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Forming and Funding: Emerging Companies, Venture Capital & Securities

Founders & Entrepreneurs. We work with entrepreneurs that not only build companies, but build movements. Whether rooted in green technology and sustainability, novel pharmaceuticals and medical devices, or developing new ways to extract, analyze, and display data, emerging growth companies achieve rapid scale by exploiting under-developed markets and models.  With cash flow at a premium, entrepreneurs fund and capitalize their ventures by winning grants and pitch competitions, paying service providers in equity, and eventually, obtaining funding from angel investors, venture capitalists, and private equity sponsors. 

We team with founders at the earliest stages of a venture’s life cycle to navigate and understand complex securities, regulatory, and financial matters.  Early issues like perfecting intellectual property rights, establishing vesting schedules, and conducting private offerings of securities are make-or-break for a successful business. Navigating these early issues requires experienced counsel that understands these unique markets, financial structures, and the expectations and tactics of investors. 

At Rockridge®, our model is to grow with you, so that your success is our success–and we can lead you all the way from seed, to Series C, to IPO. We often facilitate client successes through fixed-fee packages that promote communication, efficiency, and transparency.  With us, you can spend your time and money growing your business, instead of negotiating the bill. 

The best lawyers are those who seamlessly blend with founders and integrate their activities into growth operations of the company. “Counselor” derives from counsel, after all; in other words, a regular advisor for business activities. Sometimes it is easier for early or new founders to understand the types of transactional support we offer. These include:


Confidential Information and Invention Assignment Agreements Convertible Notes 

Corporate Governance and Structuring 

Delaware Incorporation 

Operating Agreements 

Public Benefit Corporations

SAFE Agreements

Shareholder and Buy-Sell Agreements
Stock Plans and Employee Equity Preferred Stock

Venture Raise

Investors, Venture Capitalists, and Private Equity Sponsors. Our team of D.C., New York, and Silicon Valley expats counsel investors, venture capitalists, and private equity sponsors on formation, due diligence, and complex financial strategies. From small to large-cap funds alike we counsel investors not only on venture deals and growth investments, mezzanine financings, and LBOs, but also on the tax strategies (e.g, tax-free rollovers), regulatory hurdles, and fiduciary obligations. By leveraging our experience as hard science Ph.Ds,  National Institute of Health RADx advisors, and NVCA members, we provide the expertise necessary to evaluate the technical and proprietary assets that justify the underlying investment and close the deal. Our access to deal flow allows our clients to leverage our experience to better understand the market.

Associated Blogs, Presentations, Publications

ArticlesForming and Funding
January 18, 2021

Finders: Compensation for Connecting Investors & Startups

Photo by Josh Woroniecki via Pexels. Startups and emerging companies often require large amounts of capital to get off the ground or to scale.  With a lack of significant revenue…
ArticlesForming and Funding
November 30, 2020

Aligning Stakeholder Interests: Employee Equity Compensation

A crucial factor in scaling a business is the ability to obtain, retain, and motivate a talented workforce. Turnover can cost employers 33% of an employee’s annual salary and others…
ArticlesForming and Funding
October 22, 2020

Anatomy of a Seed Round 

Anatomy of a Seed Round: Early Stage Equity Fundraising Being a young professional and new mother, no one knows quite like Sarah that there just aren’t enough hours in the…
ArticlesForming and Funding
May 28, 2019

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

As an advisor to multiple entrepreneurship centers, I see a lot of pitches. Consistently they overstate markets and often undistinguished total addressable markets; this is to be expected. Increasingly, they…
ArticlesForming and Funding
January 10, 2019

Common Mistakes Made by Entrepreneurs

Being an entrepreneur is not easy. In order to succeed, you need a marketable idea, a solid team to rely on, and an incredible amount of energy and determination. You…
ArticlesForming and FundingGovernment Contracts
January 10, 2019

SBIR – An Entrepreneur’s Best Source of Early-Stage, Non-Dilutive Funding

What is this SBIR? The absolute first thing you should know about the Small Business Innovation Research program is that it's acronym is articulated sequentially by letter (i.e., "S-B-I-R").  …

Lead Attorney Profiles

Kevin Christopher


• B Corp Best For The World
• Berkeley Form + Fund Fellow
• Conscious Company® Top 22 Business Leader
• NIH RADx Faculty Member
• Real Leaders® Top 150
• Registered Patent Attorney
• SuperLawyers® Mid-South
• Yale CBE Business Leader


Shayn Fernandez

Corporate Lead

• B Corp Best For The World
• Real Leaders® Top 150

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Historic James Building
735 Broad Street, STE 1001
Chattanooga, TN 37402

Nashville Entrepreneur Center
41 Peabody St.
Nashville, TN 37210
(For client and partnership meetings only)

The Yale Club
50 Vanderbilt Ave.
New York, NY 10017
(For client and partnership meetings only)


RVL® is a business, intellectual property, and technology firm, building today’s companies for tomorrow’s economy.