Reducing legal fees with standard documents for seed-stage deals

May 26, 2011

There seems to be a lot of discussion among VC's and lawyers on the coasts about the proper legal vehicle for seed-stage deals (e.g., here, here and here) and ways to streamline the legal documents (and thereby to minimize the legal fees) . As the founder of a legal practice devoted to serving startups at a reasonable cost, I am keenly interested in these subjects.

One really interesting set of documents is called Series Seed, an open-source legal project being curated by a Bay-Area venture capital attorney. His premise is that there are not that many issues to negotiate in a simple equity financing and that the Series Seed documents represent the 95% consensus of what should be in a very basic set of equity financing documents. 

The set of documents assumes that the round uses a C Corporation structure, which works fine for some startups though others may have reasons to prefer a flow-through entity such as a LLC. It would certainly be possible, of course, to create an equivalent set of documents for a LLC. 

I'm digging into the Series Seed documents now. I'll post some thoughts down the road. I would be interested to know what others think as well. It's time for the Midwest to weigh in with some opinions here.