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During the week of February 6th I had a chance to attend the annual VC Deal Camp in Berkeley. This camp is an intensive workshop geared towards attorneys and investors regularly engaged in the business of private equity financing. The following summaries and observations are derived from the camp and provided as educational briefings to my local entrepreneurs and investors.

What exactly is Venture Capital?

Hopefully, you know a little something more than what was portrayed in The Social Network. Maybe you’ve poured over the VC and investment discussions in, flipped through Brad Feld’s book Venture Deals or Paul Gompers’ The Venture Capital Cycle (both highly recommended), or even participated in a deal or two yourself. If not, you’ll want to begin your understanding of venture capital with this attractive infograph from, which identifies where a venture capitalist enters along the development lifecycle and what equity ownership consequences he or she brings.

Why Venture Capital?

Now that you understand the basics, a question may arise for you as to why one would accept a significant ownership dilution at the hands of a VC instead of choosing the more traditional route of bank financing. Greg LaBlanc of UC Berkeley’s Haas Business School stresses that it’s all about the relationship that is cemented with VC investment. One could go the debt financing route with a traditional bank, though regular interest payments are not ideal for a startup. More importantly, most banks are ill-equipped to offer the mentorship and business partnership opportunities of an established VC.

When you invite someone in with a slice of grandma’s famous rocky top pie, or in the more typical case a Stella, two-day old slice of Community Pie, and inside demo of your new next huge thing, you invite someone to take a vested interest in your success. A VC can thus be more instrumental than a consultant, stockholder, lender, or amalgam thereof. In this way, you can start to look at capital markets as sources of advice instead of cash; similarly, you can start to envision the VC pitch as a platform for a VC to sell to you, instead of the other way around.

More on financing, cap tables, and financing instruments in Part II…

About Kevin Christopher

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Kevin is founder and principal of Rockridge®. Kevin’s practice areas include corporate, patent and trademark law. He is an entrepreneur, NIH RADx faculty member and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) reviewer. He mentors impactful and innovative founders through First Flight Venture Center, Oak Ridge National Lab Innovation Crossroads, and Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale. Kevin has been recognized as a SuperLawyer by Thomson Reuters and Top Business Leader by Conscious Company Magazine. Read more about Kevin, connect with him, and Calendly him.

RVL recommended reading by Kevin:

Plainspeak IP: IP Fundamentalist of Fundamentals

Plainspeak IP: Social Media Influencers

Grading Georgia’s Public Benefit Corporation Law

Improving Your Trademark EQ: How to Choose a RAD Trademark

What is a Patent? Why do I Need One? How can I Get One? What’s it Gonna Cost Me?

Common Mistakes Made by Entrepreneurs

SECsy for the Sharks: Tips on Creating and Delivering Startup Pitches that Meet Federal Regulatory Requirements

About RVL®

Rockridge Venture Law® was launched in 2017 to become the preeminent intellectual property and technology firm across the Appalachian Innovation Corridor. We now have offices in Chattanooga, Durham, and Nashville, and represent clients and interests globally. Our services include all aspects of intellectual property, litigation, M&A, privacy, technology transactions, and ventures.

In 2018 and 2019, we were recognized as B Corp Best for the World for our commitment to triple bottom line business practices. Rockridge® is also certified by 1% for the Planet for its nonprofit partnerships advancing stewardship and sustainability. RVL’s nonprofit partners in 2020 include Green|Spaces, Living Lands and Waters, Mustard Seed Ranch, and the NC State Lulu Games Social and Environmental Impact Competition. We value transparency and proudly publish our yearly impact reports.

Our pioneering environmental and social impact programs attract top-notch legal talent and assure our clients of missional alignment with their corporate values. Rockridge uniquely addresses two modern profit drivers: innovation (uptake and development), and corporate social responsibility. We’re Building Today’s Company for Tomorrow’s Economy® by leading clients through the dizzying array of information controls, by helping them to develop and monetize proprietary assets, and by enabling their impactful products, programs, and principles.

Learn about global impact and innovation leaders at Rockridge I-Suite®.

See case studies on how we’ve helped transformative companies at Rockridge Case Studies.

Kevin Christopher

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