More Than a Great Idea: How an Experienced Legal Partner Can Help Launch a Successful Startup

More Than a Great Idea: How an Experienced Legal Partner Can Help Launch a Successful Startup

By Elizabeth Sigety

Every great startup starts with a great idea.

But, over the past three decades, after investing in countless emerging companies through the Delaware Crossing Investor Group, my angel network, and working with entrepreneurs and investors through my role as an attorney and Chair of Fox Rothschild’s Emerging Companies & Venture Capital practice, I’m confident in saying one thing: Success requires much, much more than just a great idea.

Founders and investors need the help of experienced legal advisers to develop a thriving business. That’s why I started Fox Launchpad, my firm’s virtual incubator and resource center for early-stage companies. It’s also the reason I developed our Startup Package, a flat-rate, discounted collection of legal services designed to position businesses for years of future success and help them establish the financial and legal structures investors expect.

Clients choose Fox Rothschild for many reasons, not the least of which is our deep understanding of what an investor is looking for in a startup. I am frequently shocked at the poor quality of investment documentation that founders present to Delaware Crossing when seeking investment. It is often clear that the companies lack experienced legal and financial support and that the lead investors have not engaged experienced counsel to review the documentation. It doesn’t take long for an experienced attorney looking at investment documentation to determine if the terms and documentation are within the realm of acceptability.

Companies that participate in Fox Launchpad rely on my team’s ability to get them ready for launch. We make sure founders understand the strategy and legal foundation that underpins their company. Once they graduate from the program, we enjoy working with them through all stages of growth and exit.

“There is a lot of new information coming at you when you start a business,” Kirthika Parmeswaran, CEO of Vital Start Health, recently told me. “They explain everything to you really well.”

Vital Start is a health care technology company that treats perinatal mood and anxiety disorders with the assistance of virtual and augmented reality technology. The company is launching a number of new services through reimbursements to provide equitable care for birthing persons and partners.

Kirthika and I met about six years ago at the Angel Venture Fair in Philadelphia. I got to know her as a person and saw the potential in her work. Like many of my clients, Kirthika was looking for more from her attorney than discounted hourly fees and some free forms. She wanted a partner she could trust.

“We don’t just have a legal relationship. We have a lifelong friendship,” said Piyush Sadana, Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer of Ricovr, a medical device technology company that is developing a breakthrough portable diagnostic platform capable of detecting recent use of marijuana at workplace or roadside. The company’s product pipeline includes rapid testing for drugs, reproductive health and infectious diseases.

Piyush loves that we are able to serve as a one-stop shop for all of his company’s legal needs, from key employment agreements to intellectual property protection. Plus, he was able to tap into our collective experience when they solicited another round of financing.

“Fox Launchpad is the best investment you can make,” said Piyush. “Their expertise is priceless.”

The problem many cash-strapped founders face when they are first starting out is that they must do everything they can to save money. If the choice is between making payroll or calling their attorney to ask a simple question, they usually don’t pick up the phone.

That can create untold problems later, when investors start conducting due diligence or when the IRS comes calling. For that reason, the Fox Launchpad program is designed to encourage companies to call.

“They are always there for us,” said Justin Brach, CEO of both Solarquote, which sells solar panels to residential consumers, and Subcontractor Hub, which helps contractors streamline their sales process. “And we can trust them to handle whenever we throw their way.”

He said my team can foresee potential future problems and put in measures to protect his companies.

“They really understand the founder’s journey,” said Kirthika, of Vital Start. “From all angles.”

Vital Start, Ricovr, Solar Quote and Subcontractor Hub have all graduated from Fox Launchpad over the years. They have secured seed investments and are now preparing for their next steps.

We do everything we can to ensure our investor clients make wise decisions and help our startup clients successfully launch.  I want nothing more than to see them fly.

For more information about the Emerging Companies & Venture Capital practice of Fox Rothschild, including the Fox Launchpad or its Startup Package, please contact Elizabeth Sigety at 215.918.3554 or