VentureDocs: Automated Legal Documents for Startups Raising Money
Oct 5, 2012
VentureDocs provides legal documents for startups raising early-stage funding or doing crowdfunding. Its cofounders span the startup, investment, and legal industries: CEO Bo Sartain was a venture capital attorney, Thad Leingang started the Startup Conference in Mountain View, Jeremiah Howell founded three businesses, and Vince Salinas was raised by a lawyer.
Tech Cocktail: What are your startup’s goals for this year?
We’re going to change the entire industry by creating THE industry standard documents and THE manner in which they are prepared. We start with awesome documents which were prepared by Silicon Valley leading law firms, automate them and make them available to everybody, and price a fully-customized, ready-to-sign document set in a manner where people would be crazy not to use it.
Tech Cocktail: How does VentureDocs actually work and why would someone want to use it?
VentureDocs’s system provides the user with a simple, intuitive questionnaire for the document(s) that the user desires. The menu of questions builds dynamically, based on the user’s previous answers. The user decides exactly which terms and conditions the documents will feature. The user may preview fully-assembled documents in the browser before committing to a purchase, and upon purchase immediately receives one or more customized Microsoft Word files ready for signature or fine tuning if needed. The initial offering on the beta site includes online questionnaires and software for incorporations, LLC formations, stock option plans, preferred stock financings, convertible note financings, common stock financings, and various commercial agreements.
The reason why startups and investors would want to use VentureDocs is simple. Startups using big law firms in Silicon Valley spend about $80,000 on legal expenses to get incorporated and raise a seed round. $80,000! We have to get these costs under control. VentureDocs will prepare all of this documentation for about $2,000.
Tech Cocktail: Does VentureDocs actually replace a lawyer?
VentureDocs is a service for the lawyers, too. Lawyers that automate their practice and use VentureDocs can minimize fee issues with startup company clients and scale their businesses.
Experienced angel and institutional investors and experienced entrepreneurs may feel comfortable using VentureDocs as a do-it-yourself service, but these cases are rare. An important feature of the service is the popup help. VentureDocs demystifies many esoteric legal terms. The help is intended to walk the user through the questionnaires, explaining why the term is there, what it means and what the customary ranges are. But our goal is not to replace or be a substitute for the attorneys, just make them and the whole process much more efficient. In most cases, the ideal situation will be for the startup company or investor and its lawyer to use VentureDocs together.
Guest author Bradley Joyce is a serial entrepreneur addicted to the startup grind. He is the founder of Velocis, a software design & development agency, as well asSocialyzer, a predictive social analytics platform. Bradley is also the founder of LAUNCH DFW, a non-profit dedicated to supporting and promoting tech entrepreneurship in the Dallas – Fort Worth metroplex. When he’s not busy running his companies and spreading the word about Dallas startups, you can find Bradley playing guitar, riding his longboard or traveling between Dallas, his hometown of Portland and his adopted paradise of Lima, Perú.