Startups & Emerging Businesses

Frost Brown Todd (FBT) attorneys have worked with startups who began unceremoniously as cash-strapped industry newcomers, pioneers in a niche market, or serial entrepreneurs. Each of these businesses begins as an idea. Our attorneys have a passion for helping turn that idea into reality.

As a team, we pride ourselves on sweating the small stuff so our startup clients can focus on growing the business. Sometimes the “small stuff” includes managing risk, monitoring market volatility, and preventing missteps and missed opportunities. At the same time, we tailor our legal strategy to the momentum and growth mindset of most startups. This means providing a cogent framework, outlining avenues for growth and capital formation, and consulting on long-term strategic planning. Through this approach, we help clients turn a project or budding idea into a thriving business.

How We Work

We routinely coordinate with the firm’s many practice groups and industry teams to provide specialized services for startup companies, particularly when a legal matter demands an interdisciplinary approach. We have on hand attorneys who focus on corporate governance, finance, tax planning, M&As, securities laws, data privacy, IoT, patent prosecution and IP litigation, to name a few. Some have significant experience representing clients in closely regulated industries; others have advanced degrees in STEM subjects or have worked for engineering and tech companies. Because of our team’s depth and cross-industry experience, there are few legal issues we cannot anticipate, address, and quickly resolve. 

FBT attorneys also have a long history of working with angel investors, venture capitalists, private-equity firms and other parties engaged by a startup at different stages of the investment cycle. We have first-hand knowledge of what these investors expect, how they operate, and which arrangements are likely to pique their interests while preserving a startup’s desired autonomy and IP assets. This ensures a smoother investment process as well as the mutual benefit of parties on both sides of the arrangement.

Creating Value

When launching a business, startups may be wary of spending money on legal costs, yet that’s exactly when they most need to get their formation, contracts and other legal matters just right to avoid problems down the road. At FBT, we work with startups to find the right level of legal guidance, support and services, while still providing the resources of a large multistate firm with a multidisciplinary team. Our attorneys keep costs down by being flexible, meticulous, and getting it right the first time.


Our attorneys seldom represent startups in a single isolated matter but work closely with these clients in every stage and facet of the company lifecycle. During a startup’s formative period, we help them set capital objectives, manage risk and compliance, and keep a scalable pace as they expand into new markets. At critical stages down range, we might advise them on increasing funding rounds, navigate them through their first industry partnership or negotiate a complex merger, acquisition or exit. Whatever the case may be, FBT has the resources to satisfy the legal needs of startups at every step of the way, from fledging to flourishing business.

Another resource for startups is FBT’s Blockchain team, one of the few groups in the nation with real experience doing initial coin offerings (ICOs). While many startups have successfully structured their fundraising campaigns around ICOs, the process is pitted with regulatory obstacles, making it critical for both ICO developers and investors to work with knowledgeable attorneys. Our Blockchain team is at the forefront of these developments, helping clients manage their digital portfolios and structure their fundraising campaigns such that they comply with statutory and regulatory requirements.