Pepper Hamilton LLP today announced that the firm assisted more than 15 SEED Program clients in obtaining financing in 2018, with investments ranging from $400,000 to $25 million. Through the firm’s program for startup and early-stage entrepreneurial development — Pepper SEED™ — Pepper Hamilton attorneys work with emerging companies to provide a solid and affordable legal foundation while developing a long-term relationship between business and advisor.
The firm also announced today that its attorneys worked on more than 35 venture financings for startup and early-stage clients in 2018, with combined transaction values exceeding $178 million.
Through the SEED Program, Pepper Hamilton has advised hundreds of innovative startups as they launched businesses in the health sciences, technology, retail and social media industries, among others. Accepted participants in the SEED Program benefit from a unique alternative fee structure, where, for a nominal entry fee, they receive a full suite of essential basic legal documents, effective legal counseling, and mentoring in areas such as board development and management, business plan review, and investor relations. Pepper Hamilton attorneys also leverage their extensive array of relationships to introduce SEED Program clients to angel groups, seed funds and venture capital funds.
Notably, six SEED Program clients also “graduated” to Phase II of the program in 2018 as a result of their significant financing. In Phase II, all of the firm’s services are provided at a discount to standard rates as agreed to and reviewed annually.
“When a Pepper SEED client ‘graduates,’ it’s a real milestone,” said Christopher S. Miller, partner and co-chair of the program. “Graduating from the SEED Program is more than just meeting a financial benchmark, it’s proof of concept for these startups and an indicator of continued and ongoing success. We are very proud to play a role in the achievements of every Pepper SEED graduate.”
Several Pepper SEED clients also made notable showings at venture conferences like the PACT Capital Conference in Philadelphia. This signature event of the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies is the oldest, most established venture conference in the Northeast. Out of the 36 presenting companies at the conference, three of the best are chosen for the “Lion’s Den,” where they present their pitches to a panel of entrepreneurs who make investment commitments live in front of an audience. Two of the three companies selected for the 2018 Lion’s Den — TalexMedical LLC and MNI— were Pepper SEED clients, and MNI walked away from the competition with a $850,000 funding commitment.
The PACT Capital Conference is just one of the many events the Pepper SEED Program sponsors and attends. Other events include the New England Venture Summit, New York Venture Summit, EY Entrepreneur of Year awards, Invent Penn State Venture & IP Conference, and Michigan Growth Capital Symposium. Pepper Hamilton also regularly sponsors and attends events hosted by Mid-Atlantic Diamond Ventures, OCTANe in Orange County, Innovation Works in Pittsburgh, and Women Founders Network in Los Angeles.
The Pepper SEED Program also has relationships with a number of private and university-based incubators, including 1776 (formerly known as Benjamin’s Desk) and incubators at the University of Pennsylvania, Penn State, MIT and University of Delaware, among others. Pepper Hamilton also partners with the Sixers Innovation Lab, an incubator housed in the Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex, to counsel its startups.
“The attorneys who work with Pepper’s startup and early-stage clients are more than just legal advisors,” said Thomas P. Dwyer, partner and co-chair of the firm’s Emerging Growth Group. “We are deeply committed to the startup community and very involved with other organizations that are supporting and funding emerging companies. This allows us to provide the best business advice to our clients and helps us make connections between companies and funding sources.”