Attorneys in Taft’s Start-Up and Growth Companies practice advise high-growth, early-stage businesses seeking venture capital funding. Our attorneys also represent numerous institutional investors, ranging from angels to institutional funds, and play an active role in the relationship building process between start-up and investor clients.
Taft also has extensive experience representing venture capital investors and related support organizations, including The Brandery, Blue Chip Venture Company, Draper Triangle Ventures, Early Stage Partners and Cintrifuse.
Key Taft Attorneys
Our attorneys understand that high-growth, early-stage companies require tailored legal counseling. We provide practical solutions for our clients’ formation, management and growth, keeping specific goals and strategies in mind. Our expansive industry knowledge stems in part from our attorneys’ active involvement in various entrepreneurial ecosystems throughout the country. Following are brief bios for some of the Taft attorneys actively involved in this industry.
Howard Bobrow has served on the board of trustees of the Ohio Venture Association for many years. He is a frequent guest lecturer on the topics of venture capital, capital formation and entrepreneurial finance in both the graduate and undergraduate programs at the Weatherhead School of Business at Case Western Reserve University. He also speaks to “graduating classes” at local business incubators and accelerators, such as LaunchHouse and FlashStarts. In 2013, Howard was named Venture Capital Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in America and has been consistently listed in Best Lawyers in the venture capital category. He has also been named a Leading Lawyer by Inside Business Magazine and has been listed in Ohio Super Lawyers in the category of venture capital.
Robert W. McDonald is a co-founder and board member of The Brandery, a top 15 seed-stage business accelerator. The Brandery has graduated more than 35 emerging technology companies, and these graduates have raised approximately $30 million in funding. In addition to his work with The Brandery, Rob co-manages Vine Street Ventures Fund I, a venture capital fund dedicated to investing in web and mobile technology companies.
Bradley W. Schwer serves on the board of directors for the Indiana University Kelley School of Business Alumni Association. Brad represents financial/private equity and strategic clients in buy-side and sell-side transactions of all types, including senior and mezzanine financings. He also represents private equity portfolio companies in all of their general corporate legal and business needs.
Thomas R. Stasi serves as chair of The Brandery Fellowship Program, where he supervises and trains law school student to work with emerging companies. In addition, Tom is a co-founder of University Start-Up Slam! and Destination: Innovate, two programs designed to engage university students from diverse educational backgrounds in Cincinnati’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Tom is a frequent speaker at entrepreneurial programs throughout the region and serves as an advisor and mentor to numerous university programs.
James Zimmerman is a co-founder of Cincinnati Innovates, a regional innovation competition that has received hundreds of entries and awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes since its creation in 2009. He is an officer of and general counsel to Cintrifuse, an organization formed in 2012 by several of the largest organizations in Cincinnati to coordinate and catalyze the Cincinnati region’s innovation ecosystem. James also serves on the board of trustees of the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association, and on the board of trustees of The Circuit, the IT association for the Cincinnati region. He is a frequent speaker on entrepreneurship and venture capital.
In addition to seeking venture capital funding, Taft attorneys can provide start-up and growth companies with legal services in the following areas:
- Company formation, including entity selection, capital structure and other start-up matters.
- Raising capital through private placements, angel or venture capital investment, mezzanine and commercial bank financing and other sources.
- Intellectual property protection and commercialization, including patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret and privacy issues.
- Mergers and acquisitions.
- Initial public offerings.
- Executive compensation, including stock option plans and other incentive compensation arrangements.
- Labor and employment issues, including employment agreements, noncompetition agreements, employee benefit plans, employee handbooks and workplace policy issues.
- Corporate governance matters.
- All aspects of commercial contracting, including licensing, vendor and customer contracts, and strategic partnering agreements.
- Federal, state and local tax matters.
- Regulatory compliance matters, including SEC, HIPAA, OSHA, Sarbanes-Oxley and antitrust.
- Litigation avoidance, defense and prosecution.
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