Starting a company is hard. There are so many hurdles to overcome, and today’s macro-environment certainly doesn’t make things any easier. However, we do believe that there are steps that can be taken to ensure that companies starting up today can do so with practical guidance and support to avoid expensive mistakes down the line.
That’s why we’re excited to launch Seedsummit, a collaborative effort by law firms and early-stage VCs to support European founders by bringing transparency to the key legal documents needed when starting and building a company.
On a mission to make the lives of founders easier, Seedsummit offers a free, one-stop shop for a startup’s legal journey from the moment they incorporate to their first institutional round. The European initiative focuses initially on founders incorporated in the UK, France, Portugal, Denmark, and Germany, with more countries to come in 2023.
“When I first became a founder, legals were a black box to me. Seedsummit gave me the confidence to know what to look out for when I started working with a lawyer,” says Imi Faghmous, Co-Founder of Inovia Bio, one of our portfolio companies.
Started in 2009 with an open-sourced term sheet, the Seedsummit initiative has since evolved into a full-stack platform featuring key documents across Europe’s main startup hubs. Legal documents include a founders’ agreement to help jumpstart company building, employment documents, and privacy policies to build out the business, and financing documents to raise a first institutional round.
“Seedsummit is a community effort to make the essential legal matters more fair, affordable, and transparent for founders,” says Carlos Espinal, Managing Partner of Seedcamp and one of the initiators of Seedsummit. “In our current macro environment, where startups need to preserve capital, the Seedsummit initiative offers much-needed support to streamline speed and costs. Furthermore, as the European tech ecosystem matures, the legal framework also needs to evolve to better serve founders’ needs and ultimately support the sustainable growth of the whole ecosystem.”
“Too frequently do we come across founder documents that are unnecessarily complicated and not in the best interest of a founding team. Seedsummit serves as the go-to-resource for early-stage companies to get more transparency about what ‘good’ looks like when it comes to early-stage legals. I’m excited about a future in which founders know what legal terms they can push back on whilst building and raising their first institutional round,” adds Kate McGinn from our investment team.
We are pleased to have incredible, long-term partners among Europe’s top law firms, with contributors including Orrick, Withers, Mazanti, Goodwin, and Cooley. Our VC industry friends Northzone, Molten, Cherry Ventures, Episode 1, and Tiny VC are also among the supporting organisations.
“Seedsummit has been a very important part of the technology ecosystem since its inception, helping founders to navigate the often complicated legal landscape. Many technology startups (including our clients!) have benefited from the resources that they are able to access from Seedsummit. We are privileged and honored to have been involved with this committed and experienced group since the very beginning, and also to participate in its growth in response to changing times,” highlight Tina Baker and James Shaw, the cofounders of the London-based dedicated technology law firm Jag Shaw Baker, which joined Withers LLP in 2018 and is now known as Withers tech.
“Really this is only the beginning. We’re excited to bring on board more partners and collaborate to take Seedsummit to more startup hubs across Europe, supporting founders at those crucial early stages of company building,” adds Vanessa Vasquez, our Head of Legal.
Seedsummit also includes go-to resources and legal documents for angels to participate in early-stage fundraising rounds.
For more information and to access the documents, visit seedsummit.org.