José Ancer

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José Ancer is initially a startup lawyer, with a consumer portfolio of startups of assorted phases based mostly round Texas and different comparable ecosystems outdoors of Silicon Valley. He’s additionally the CTO of Egan Nelson LLP, a boutique agency, the place he actively can also be constructing automation software program to assist the agency compete in opposition to bigger corporations. He additionally writes on his weblog “Silicon Hills Lawyer” publicly and pointedly about his career — and sometimes takes photographs at sure practices frequent amongst startup legislation corporations, together with Silicon Valley corporations. You will get a way of what’s within the full interview through these excerpts.


On not being “owned” by VCs and repeat gamers

“José has a depth of experience in startup/firm formation/funding points and may be very founder-friendly. He was capable of information us by means of our seed stage whereas staying environment friendly and protecting the billing affordable.” Mary Haskett, Austin, Texas, CEO, Blink Identification
“I imagine, and our shoppers would verify, that independence from the VC/repeat participant neighborhood, mixed with deep data of startup financing and high-stakes company governance (board points), permits us to say issues, do issues, and even write issues (on my weblog) that the startup neighborhood completely must see and listen to, however that “captive” attorneys have been unwilling to supply due to the very actual danger of retaliation from influential cash gamers who refer them enterprise. I’ve change into a little bit of a bête noire of attorneys who’ve constructed their practices by flouting conflicts of curiosity and dealing as firm counsel regardless of being “owned” by VCs throughout the desk.”
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On early-stage and being “right-sized”

“I wrote a weblog submit referred to as ‘The Downside With Chasing Whales.’ It talks about this downside of entrepreneurs hiring legislation corporations which are overkill for what they’re constructing. We’ve had plenty of shoppers swap to us from the marquee legislation agency names, and whereas the most important criticism is price — our charges are a whole bunch of an hour decrease as a result of we hold our overhead very lean, whereas nonetheless having top-tier attorneys and lean infrastructure for scalability — one other frequent criticism is responsiveness. You’ve received one million greenback convertible observe deal that you’ll want to get achieved, and to you and your staff, that deal is the world, however the BigLaw lawyer you’re working with has IPOs and unicorn offers pushing your deal to the again of the road. It’s an actual downside. Our goal profile consumer exits underneath $300M in a non-public deal; which is a sort of startup that we expect has been very underserved by the standard hyper-growth oriented legislation corporations out there.”

On authorized know-how and automation

“I spend plenty of time speaking to authorized tech entrepreneurs, as a result of effectivity through authorized tech has all the time been a core worth proposition of our agency. As I’ve reviewed and contemplated numerous instruments, one factor I’ve all the time come again to is that this unavoidable rigidity between flexibility and automation. Software program, even leading edge machine studying, can solely deal with a minimal degree of variation earlier than it breaks down and turns into extra trouble (and price) than it’s value… Some corporations have opted to lean very closely on the quick automation and standardization aspect, and settle for the rigidity that it inevitably introduces into their workflows… We’ve consciously gone a special course… Our shoppers are likely to assume that constraining the recommendation startups get by boxing it into rigid software program (and pricing) will not be solely a penny-wise, pound-foolish confusion of priorities; it’s additionally precisely the type of method that advantages buyers on the expense of one-shot frequent stockholders.”

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Beneath, you’ll discover the remainder of the founder critiques, the total interview, and extra particulars like their pricing and charge buildings.

This text is a part of our ongoing collection masking the early-stage startup attorneys who founders like to work with, based mostly on this survey we’ve got open and our personal analysis. For those who’re a founder attempting to navigate the early-stage authorized landmines, you’ll want to take a look at our ongoing collection lawyer interviews, plus in-depth articles like this guidelines of what you’ll want to get achieved on the company aspect in your first years as an organization.


The Interview

Eric Eldon: You’re fairly outspoken in regards to the state of startup legislation lately. Break it down for me: what’s Egan Nelson doing in another way from the opposite legislation corporations on the market?

José Ancer: For those who have a look at the startup authorized market, everybody is aware of the marquee, excessive priced corporations. They characterize Fb, Uber, Palantir, Apple, and so forth. However once you pay these corporations $700 an hour, for instance, 25% ballpark goes to compensation for the attorneys doing the primary work. 75% is paying for different stuff. So then the query clearly turns into, how a lot of that different stuff is de facto crucial?

Our view is that there’s this phase of the startup market, and I name them non-unicorns, that’s much more critical and scaled than what a tiny agency or solo lawyer can deal with, however for whom BigLaw is totally overkill. We see these corporations much more in locations like Austin, Denver, Seattle, New York, and so forth., and it’s why our focus is on these markets. 

For those who have a look at our attorneys’ credentials, you’ll see a complete lot of Stanford, Yale, Harvard, and so forth., in addition to marquee agency alumni. What you received’t discover at our agency is ludicrously costly workplace area, cute occasions that don’t have anything to do with authorized counsel, or armies of workers that don’t ship actual worth to the end-service for shoppers.

Our authorized expertise is paid very nicely, however our overhead infrastructure is designed for corporations that promote as a non-public firm for underneath $300 million, or maybe function indefinitely as worthwhile corporations. These are “startups” that could be derisively labeled as “doubles” or “singles” in components of Silicon Valley, however we expect have been considerably underserved by the market.


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