Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has announced a new service for fast growing businesses, WBD Accelerate, alongside a formal partnership with Yena, a virtual acceleration community that supports entrepreneurs and the growth of start-ups across the UK.
WBD Accelerate is headed up by Technology Partner, Alastair Mitton. He comments:
We understand that there are a whole range of challenges to be met in growing and scaling up a successful business and that legal considerations are only part of that jigsaw. However, making sure that the 'legals' are right from an early stage tends to pay dividends in saving time and reducing risk in the longer term. It's inevitably also a key part of securing investment, so can help stop potential issues becoming unexpected barriers to growth – often at just the wrong moment."
WBD Accelerate is a package of streamlined services which includes access to a range of legal experts experienced in advising businesses at a similar stage with a nominated legal 'mentor' as a first point of contact. There is also access to a growing number of commonly needed and focussed legal documents that can be produced on a self-service basis through the firm's platforms.
Created to help growing start-ups and scale-ups navigate the common issues facing fast growing companies, the objective of WBD Accelerate is to fast forward the legal foundations of the business in a user friendly way. As part of the service, the firm can provide guidance on common themes such as the different investment options available; pitfalls around the ownership and protection of key IP rights; arrangements between shareholders; the terms on which the company does business; questions around the collection of data and how to manage employment considerations.
The cross-practice team behind WBD Accelerate has many years of experience advising on the issues facing fast growing companies and has worked with a range of clients from early stages all the way through to exit. The more established organisations which the firm works with are also increasingly collaborating with earlier stage companies, particularly around the march of digitisation and the innovation that often entails, with WBD Accelerate therefore also providing a cross-over for that experience both ways.
This has now led to the firm becoming the official legal brand partner of Yena and it will work with the network and its other partners over the course of 2019 to support and grow the community through advice, educational content and mentoring as well as sponsorship of Yena's UK-based and international meetups. Mitton continues:
"At WBD we're committed to supporting ambitious local, national and international businesses with smart legal advice and innovative thinking. We came across Yena and the fantastic work it does for entrepreneurs when Ash – Yena's founder – spoke at our International Innovation Week in 2018 and instantly knew this was a business we wanted to work with."
Yena has gone from strength to strength since its founding in 2013. Starting out as a single meetup event in Bristol, it's now grown into a platform that connects start-ups with the resources they need to start and grow a business. Their meetups continue to grow too, as a social impact initiative now connecting over 4,500 of the next generation of founders & ambitious professionals for free at 120+ meetups a year across 16 cities globally.
Other Yena partners include business funder Ultimate Finance, Diageo-backed drinks investors Distill Ventures, app & software development company Rocketmakers and accounting firm FD Works.
Yena founder, Ash Phillips, comments:
“We are incredibly excited to have WBD on board to help support our journey to provide high quality business support to everyone, everywhere. It’s been really important for us to take the time to find the right partners and ensure they truly understand us, our mission and the needs of our community. In return, we hope to help them build better businesses by enabling them to access the talent of the future."