Raising Capital: Ask and You May Receive...If Your Ask Makes Sense

Given the vast competition for early stage venture capital and the increased scrutiny being applied by investors to valuations and business plans, it is more important than ever to approach capital raising thoughtfully, whether you are targeting angels, venture capital firms or even strategic investors. Here are some tips for increasing your chance of success from an article I wrote for The Corporate Counselor (an ALM Law Journal Newsletter) in August 2016. 1. Setting the Size of the Round The internal discussion around capital raising usually begins with the age-old question: "How much should we raise?" If you search the Internet for the answer to that questio

The Prevention Doctrine - Curtis Cox v. SNAP, Inc. (4th Circuit)

The United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit recently issued an opinion that clarifies an important element of contract law - the “prevention doctrine”. Essentially, this doctrine states that a promisor can’t get out of delivering on a promise that is subject to a condition precedent by preventing that condition precedent from being satisfied. To use a simple example, if I sign a contract obligating me to buy my neighbor’s car upon it passing an inspection, I can’t get out of that agreement by secretly damaging the engine so it fails the inspection. That may seem obvious, but as is often the case in law, there are nuanced situations where the applicability of this doctrine may no

When It Comes to Contracts, Nothing is “Standard”

“It looked pretty standard to me.” In my 20 years of practice, I have heard those exact words on many occasions from clients, prospective clients, and fellow employees (when I was in-house) in all departments at all levels in response to me asking them why they signed or approved the contract they were now presenting to me in connection with a dispute that had arisen with the other party to the contract. As many of them came to learn, in the world of contracts, nothing is “standard.” Just because it is in smallish print, dual column format, and the other party called it their “standard form” does not mean it is safe to sign or that it is not negotiable. Moreover, while there are many commonl

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