PitchBook just released its recap of 2014 venture capital trends by region, focusing on the most active regions and presenting the information in infographic form. Each infographic can be found here: Bay Area, Pacific Northwest, New York metro and Europe. Below is also a quick summary of the highlights by region:

Bay Area:

  • The median pre-money valuation for 2014 was $28.2m (up from $18.3m for 2013).
  • The most active sector (by both deal count and capital invested), by a wide margin, was information technology.
  • The region


Continue Reading Recap of 2014 Venture Capital Trends by Region

Contributed by Jeffrey A. Showalter

Most large venture deals require that the Company’s outside legal counsel issue a customary legal opinion, addressed to the investors in the financing, in order to give the investors comfort that the company’s legal affairs are in order. For companies that have been represented since formation by large regional or national counsel with venture capital experience, this requirement generally is not overly burdensome. However, where counsel has not represented the company since formation or is unfamiliar with VC deals, the legal opinion can become an
Continue Reading Why do VCs require legal opinions in venture deals?

The SEC has recently issued interpretations regarding Rule 147.  This rule provides a safe harbor under Section 3(a)(11) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, which exempts from federal registration securities offered and sold only to persons resident within a single state or territory, in which the issuer is also resident.  While the exemption is a relatively simple idea at a high level, there can often be challenges in applying it, such as determining where a company resides or where an offer occurs.  Rule 147 provides bright line
Continue Reading Recent SEC Interpretations Facilitate Intrastate Crowdfunding

Over the past few years, a new funding source for seed stage startups has developed and quickly become an integral part of the startup ecosystem.  This newer brand of investor is typically labeled a seed venture or micro-venture capital fund (a Micro-VC).

Micro-VCs are smaller venture firms that primarily invest in seed stage emerging growth companies, often have a fund size of <$50M and typically invest between $25K to $500K in a given company.  While many Micro-VCs are managed by former venture capitalists, former entrepreneurs and/or super angels, many larger
Continue Reading What is Micro-Venture Capital?

The Q1 2014 Halo Report has been released by the Angel Resource Institute, Silicon Valley Bank and CB Insights. The Halo Report analyzes angel investment activity and trends in the United States. Here are a couple interesting Q1 2014 highlights:

  • The median angel round size jump to $980K (up from $750K in each of Q1 and Q4 2013);
  • The median round size was $1.65M when angel groups co-invest with other types of investors;
  • The median seed stage pre-money valuation increased slightly to $2.7M;
  • Angel groups continue to


Continue Reading Angel Investment Trends: Q1 2014 Halo Report

Perkins, Rachel_Headshot.jpgCONTRIBUTED BY
Rachel M. Perkins
rachel.perkins@dlapiper.com

Startups and public companies alike often use equity to help attract, retain and incentivize talented employees and other service providers. The different forms of awards have proliferated in the past several years, though, leading to a confusing “alphabet soup” of jargon that often frustrates both the recipients of grants and the company itself. Many angel and venture capital investors continue to prefer seeing stock options and restricted stock awards in their portfolio private companies, as these are the most common and simplest to administer. Other forms of awards can also be challenging for startups because there is no public market to easily set a contemporaneous per share stock price or provide liquidity for the award recipients. However, while stock options—both nonstatutory (NSO) and incentive (ISO)—and restricted stock awards (RSAs) remain the most popular and most recommended form of equity compensation, other forms—such as restricted stock units (RSUs) and stock appreciation rights (SARs)—are gaining popularity in certain markets, and we are being asked more and more frequently about these alternatives.

Adding to our previous discussions of adopting your first equity incentive plan, NSOs vs. ISOs and options for issuing employee equity in LLCs, we have put together the below quick reference charts, which are intended as high-level summaries of the most common equity incentive awards as well as some of the other less common awards available.  The following charts highlight some of the key features and tax consequences of each type of award, as well as some of the potential drawbacks associated with each:
Continue Reading Equity Compensation Alphabet Soup – ISO, NSO, RSA, RSU and more

CB Insights recently released its Pacific Northwest Investment and Exit Report, which analyzed private company investment and exit activity over the past five years. The report collected data from all activity sources, including venture capital, private equity, strategic corporate investments, corporate venture investors, angels, incubators and accelerators. Here are a few highlights from the report:

  • Since 2009, the number of deals closed per year has increased 144% (195 deals in 2009 vs. 475 deals in 2013), with the total annual investment amount increasing 81% ($780 million dollars invested in


Continue Reading Pacific Northwest Investment and Exit Report

Article prepared by and republished courtesy of our colleagues Steven Levitsky and Paolo Morante; originally published here: http://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/insights/publications/2014/05/merger-enforcement-actions-below-the-hsr-threshold/.

“Less is more” may be true in architecture, but in merger clearance law, “less” is still enough to trigger antitrust investigations and litigation and rescission of the whole transaction. By “less,” we mean less than the Hart-Scott-Rodino $75.9 million threshold.

The big case currently in the news underscoring this point is FTC v. St. Luke’s Health System. In January 2014, the Federal Trade Commission obtained a decision from the US District Court for Idaho ordering full divestiture of a non-reportable deal more than two years after the merger had been consummated.

But that result is actually old news. Contrary to popular opinion, the antitrust agencies have a long history of challenging deals well below the Hart-Scott-Rodino thresholds, even when the deals have already closed. And with the St. Luke’s case, they are warning again that no anti-competitive deal is immune from challenge, even if it is small.

What issues should you keep in mind to prevent a future disastrous challenge from the regulators? In this post, we briefly discuss the highlights of St. Luke’s and then close with 10 important points to keep in mind in upcoming M&A transactions.
Continue Reading You think your merger is too small for antitrust laws to apply…think again: Top 10 tips in non-reportable transactions

From our colleague, Ute Krudewagen

The CEO of an emerging growth company called me a while ago, a bit shocked after having seen the employment contracts that had just been issued to a couple of new hires in Hong Kong.  “How could they be longer than mine!?  Are you sure that is the approach we should take as we expand our operations?”

This CEO, like many US executives, employment lawyers and HR representatives, is accustomed to one- or two-page US-style at-will offer letters. But in many jurisdictions around the world,.
Continue Reading Top 10 Pitfalls in Managing Employment Contracts as You Go Global

Batts, Ed_Headshot.jpgCONTRIBUTED BY
Ed Batts
ed.batts@dlapiper.com

Proposed amendments to the Delaware General Corporations Law (DGCL) for 2014 aim to significantly streamline routine questions that often prove vexing for emerging growth companies and newly formed subsidiaries of larger companies.

It is a fact of life that people leave jobs.  They move to other cities, whether for family or lifestyle.  They quit for perceived greener pastures.  They retire.  Or they are hit by the proverbial bus.  Forming a company under Delaware law historically has had a pitfall:  a “sole incorporator” (often a paralegal) forms the initial company, one assumes promptly appoints one or more directors and then, one further assumes, immediately resigns.

But sometimes that paperwork is lost, overlooked (particularly if creating a new subsidiary for a larger company) or forgotten in the midst of workloads, or a company founder without the benefit of legal counsel did the incorporation and neglected to resign.  An existential crisis involving numerous lawyers scratching their heads can ensue if the resignation paperwork does not exist and the original sole incorporator cannot be located or refuses to cooperate.
Continue Reading Reducing startup brain damage: Delaware moves to further streamline corporate processes for emerging companies