22 Jul 2021

Crowell & Moring unveils resource project for startups led by former Atrium trio

Michel Narganes, Jon O’Connell and Matthew Melville are founders of the firm’s GrowthStudio

Photographs of Jon O'Connell (left) and Michel Narganes

Jon O'Connell (left) and Michel Narganes

Crowell & Moring is launching an online resource platform for startups and emerging companies called GrowthStudio, which will be led by a group of former Atrium lawyers that joined the US firm last year in the wake of Atrium’s closure.

The GrowthStudio project will provide free legal and business content for entrepreneurs at every stage of the startup process, featuring guides, industry alerts, market trends and document generation tools. The firm is also partnering with startup support services such as the Founders Institute, VC Labs, Zane Access and other diversity-focused fund managers and innovation accelerators to help underrepresented groups access early-stage funding.

Michel Narganes, a partner in Crowell & Moring’s emerging companies and venture capital practice and former Atrium co-managing partner, said: “As former entrepreneurs who have been on the ground floor of a tech company, we understand the emerging company lifecycle – from concept to exit – and the challenges start-ups face.”

She added: “The Covid-19 pandemic has been an incubator for innovation, an accelerator for digital adoption and a catalyst for VC and investment activity. The world is now experiencing its greatest appetite for doing things differently, which is why we created a portal with easy access resources for founders who are looking for more efficient ways of pursuing financing and growth.”

One of those resources is called Simple Series A, a collection of downloadable documents that can help startups prepare for their first capital raising, based on the team’s experience of closing more than 200 deals for such companies over the past several years.

Jon O’Connell, another former Atrium partner and a founder of Crowell & Moring’s GrowthStudio alongside Narganes, said: “Building on the group’s experience and commitment working with early-stage companies and venture capital investors, we have developed Simple Series A, which we believe can be an excellent process for the emerging companies and venture capital community to negotiate and document a start-up’s first equity-financing.” 

He added that while the documents don’t eliminate the need for hiring outside counsel, they can reduce the costs associated with drafting financing documents. While Series A financing rounds can typically take three to six weeks to close, GrowthStudio’s suite of customisable financing documents can help save time by streamlining the drafting process.

Matthew Melville, who also joined Crowell & Moring last year from Atrium where he was co-managing partner, said: “We want to help start-ups manage a business with less cost, greater efficiency and more transparency.”

Others looking to answer the legal needs of startups include Australian online law firm Sprintlaw, which announced in June that it was launching in the UK to focus on the startup and small business legal market after raising $1m in funding earlier this year. The tech-powered firm provides more than 100 fixed-fee legal services to cover a range of business needs, automating tasks such as business set up, commercial leases, contracting, IP and franchising. It also offers subscription services and operates under a legal consultancy model. 

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