reached an agreement on a framework for transfers of Personal Information to the United States from the European Union. The EU-US Privacy Shield does not guarantee GDPR compliance, but it does provide a framework to facilitate transfers that would otherwise not be permitted under applicable EU law.  The EU-US Privacy Shield is voluntary and is not a requirement of GDRP compliance.

It is vital for every US business that is or may be collecting data in European markets to understand and address GDPR compliance—and ensure all of its employees are engaged participants in the compliance strategy. Only time will tell how strict regulators will be, but knowledge of your data, where it is going, and what is required will equip companies to navigate the new and significant EU regulations.


Alia Delpassand is an associate of the Firm. Alia’s practice focuses on corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, securities law compliance, private equity transactions and general corporate matters for both public and private clients, focusing on middle-market and emerging growth companies. Prior to joining the firm, Alia interned at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C. where she worked on insider trading liability and misappropriation cases. She also previously served as an extern for two federal judges, the Honorable Catherine E. Bauer in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California, and the Honorable Frances H. Stacy in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Texas.

Nick C. Feldman is an associate of the firm. Nick’s practice focuses on venture capital financing transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate representation of emerging growth and middle-market companies, including corporate governance, securities laws compliance, and commercial agreements. He also represents venture capital and private equity funds and strategic investors who finance and acquire these companies.  In addition, Nick advises clients in connection with complex technology and intellectual property transactions, licensing, and privacy matters. Nick has been named a Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2017 and 2018. Nick also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Loyola Marymount University, where he lectures on media law topics.

For more information about our Corporate & Business Matters Practice contact Alia Delpassand at adelpassand@stubbsalderton.con or Nick Feldman at