Category Archives: Venture Capital & Emerging Growth Practice Area

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 lwharton@stubbsalderton.com

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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 lwharton@stubbsalderton.com or Kelly Laffey at klaffey@stubbsalderton.com.

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SAM Client Starship Technologies Raises Additional $25 Million in Funding & Appoints CEO

starship logoStubbs Alderton & Markiles client Starship Technologies, a company developing small self-driving robotic delivery vehicles,  announced this week that they have raised an additional $25 million in seed funding and have appointed Lex Bayer as Chief Executive Officer. The round includes follow-on investments from existing investors including Matrix Partners and Morpheus Ventures. Additional investors include Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk, Skype founding engineer Jaan Tallinn, and former chairman and CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Gary Barber.

To read the full press release visit here.

Stubbs Alderton attorney representing Starship Technologies is Louis Wharton.

About Starship Technologies
Starship Technologies is building a fleet of robots designed to deliver goods locally in 15-60 minutes. The delivery robots have traveled tens of thousands of miles, met millions of people and have been tested in over 100 cities around the world to date. They drive autonomously but are monitored by humans who can take over control at any time. Launched in July 2014, by two Skype co-founders, Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, Starship is changing the way packages, groceries and food are delivered.
Visist www.starship.xyz 

About Louis Wharton
louis wharton
Louis A. Wharton is a Partner of the Firm and Director of the Preccelerator Program. Louis’ practice focuses on advising startup, emerging growth and middle market companies across a spectrum of industries in securities compliance, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate matters. He counsels clients in the technology, internet/e-commerce, pharmaceutical, apparel and entertainment industries, among others. Louis serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Venture Association (LAVA), and previously served on the San Fernando Valley Bar Association Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of ProVisors’ Technology Group.

For more information about our Venture Capital and Emerging Growth Practice , contact Louis Wharton at lwharton@stubbsalderton.com

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Preccelerator Alumni RentSpree Announces Partnership with California Apartment Association

rentspreePreccelerator Alumni Company RentSpree has just announced that they are partnering with the California Apartment Association (CAA). Together they offer a state of the art tenant screening platform to all CAA members.  RentSpree’s standardized process will help CAA’s 15,000+ members work more efficiently with the verification process, while simultaneously reducing exposure to regulatory risks.

Amidst an atmosphere where faxing has been the norm for many, the new service will allow CAA members to seamlessly access a full credit report and score, eviction history report, completed rental application and more with the click of a button on any device.

All CAA members will also be given access to RentSpree PRO, a premium service offering from RentSpree that helps landlords and managers handle the tenant verification process.  As part of the alliance, RentSpree will also be working closely with CAA to unveil a series of groundbreaking new features to provide unparalleled flexibility and convenience to members.

“As an organization that always puts our members’ interests first, we see tremendous value in the services RentSpree will provide for CAA members,” said CAA Senior Vice President Kevin Pellegrino. “Together, we will be able to deliver a platform that exceeds all current and future CAA member screening needs.”

“We are very proud to have CAA as a major partner where our combined efforts will provide CAA members with a technology platform that will significantly enhance their businesses,”  said RentSpree Chief Operating Officer Michael Lucarelli.  “Importantly, our solution makes it effortless for all CAA owners and managers to offer a digital screening process that most tenants expect in 2018.”

About RentSpree
RentSpree is a Los Angeles-based real estate tech company that has created a proprietary platform allowing landlords and property managers to seamlessly screen and verify tenants. The award-winning tool automates the lease application process for property representatives by providing a 24/7, one-stop system for screening applicants.

Visit www.rentspree.com for more information.

For more about the Preccelerator® Program or to apply,  contact Heidi Hubbeling, COO at (310) 746-9803 or hhubbeling@stubbsalderton.com

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SAM Client Champion Technology Forms Strategic Partnership with R9B

champion technology Stubbs Alderton & Markiles client Champion Technology, the provider of a next-generation expert system and analytic platform, DarkLight® , announced it is forming a strategic partnership with R9B. R9B (root9B, LLC), is a leading provider of cybersecurity products and services. The companies will form a technology partnership to leverage DarkLight’s knowledge framework to optimize and cross-correlate data sets.

To read the full press release visit here.

Stubbs Alderton attorneys representing Champion Technology are  Scott Alderton and Jonathan Friedman.

About Champion Technology Company’s DarkLight
DarkLight is a next-generation cybersecurity analytic and automation platform. Driven by artificial intelligence (AI), this groundbreaking solution is a force multiplier which leverages the logic, knowledge, and reasoning of security analysts to deliver human-quality results, at scale.  To learn more, please visit www.darklightcyber.com.

For more information about our Venture Capital and Emerging Growth Practice , contact Scott Alderton at salderton@stubbsalderton.com

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SAM Attorney Caroline Cherkassky Featured Panelist at UCLA Law School’s “Law & Entrepreneurship” Conference

March 9th, 2018
9:00am-1:00pm

UCLA School of Law
385 Charles E. Young Drive East
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476

Located in UCLA’s back yard, the Silicon Beach economy is exploding. This inaugural conference will explore the legal and policy issues faced by more than 500 tech startups, incubators and accelerators as well as companies like Snap. Attend the conference to understand the issues critical to this burgeoning hub of entrepreneurship in West LA and the beach cities of Santa Monica, Playa Vista and Venice.

The Silicon Beach Conference will address three important areas all with a focus on the businesses we see here:  governance, financing and acquisitions. Our governance panel will look at various structural approaches, including dual class stock structures.  The financing panel will explore the SEC’s pro-IPO initiatives as well as the emerging Initial Coin Offering debate. Finally, the panelists will look to the LA and Silicon Beach acquisitions market and how to support and grow M&A in Silicon Beach.

Opening Remarks
Joel Feuer, UCLA School of Law

Corporate Governance and Founder Control
Ken Bertsch, Council of Institutional Investors
David Berger, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Caroline Cherkassky, Stubbs Alderton & Markiles
Chris Shoff, Latham & Watkins
Moderator: Stephen Bainbridge, UCLA School of Law

Financing of Start-Ups and Emerging Growth Companies
Lona Nallengara, Shearman & Sterling  
Nick Hobson, Cooley
Philippa Bond, Proskauer
Adam Ettinger, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton
Moderator: James Park, UCLA School of Law

Silicon Beach Acquisitions: Legal and Business Issues
David Hernand, Paul Hastings
Brandon Quartararo, Intrepid Investment Bank
Andrew Erskine, Orrick
Moderator:  Iman Anabtawi, UCLA School of Law

We hope to see you there!

 

 

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SAM Encourages You to Attend LABIC Business Pitch Competition

Los Angeles Black Investors Club (LABIC)
Business Pitch Competition
January 25, 2018

Black Business Pitch Competition

Each quarter, LABIC hosts a prize competition that provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative products, technologies, or services in particular industries.

LABIC will have its first Black Business Pitch Competition of 2018 on January 25th at Sip & Sonder, located in Downtown Inglewood. Upto 10 finalists will be selected to compete in the live pitch event, where finalists will pitch their products and ideas to a panel of expert judges and compete for amazing prizes. Last quarter’s prizes included free consulting sessions with a top VC fund manager and LABIC partners, a one year subscription to Entrepreneur Magazine, AMEX gift cards, and more!

Judges

SHERRI BREWER
Sherri Brewer is the Senior Vice President and Chief Retail Officer of OneUnited Bank.  She is dedicated to impacting the lives of youth. Ms. Brewer works with World Impact’s Young Entrepreneur Program (YEP) as a judge of business plans during shark tank like presentations to receive grant funds. She has worked with Los Angeles Educational Partnership by providing High School seniors with resume review services and mock employment interviews. She works with organizations such as Adelante Youth Services (AYS) to provide financial literacy to middle school students. Ms. Brewer serves on the Board of Vox Collegiate Charter School in Watts and serves on the loan committee of Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Corporation.

MEGGAN OIRECH
Meggan Oirech is the founder and CEO of CHNO Brands, LLC. CHNO is a startup that curates black-owned products for your everyday life and makes them available in their online store. She is also the recipient of a Madame CJ Walker business award that honored her work with black businesses. She has also developed an algorithm and works with a venture company to build and sell it. A native of Riverside County, she is a gradate of the Art Institute of Orange County.

DEMARCUS WILLIAMS
Demarcus Williams is the Director of Silicon Valley Bank’s Early Stage Practice in Los Angeles. He focuses on guiding entrepreneurs from incorporation through Series A financing and fostering community within Los Angele’s early stage tech ecosystem. Prior to his position at SVB, he was Vice President of Business Strategy at Zealot Networks. He has also served as a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. He is a graduate of UC, Irvine.

We hope to see you there!

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Built In LA’s 50 Startups to Watch in 2018 Presented by SAM

Built in LAIn 2017, Southern California tech raised nearly $7 billion, launching startups across industries and attracting top talent and funding support from local investors. As Los Angeles and Orange Counties have become the established homes to some of the most innovative startups in the world, the expectations for 2018 are high.

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles is the title sponsor for 2018 for Built in LA’s annual “Top 50 Startups to Watch” list.  To check out the full list from Built in LA, visit here.

For more information on Stubbs Alderton & Markile’s practices that can assist your company along its evolutionary path – from startup, to growth to liquidity – contact Heidi Hubbeling at hhubbeling@stubbsalderton.com.

 

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Preccelerator® Program Announces Its Eighth Class of Companies

​The Preccelerator® Program, a Santa Monica, California-based accelerator program for early- stage startup companies in the digital media and technology space, announced today that it has added its eighth class of companies featuring four innovative startups.

In 2012 Stubbs Alderton & Markiles launched the first-of-its- kind Preccelerator® Program to provide select start-ups with co-working space, mentorship, sophisticated legal services, curriculum and access to a strategic perks portfolio with the objective of helping grow a founder’s idea from business concept to a funded company. Over the past five years, 34 companies have graduated the Program, of which 20 have received funding totaling over $9M.

Preccelerator® Program Class 8 companies include:

Boomer Returns – Boomer is an ecommerce return platform that brings returns to your front door. The company’s goal is to eliminate the pain points in the return process where they hurt online shoppers the most. If you need clothing or accessories returned, you no longer have to leave your home. Instead, you can use Boomer and a reliable person will be at your door within an hour to handle your returns for you. The company is founded by Pat Bauer and Ben Grabow.

Best Food Trucks – Best Food Trucks (BFT) is the largest food truck platform in the U.S., with over 500 trucks booking lots nationwide. BFT is reinventing the office lunch experience, by providing business parks & office buildings with all the logistics of setting up food trucks, booking, and (coming soon) the ability to skip the line and order ahead from your phone. The company is founded by Matt Geller and Kevin Davis.

Lumenus – Lumenus is an IoT safety company, building a Hardware/Software platform using the Internet of Things to provide real-time safety alerts and create actionable insights for both consumers (bike/run/motorcycle) as well as industrial usage (high-risk vocational workers). They license their technology out to existing companies to scale the operation across industries and use-cases. They are currently in production with Timbuk2 on a backpack ‘Powered by Lumenus’ launching Spring 2018. The company is founded by Jeremy Wall.

BluAtom VR – BluAtom VR is a provider of a next-generation motion and haptic game controllers for virtual and augmented reality entertainment and training applications — It effectively turns any player’s body into a game controller. The BluAtom system comes with a wireless motion vest, hand controller and network hub to detect as well as enhance the user’s movements for a more natural and immersive virtual reality experience. The system is plug and play, no special device driver is required. The BluAtom VR founding team are Steve KearsleyDean ShipleyFarzad AhmadkhanlouSean Sharifian, and Mark Thimmig and Sean Lee.

For more information about the Preccelerator® Program, visit www.preccelerator.com.

About Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP is a Southern California-based business law firm with robust corporate, public securities, mergers and acquisitions, entertainment, intellectual property, brand protection and business litigation practice groups focusing on the representation of, among others, venture- backed emerging growth companies, middle market public companies, large technology companies, entertainment and digital media companies, investors, venture capital funds, investment bankers and underwriters. The firm’s clients represent a broad range of industries with a concentration in the technology, entertainment, videogame, apparel and medical device sectors. The firm’s mission is to provide technically excellent legal services in a consistent, highly-responsive and service-oriented manner with an entrepreneurial and practical business perspective. These principles are the hallmarks of the firm. For more information, visit http://stubbsalderton.com.

About the Preccelerator® Program

The Preccelerator® is a novel platform offered to select start-up companies out of the Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP Santa Monica office that provides interim office space, sophisticated legal services, education,  networking, mentorship and $250,000 in usable perks from Google Cloud for Startups, Amazon Web Services, and HubSpot among others, with the objective of helping grow a founder’s idea from business concept to funded startup. The program also retains more than 50 active strategic mentors providing free office hours and discounted services, and provides over 50-plus educational workshops and networking events each year. The Program expanded in 2017 to accept a greater number of companies in more formalized classes, depending upon where the companies are in their evolutionary growth, expand benefits to accepted companies, and will look to make strategic investments backed by strategic angel investors. To apply to the Preccelerator, visit www.preccelerator.com/application.

Contact:

Heidi Hubbeling
Chief Operating Officer, Preccelerator® Program
hhubbeling@stubbsalderton.com
310-746-9803

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Introducing the Startup Superhero Video Series! – This Week Featuring Scott Alderton on “Positioning Your Company For Financing”

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles and the Preccelerator Program are proud to announce the launch of their Startup Superhero Video Series – featuring SA&M Attorneys, Preccelerator Mentors, and entrepreneurs on topics specific to entrepreneurship and lessons learned throughout the journey.

This week we’re featuring SA&M Managing Partner Scott Alderton as he chats about “How to Position Your Company for Financing.”  Scott is the Co-Chair of the Venture Capital & Emerging Growth practice at Stubbs Alderton, General Partner of SAM CREATV Ventures, and a thought leader in the startup financing space.

 

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Transcript

Heidi: Tell me a little bit about your practice and experience and what you love most about working with emerging growth companies?

Scott: Sure, I have been doing this for a long time. My practice is broad-ranging. Early on in my career, I was more of a corporate & securities lawyer doing traditional SEC type of work with larger companies. As this thing called the “Internet” began to develop in the ’90s, it looked like it was interesting, I transitioned my practice to being more of a technology and venture capital lawyer. I really like working with companies all along their evolutionary path, but I really like working with early-stage companies. They have diverse, wide-ranging needs, they typically don’t have the resources that large companies have. I feel like I can play a vital role as an advisor even more-so than a lawyer. The lawyering part is the easy job to me, the advising part is really the fun part.

Heidi: Let’s talk a little bit about emerging growth companies and how they approach financing. What are some of the things an early stage company should be thinking about when they are going for funding. If they are really early, how do they attract investors?

Scott: I think it’s really a couple of things. The first thing that every company needs to do is to decide what its vision is and what kind of company it’s going to be. Venture capital is not right for every company and there’s lots of different ways to fund your businesses. The overwhelming majority of businesses do not get funded with venture capital. Venture capital is a way of financing a business through its growth stage. When it has a proven product, when it’s found its market and when it now needs to scale and grow. That’s when venture capital comes in and helps a company do that, but to get to that point is challenging. First you need to decide; am I a company that is going to require venture capital and am I company that is going to address a large scaling market, be disruptive, grow to be very large? That’s a venture fundable business.  Through the early stage, the second thing you need to figure out is  – how am I going to get to the point where professional investors are going to be interested in me? Professional investors are not going to be interested in every company like I said they are going to be interested in companies where they can apply their capital, grow and scale the business.

Heidi: As far as some of the tips that you would give to them, for them to actually attract investors – where do they look for them? Are warm introductions the best thing? What are some of the tactics?

Scott: First of all, don’t look too early. Understand that if you are really going out and seeking traditional, professional investment that you are going to have to have some metrics. You’re going to have to have at least a MVP of a product, you’re going to find a market where that product is being accepted. You are growing and scaling a business in that market. Whether its users or customers – whatever it is – you have to get to that stage first. How do you get to that stage? Well, you get to that stage by raising money from friends and family, from people who know you. From people that are going to invest in you, because you’re the entrepreneur. They believe in you. Relatives, friends, strategic business partners. A second way to look at that is for people who ultimately will be interested in your product, even though you have no metrics or proof of your product today. They will invest in you because they want your product to hit the market. Might be a strategic investment. Figure out a way – come hook or crook-  to raise that initial capital to where you can develop your product. Find a market place and the other doors will open.

Heidi: From a legal and business stand-point, how do they best position themselves?

Scott: Early stage companies by necessity cut corners, right? You don’t have resources. You’re boot strapping. You’re making promises that you can’t fully document. You can’t always afford lawyers or professional advisers and that’s fine. Do not second guess any of that. You got to where you are, but when you reach that point where you are now ready to go out and find professional capital, it’s important to look internally first. That you look at yourself, do the same kind of diligence with yourself that an investor is going to do on you. That way there are no surprises. Figure out capital issues and fix them. Figure out your employment issues and fix them. Figure out your commercial contracts that you have done on a whim and fix them. So that investors don’t look at you and think good concept, but I am not going to take all this risk.

Heidi: There’s another topic that startups tend to think a lot about but aren’t typically fully  educated on – how should they approach valuation and dilution?

Scott: I think that people get hung up on valuation because they have some number set in their mind or they have some experience that they talk about with other entrepreneurs. They think they either have to hang on to a certain percentage of their business or it’s not appropriate to give a certain amount at a certain round. You have to come into a financial transaction with an open mind and understand not just what you’re selling and what you have to give up for that. Also, where you are going and where that money is going to take you? I see entrepreneurs being penny wise and a pound foolish all the time. They think they don’t want to be significantly diluted. They end up throwing a wrench in the negotiation  or they loose a financing deal because they want to hang on to a few points of equity. In reality that money is going to take them so far that they are going to be vast and more valuable. Its a simple proposition of – there’s a pie and you want a piece of that pie. It’s much better to own a smaller piece of a gigantic pie than it is to own a big piece of a small pie.

Heidi: Appreciate you for being here and I’m sure we will have you back for other topics some time soon.

Scott: Thanks, looking forward to it.

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To learn more about our Venture Capital & Emerging Growth Practice, contact Scott Alderton at salderton@stubbsalderton.com.

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