Don’t just hire a law firm, build your team…
We could list the several billion dollars of deals we have done.
We could give you the books we have published.
Or the many articles we have written.
But that would only tell you what other law firms tell you.
When you hire us, you are building your team. Teammates really need to know more than a list of professional accomplishments. You need to know the full story.
So here it is:
We promise our clients innovation. It’s a no-holds-barred sport. We help you win by:
- Asking difficult questions
- Posing hypotheses
- Challenging assumptions
Jim is an unusual combination of theoretician and street smarts. Discover the man behind the book and the law:
If I had to describe myself in one short sentence it would be: “Jim is an unusual combination of theoretical strategist and street smarts.”
I learned my street smarts driving a taxi cab in New York City and my legal theory from working at a New York law firm with some of the best securities lawyers in the country.
Both have been critically important throughout my career as I have advised entrepreneurs and investors in several billion $$$ of capital-raising and other transactions.
Most of my transactions have been private securities offerings and venture capital investments in the range of $1 million to $10 million, but I’ve done much larger public offerings registered with the SEC and a $1+ billion biotech licensing deal. Most of my clients have been in the information technology and biomedical industries.
Check out the list of transactions my partner Benji Jones and I have done. Our transactions list is evidence that we have a lot of experience, but there’s more to being a good adviser that just knowing how to paper deals.
Here are some other things you might want to consider in choosing your trusted adviser and counselor. In addition to driving a taxicab and practicing law, I am a teacher, a journalist and an author. I apply the experience of all these professions to helping clients.
Negotiating and Counseling Experience
In “bet-the-company” situations, advice and negotiating skills are more important than document production skills.
Take a look at my YouTube Channel for examples of how my “checkered past” has enabled me to help clients, including:
- How my mother taught me how to negotiate
- How I scared off a US Senator who was going to make a client’s life miserable
- How I negotiated a $1+ billion license agreement that brought a life-saving biotech drug to market, which served as the basis for the movie “Extraordinary Measures” (starring Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser)
- How mimicking Clint Eastwood in tough negotiations sometimes gets your clients more than they initially asked for
- How I negotiated computer games rights to works by best-selling authors like Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton
I have opinions about a wide range of business technology and legal issues, which I share with the community through a number of media outlets.
- I write a newspaper column about business, technology, and legal issues for Triangle Business Journal, which has been republished by several dozen newspapers around the country, including in the country’s primary technology centers, including Silicon Valley, Boston, and Austin.
- I’m an active blogger about capital raising subjects. Before we launched Innovate Capital’s blog, I blogged at Gateway Capital X and Entrepreneur Intersection.
- I regularly speak and write on Venture Capital, Crowdfunding, Fintech, Blockchain/COINS and related matters at continuing legal education courses and business and economic development groups.
- I conducted a series of Crowdfunding webinars for Thomson Reuters, which calls itself the “Answer Company.” My partner, Benji Jones, and I are Thomson Reuter’s answer people for Crowdfunding issues.
- The eight books I’ve written include the following on my Amazon author page:
The current Research Triangle entrepreneurial community didn’t just happen in a vacuum. A lot of people devoted a lot of time and effort building our ecosystem. I’ve been fortunate to have been able to use my experience to help in that effort, which has included:
- Council for Entrepreneurial Development’s “Outstanding Service Provider Award”
- Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s “Outstanding Service to the Business Community Award”
- Served on advisory boards for two North Carolina Governor’s (both political parties) to guide state efforts to help entrepreneurs raise capital
- Wrote and helped pass tax credit legislation for angel investments in growth companies
- WRALTechwire award for helping my partner Benji Jones write and pass North Carolina’s intrastate crowdfunding exemption (NC PACES) to create the legal framework for a statewide, online capital raising ecosystem
- Directed a worldwide business plan competition for high school students for The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE)
I have a taste for adventure. Why else represent small companies in big capital markets? It’s easier to make a living representing big banks, but what’s the fun of that?
My first job after college was my first adventure—Peace Corps Volunteer—where I taught school on a coral atoll in Micronesia. The transition from NYC to an isolated island with fewer than 200 people taught me to be flexible and that change is good. On Eauripik, my commute was paddling across the lagoon in my outrigger canoe dressed in a thong. My other adventures have included four months motorcycling and hitchhiking around Europe and an African safari. I’ve always wanted to be a travel writer. If you want to skim some samples, check out a few things I learned on these adventures: hiking the Inca Trail and rafting the Grand Canyon.
Of course, I also learn a lot from my partner Benji, who has an equally eclectic background and skills set.
Education and Legal Honors
Oh yes, I almost forgot. I did go to school and do the things normal lawyers do:
- J.D., cum laude, Fordham University School of Law and worked on the Fordham Law Review
- B.A., Fordham University
- The Best Lawyers in America, 1995 – 2019
- “Legal Elite,” Business North Carolina, 2007
- “Super Lawyer,” North Carolina Super Lawyers, 2006 – 2007
One more thing, Jim and Benji also run the Innovate Capital Business Law Clinic at Campbell University, a free legal clinic for local startups.
Connect with Jim today:
919-616-3225 | JimV@InnovateCapitalLaw.com
Want to Follow Jim?
Benji is a dynamic force in and outside the office. Discover the woman who brings creative vision to life:
For more than two decades I practiced law in Raleigh before Jim and I took the leap to form Innovate Capital.
My education (SMU, NYU, Columbia Law) and experience have enabled me to negotiate a lot of different transactions for a lot of different companies. Throughout our website, you will see evidence of the success I have had (along with Jim) that I won’t bore you with here in a bio. But look it up. We have what it takes to get results for our clients.
Jim brags about me—and sometimes to the point of embarrassment. But we make a good team. So, I get over it. He says that I like to have fun, solve problems and implement creative solutions. He’s right. I’m all that—and more.
If you are interested in working with the Innovate Capital team (Jim and I), here are three things you should know about me:
First, I am what Jim calls a “high functioning introvert”—and I hide it well. I’m a trained actress, can handle a Shakespearean monologue, teach a class or give a pretty awesome presentation. And, while I prefer a small dinner party with close (or soon to be close) friends over a cocktail party for 200 (unless there is a dance floor and a good band)—I can handle the negotiating table and know how to engage with clients. Operating in this fashion means that I want to first connect with you—to listen and understand your company and the problems you want to solve—then move into collaborating to find the best way to move forward.
Second, I can juggle a lot of balls at once. So, don’t always expect to find me sitting behind a desk when you speak with me. I highly value balancing my legal career with creative outlets and family: I periodically perform with local theater companies, I am the mom of two teenagers. My family keeps me busy with life and love and adventures. I apply the same kind of creative problem solving and innovation to managing these demands as I bring to Innovate Capital. Technology has changed the way we raise capital—and it also has changed the way we practice law and serve our clients. As we utilize these tools and the new ways of capital-raising, it lets us fulfill our commitment to clients as well as balance and embrace our personal goals.
Lastly, like Jim, I’ve led a pretty adventurous life. I’m a Raleigh native. I grew up in that house on Dixie Trail with the tennis court, went to Broughton when it had no football stadium, and remember seeing “Grease” at North Hills when it really only had a movie theatre. But I also left Raleigh right after high school to explore what the world had to offer. I’ve been cast in many roles and lived in many places before returning home in the late 1990s to launch my legal career and build a family. Unlike Jim, I do not have a YouTube channel, but I have some pretty good stories for the dinner table or coffee hour—just connect with me and I’ll share!
Education and Legal Honors
Here are the basics:
- Columbia University, J.D., Columbia Law Review (Notes editor); Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, 1998
New York University, M.A., 1996
- Southern Methodist University, B.F.A., 1991
- Best Lawyers© 2023 “Lawyer of the Year” in Securities Regulation in Raleigh
- Best Lawyers© 2022 “Lawyer of the Year” in Securities Regulation in Raleigh
- Best Lawyers© 2021 “Lawyer of the Year” in Securities Regulation in Raleigh
- The Best Lawyers in America© for Securities / Capital Markets Law and Securities Regulation since, 2018 – 2019
- “Editor’s Choice” Award, WRAL Techwire Annual Awards, 2017
By the way, Benji was also a co-founder of xElle Ventures, an early-stage Angel Network for women founders by women founders, executives, and investors. And, Benji also runs the Innovate Capital Business Law Clinic at Campbell University, a free legal clinic for local startups.
Connect with Benji today:
919-673-4301 | Benji@InnovateCapitalLaw.com
Want to Follow Benji?
Our process—four innovation principles…
The key ingredients of success in this new fast changing capital raising world is to recognize four basic principles.
- Innovation is a constant process.
- No single solution works best in every situation.
- The best solutions often involve combining several approaches in one campaign or over the course of an extended plan.
- No one can do it all—collaboration is not an option, it’s a necessity.
At Innovate Capital, our job is to constantly innovate so that we can provide clients with the most current capital-raising tools and business advice. In doing so, we develop new ways to help our clients seize opportunities and overcome challenges to achieve their goals.
Our Six-Step Innovation Process for Capital Raises
Here’s Innovate Capital’s Six-Step Innovation Process that allows us to develop the right plan for you.
Step 1: Interview you to understand your current resources and goals.
Step 2: Determine whether you are a good candidate to raise capital now.
Step 3: Recommend an action plan to improve your ability to raise capital.
Step 4: Analyze cash flow and dilution outcomes using proprietary tools.
Step 5: Develop a specific capital raising campaign.
Step 6: Help you to implement your capital raising campaign, including recommending and coordinating with partners who can add value.