Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Series Seed Documents–With an Assist From Andreessen Horowitz–To Help Entrepreneurs With Legal Hairballs

Series Seed Documents, templated documents for entrepreneurs to use for seed-stage deals, will be launched today, part of an effort by Silicon Valley lawyer Ted Wang and pushed by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

The point: So new entrepreneurs don’t waste time and money negotiating often unnecessarily complex legal papers.

Series Seed Documents was planning its announcement tonight, after briefing reporters. But BoomTown was alerted to the move by a tweet last week from Fenwick & West lawyer Wang that read: “Excited about launching Series Seed documents next week.”


The Twitter post has since been taken down (but here is an image of it, below, natch!).

“Who even knew that a corporate attorney would have a Twitter account?” joked Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz in an interview this morning.

Actually, Wang (pictured here) is Twitter’s lawyer!

His practice, which focuses on representation of “emerging companies,” as noted on his Fenwick & West Web site, also includes Aardvark, Billshrink, Clicker, Facebook, Flixster and Widgetbox.

Andreessen Horowitz, which was the first to agree to use Series Seed Documents, will be joined by a spate of high-profile angel and early-stage investors.

The group includes SV Angel’s Ron Conway, First Round Capital, “micro-cap” investor Mike Maples, SoftTechVC’s Jeff Clavier, True Ventures, Polaris Ventures, Charles River Ventures and Harrison Metal.

“We want to make the process as transparent as possible, which is to say, we want to take all the mystery out it,” said Andreessen. “And it is online for everyone to understand.”

Of course, noted Andreessen, the price for the round is still open to negotiation, but wrangling over typically standard legal issues often hurts deals.

“The big reason we are doing it is that we think for these early stage round, bashing over these terms does damage only brings mistrust,” he said.

Andreessen noted that this template approach is only appropriate for small, early rounds of about $500,000 to $1 million.

“VCs who do angel rounds should be acting like a VC in a VC round and acting like an angel in an angel round,” he said. “The problems come when VCs act like VCs in angel rounds.”

Andreessen said using Series Seed Documents would cost start-ups about $7,000 compared with a low of $15,000 and up to $100,000 in many similar deals.

“It helps streamline the process and makes starting a company easier and more efficient,” said Conway of SV Angel, who is a well-known angel investor. “And cheaper–all in all, it is a benefit to both the entrepreneur and the investor.”

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— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle