FP Portfolio event: Coming to America
Wednesday 2nd May saw Forward Partners get together with Dan Glazer at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (WSGR) and a handful of our portfolio companies to discuss a topic on the minds of many ambitious founders; how to take your company to the USA.
WSGR are a Palo Alto based law firm with offices across the US and the world. They built their reputation as the law firm of choice for technology business through representing the likes of Amazon, Google and Twitter amongst numerous other luminaries. The firm also represents companies in new, fast-growing sectors of the technology economy. Dan Glazer is on the ground in London building the WSGR practice and he is an expert in helping UK companies have a presence in the US. He works with many clients from early stage startups to Fortune 100 companies.
A key theme of the evening was the differences between UK and US legal council and we discussed how US lawyers typically do a much better job of building long term relationships with their clients. Dan brings this approach to the way he works and he enjoys advising not only on short-term technical legal points but on longer term commercial matters.
Though the UK and US share a common language Dan was keen to point out that, from many other perspectives, ‘doing business in the US is as different as doing business in China’. There’s much less of a DIY culture and it pays to engage with lawyers, tax advisors and other professional services earlier rather than later. Dan was happy to share his contacts and make introductions to his network. He was also happy to share the contacts he has who can help smooth the move and introduce you to grants, for example at the US Embassy, UK DIT and London & Partners.
We went into the detail of when to make the move and where to enter the US market amongst other things like IP, subsidiary vs flip, US negotiation tactics, engaging with US VCs and immigration (pro tip: if you’re visiting the US regularly and don’t have a visa make sure you have your story correct).
All in all, it was a hugely informative evening, in an informal setting held over a few glasses of wine and great meal.
Forward Partners is committed to going the extra mile to support our portfolio companies. The WSGR Coming to America Dinner followed hot on the heels of the GDPR Event we hosted with the experts at Wedlake Bell and precedes the grant writing workshop we will be hosting with Grant Tree in the coming weeks.