On Tuesday, November 1st the ESD Alliance hosted the second in a series of panels on legal issues affecting small and emerging technology companies. This event was titled, “Legal Steps to Maximize your Exit Value“.

Mark Cameron White, a partner at White Summers Caffee & James LLP and Corporate Secretary to the ESD Alliance for over 20 years, moderated the discussion on how legal considerations such as IP design, market rights, equity pricing and vesting, the framework of strategic partnerships, legal structure and pre-deal tax planning help to maximize a successful business exit strategy. Mark was joined by a deeply experienced panel of M&A specialists including Neil Shroff of Orion Capital (boutique M&A banking firm), Tom Maier of Fudderman Dupree (M&A tax partner), Dennis Fernandez of White Summers (IP strategy & patent lawyer) and Warren Savage of IPextreme (founder/CEO – recently acquired by Silvaco). [Panelist bios below.]

At this important event, attendees learned key valuation issues and techniques – and more nuanced positioning strategies to build and lock-in enterprise value on exit transactions. Plus, how to avoid giving it all back to your buyer later!

Preview of the audio recording of the panel session. ESD Alliance members can hear the full audio (login required).

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Mark White, Partner, White Summers Caffee & James, LLP
Mark White is a founding partner of White Summers Caffee & James LLP (formerly White & Lee), and leads the firm’s international practice. Mark represents emerging growth, mid-stage and mezzanine stage companies and investment funds on all matters relating to the formation, financing, growth and liquidity of technology-based enterprises. Over the span of 20 years Mark has represented companies in well over 500+ financings and over 200+ acquisitions. He represents and advises companies on a wide variety of transactional matters, including business and legal issues as they pertain to complex strategic and venture financings, acquisitions, and licensing and distribution arrangements.

Mark’s practice principally covers corporate, technology, financing and corporate partnering matters for a wide variety of private and public company clients. He regularly advises companies on strategic positioning, business model and revenue generation issues, the preparation of investment materials and presentations, and the structure of complex corporate reorganizations, joint ventures, divestitures, consolidations and commercial partnerships. Mark also represents investment funds on formation issues and regularly represents investors in making portfolio investments

Dennis Fernandez, Director, Head of Intellectual Property Practice, White Summers Caffee & James, LLP
Dennis has over twenty-years experience in Silicon Valley and High-Tech Industry, as a patent prosecutor and intellectual property litigator, a venture capitalist, and an engineering manager. He specializes in developing offensive and defensive patent strategies for start-up electronics, software and biotech companies and their investors.

Dennis serves as strategic advisor to leading venture capital firms, including Sevin Rosen, Venrock, Charles River Ventures, and Walden International. Representative clients include Marvell Technology, SiRF Technology, Ayala Corporation, Stanford University, and Northwestern University, as well as various start-up companies acquired by Cisco, Broadcom, Ciena, and Cadence Design Systems.

He also serves on the Editorial Board of the Nanotechnology Law & Business Journal, the Board of Directors of the Association of Patent Law Firms, and the Science and Technology Advisory Council. Previously Dennis served on a consultancy with the United Nations Development Programme on Asian economic development.

Dennis is also an inventor of several U.S. and international patents in the areas of digital television, sensor networks, and bioinformatics. He has an Electrical Engineering degree from Northwestern University, a law degree from Suffolk University Law School, and is a Registered U.S. Patent Attorney.

Tom Maier, Partner, Futterman Dupree Dodd Croley Maier LLP
Tom Maier has been a practicing attorney since 1980. His practice focuses on tax and business law. In recent years, Tom has worked extensively with growth companies and investors in growth companies, structuring transactions for equity and debt financing and implementing employee stock plans. Tom also has experience in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, commercial contract negotiation and executive compensation. He regularly represents US and foreign companies in the planning and negotiation of international business transactions. He is qualified with the California State Bar Association as a certified tax specialist. Tom is a partner with the San Francisco law firm of Futterman Dupree Dodd Croley Maier LLP; he received his J.D. in 1979 from the School of Law at U.C. Berkeley (Boalt Hall) and his LL.M. degree in 1980 from New York University Law School.

Warren Savage, General Manger of IP, Silvaco, Inc.
Warren Savage serves as the General Manager of Silvaco’s newly formed IP Division as well as Chair of the ESD Alliance Semiconductor IP Working Group. He has spent his entire career in Silicon Valley with engineering and management roles in leading companies including Fairchild Semiconductor, Tandem Computers, Synopsys, and most recently with IPextreme.

He is a widely recognized expert in the field of semiconductor intellectual property and with building IP businesses beginning with Synopsys (DesignWare) in 1995 and the founding of IPextreme in 2004, which was acquired by Silvaco in 2016.

Warren holds a BS in Computer Engineering from Santa Clara University and an MBA from Pepperdine University.

Neil Shroff, Managing Director, Orion Capital
Neil has a diverse background with 20 years in mergers and acquisitions, executive management, and management consulting experience. In his early career, Neil was a management consultant at SRI (formerly Stanford Research Institute) International and then an SRI spin-off consulting firm where he focused on developing strategic recommendations for numerous clients in the biotech, medical device, and material technology industries. Subsequently, Neil managed a manufacturing portfolio company of Jefferies Capital Partners where he led the company’s swift turnaround and created a division which led to his next venture, a manufacturing design and outsourcing firm. During his ownership, Neil acquired two strategic companies and led the sale of the company. Following the sale, Neil started Orion Capital Group, a boutique M&A firm and continues to get the itch to start new companies. Most recently, Neil has started an online education company that was recently acquired and then served as the CEO of a venture-backed DNA sequencing startup that merged with another industry player.

Neil regularly gives speeches and presentations to CEO and industry groups nationwide and is regularly quoted in Inc, Entrepreneur, Businessweek, Forbes and the SV Business Journal regarding M&A and increasing private company. He also teaches a course at Stanford on mergers and acquisitions and mentors startups in accelerating growth. Neil has been named a top 40 Under 40 by The M&A Advisor.

Organized by:

Steve Pollock, Chair, ESD Alliance Emerging Companies Committee
Mark White, Partner, White Summers Caffee & James, LLP