Stubbs Alderton & Markiles' client  HouseCanary, a real estate technology company offering the most accurate home valuations, has announced that it has raised $65 million in a Series C funding round with help from a group founded by billionaire and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. Including this Series C round, HouseCanary has raised a total of $130 million in funding.

To read the full article visit Law 360. 

Stubbs Alderton attorneys representing in this transaction were Greg Akselrud and Caroline Cherkassky.

About HouseCanary
Founded in 2014, their mission is to help people make better real estate decisions. Built on a foundation of great data, powerful models and predictive analytics, the HouseCanary platform aggregates millions of data elements, including more than four decades of property data and a rapidly expanding arsenal of proprietary data calculations and analytics, to accurately define and forecast values and market influences. The company is headquartered in San Francisco.

For more information about our Internet, Digital Media & Entertainment practice, contact Greg Akselrud at 

Greg Akselrud

Q.       I want to run a sweepstakes, why are there so many restrictions?

A.   Sweepstakes and contests offer companies a relatively inexpensive, but effective, way to market their products and services.  However, state laws have been passed to, among other things, prevent companies from operating an illegal lottery (entry into a random drawing for consideration) and to prevent false advertising.  As such, each state has statutes addressing sweepstakes/contests and advertising requirements.

Q.     What is the difference between a sweepstakes and a contest?

A.   A sweepstakes, like a lottery, is a random drawing.  The key difference, however, in operating a sweepstakes (and avoiding the operation of an illegal lottery) is consideration. To properly run a sweepstakes, a company must eliminate consideration from any entry requirement.  As such, a company must provide a free form of entry – at least as an alternative.  A contest is essentially a skill-based game or competition.   The ability to win a contest is not by random drawing, like in a sweepstakes, but is rather based on skill-based judging criteria set forth in advance.

Q.     Do I have to include all the fine print?

A.   An essential part of operating any sweepstakes or contest is to have a proper set of official rules.  These rules are designed to address the many state by state regulations of sweepstakes and contests (and advertising issues).  They also clearly set forth key information – such as, among other things, the fact that no purchase is necessary to enter or win, the method of entry (and collection of personal information), the eligibility requirements, the period of time that the promotion is offered, the manner in which winners are selected, and information about prizes and their value.  Of course, the official rules also address some of the key legal issues – like obtaining rights to use the winner’s name once they win, limitations of liability, and dispute resolution.  Certain states have registration and bonding requirements so it is also important to address whether residents of those states should be eligible (and if so, whether the company is complying with those requirements).  Also, if a promotion is intended to be international, countries regulate sweepstakes and contests differently, which will of course affect what is stated in the official rules.

Greg Akselrud is a founder and partner of the Firm. He chair’s the Firm’s Internet, New Media and Entertainment practice group. Greg advises a wide range of public and private clients across a number of industries, including companies in the entertainment, Internet, technology, and apparel industries. Greg’s practice involves providing advice in connection with general corporate matters (including company formation, stock incentive plans, executive employment agreements, and various commercial and business contracts), venture capital and angel financings, mergers and acquisitions (including public reverse mergers), private equity and debt securities offerings, public offerings, federal and state securities law reporting requirements, intellectual property strategic counseling, Internet and e-commerce matters, and entertainment, content and digital media transactional matters.

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Greg Akselrud, Chair of the Internet, New Media & Entertainment Practice Group at Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP discusses the difference between co-marketing and a joint venture, and the benefits and risks involved with each.


Co-marketing arrangements present a wealth of opportunities to expand your business. They allow business owners to expand distribution and revenue while leveraging another’s strengths, all while providing a better offering to users.  But at a certain point, a longer term initiative presents itself - the joint venture.  Joint ventures offer many advantages to traditional co-marketing arrangements, but also bring significant disadvantages and risks.

What is co-marketing?

Co-marketing takes many forms.  When online, co-marketing can mean two parties marketing each other’s products and services, co-branding a single product or service under a combined brand or using each party’s trademarks, and bundling two pieces of software.  It is usually documented in the form of an agreement between the two parties.

What is a joint venture?

A joint venture is a form of partnership (not necessarily in the legal sense) where two or more parties agree to undertake a business, or to operate a product or service, or in the co-marketing sense, to co-market their respective products and services.  A joint venture can be documented by virtue of an agreement between parties, a more formal formation of a partnership or the formation of a limited liability company or other entity the parties determine to use to undertake the business, or to operate or co-market one or more products or services.  For example, Hulu is a joint venture of NBC, Fox and Disney, and Vevo is a joint venture of Sony Music, Universal Music and Abu Dhabi Media (to create a Hulu for music videos!).

What are some of the key differences?

What are some of the advantages of forming a joint venture vs entering into a co-marketing agreement?

What are some of the disadvantages of forming a joint venture vs. entering into a co-marketing agreement?

Ultimately, while their formation is more complicated than the standard co-marketing arrangement, and requires significant analysis, joint ventures can bring extraordinary value to the individual joint venture partners – particularly in co-marketing-focused arrangements – and are worth exploring.


 For more information regarding our Internet, New Media & Entertainment Practice Group, please contact Greg Akselrud at or follow him on  Twitter @gregakselrud.