Pre-Seed & Seed Funding Legal Support

Our seed funding solicitors are experts in helping ambitious businesses like yours get off the ground by ensuring all the legal i’s are dotted and t’s crossed when accessing early-stage investment.

We’ll advise you on how funding will impact your business in the future, whether it’s family and friends providing hands-off pre-seed funding, or you’re looking to partner with an investor who’s experienced in your sector. We’ll help you understand your options, make clear the costs and risk, providing you with the information you need to make informed decisions. 

But it’s not just about securing investment, our supportive and knowledgeable seed funding lawyers will help you build the right foundations as you scale your sales and marketing, grow your team and develop your offering.

We help entrepreneurs take their business to the next level through pre-seed and seed funding

Our team of seed funding solicitors can provide you with the necessary expertise and support to move your business forward. As part of our legal services for pre-seed and seed businesses, we can: 

  • Advise you how funding will impact your business in the future, including the considerations for different investment options such as debt, convertible loans, equity or a quasi-equity (hybrid). We’ll explain the different funding stages from seed onwards, so that you’ll understand what each one means for your company’s growth and prospects 
  • Walk you through the steps needed to secure funding, including getting your company valued, creating a capitalisation table, and providing feedback on your business plan to help you meet any regulatory or investor requirements 
  • Help you evaluate whether the investor is right for you bearing in mind your sector, track record and any risks involved 
  • Advise if you qualify for tax-advantaged schemes such as the Enterprise Investment Schemes, and Seed Enterprise Investment Schemes to attract investors, obtain advanced assurance and issue tax relief certificates 
  • Help you prepare your company with the necessary due diligence for a fundraise and deal with issues raised by potential investors  
  • Resolve any outstanding issues between you and your business partners and existing shareholders/investors. These relationships will have to be disclosed in your pitch and any problems sorted out, pre-pitch. For example, having clearly identified roles for existing founders, shareholders agreements and the formalisation of any existing loans or service agreements  
  • Resolve any issues around Intellectual Property Rights such as who owns what along with any current and planned registrations. Putting in place a clear IPR strategy will demonstrate the value in your business to investors  
  • Clearly define any third-party involvement before you go any further. If you’ve asked others to contribute to your business, whether that be creating part of your offer, lending you money, or working for you, their status should be clearly documented, and any outstanding obligations settled in a proper way.  
  • Explain how any state aid or grant funding will interact with the investment so that you continue to meet any qualifying criteria  
  • Ensure your business is funded in a tax efficient way by facilitating questions and discussing if it is necessary to take professional tax advice 
  • Advise on, prepare or update the necessary formalities and documents needed to complete the fundraise, from shareholders’ agreements to new Articles of Association and service contracts for your company. 
  • Explain the potential impact of employee share options on founders, investors and other stakeholders 

We understand the considerations of pre-seed and seed funded start-ups

Supporting start-ups is what we specialise in at Harper James. We understand the pressures and challenges you could face as you unlock your company’s growth potential. Working by your side, we’ll get to the bottom of these kinds of tricky issues that are common to most early-stage businesses: 

  • I’m really grateful for the help that I’ve had from others to get to this stage. But I need to get my business on a proper footing so that I can move forward in a professional way. What legal documents do I need to protect my rights while recognising their contributions?  
  • If I offer someone shares in my company in return for their help, what will I be committing to? 
  • How can I protect my business ideas? What’s involved in getting a patent and do I need one?  And how do I go about choosing a company name and making sure no-one else can use it? 
  • How do I choose company directors, and what are their duties? 
  • How much risk am I exposing myself to in my contracts with suppliers and customers? 
  • Can I take advantage of government-backed, tax-efficient schemes like the Enterprise Investment or Seed Enterprise Investment Schemes? What do I need to do to ensure my business qualifies for tax-advantaged funding?  

See our Seed Fundraising FAQs for more information.

Why work with our specialist seed and pre-seed funding solicitors?

We know your time is precious, and you want to get back to running your business. Because we make start-up support a core part of our own offer, we know what you need to do to tailor your business for the journey ahead. And because our rates are tailored to small businesses, we make top-notch legal advice accessible for entrepreneurs like you.

Because our seed funding lawyers have negotiated hundreds of deals for our clients, we know what funders at each round expect you to commit to. You can trust us to show you how their needs may impact your business, and how, as you move through each stage, you achieve a deal that protects your interests and keep your investors happy.

We get that you’re grateful for the help you’ve received so far. And maybe your friends or family have contributed time and money to get you where you are. But you need to make sure that you don’t give away too much of your business at seed or pre-seed stage. We’ll help you achieve the perfect balance by making sure any legal arrangements you put in place still let you develop your business the way you plan.

Understanding which types of funders are best for you is a must. Use us to help you pick the type of funding that’s best for you so that you’re an attractive proposition.

These schemes are highly beneficial for both entrepreneurs and investors. We can show you how to unlock the benefits of these schemes so that you have more cash available to fund your operations.

We help founders, entrepreneurs and VC investors

We aim to help start-ups at a critical time in their business’ growth. With our transparent pricing model, you can access expert City-grade legal advice from partner-level solicitors at a fraction of the cost of traditional law firms. We understand that during the early stages of growing your business you need to protect your interests as best you can, without impacting your cash flow. And you need a legal team you can rely on to be as passionate as you are about your business. 

Why choose our seed funding solicitors?

Wherever you are in your start-upwe’ve got a member of our specialist team who’s been there before. We can offer expert advice, hands-on support, and access to our network of contacts. Our team of corporate solicitors has extensive experience and we’ve provided legal advice in numerous, high-profile transactions. Several of our lawyers have worked as in-house lawyers for venture capital firms so they know the VC landscape well. Find out more about our pre-seed and seed funding solicitors here: 

Pricing plans

Our three transparent pricing packages are designed to give you the widest possible access to high-quality legal advice, whatever the size and nature of your business:

City

Straightforward access to senior solicitors at a competitive rate.

An affordable solution for businesses needing one-off legal support. Receive ‘City’ partner-level expertise at a fraction of ‘City’ prices.

Enterprise

Have legal peace of mind for £189 per month with additional support from £125 per hour.

A monthly subscription legal support package specifically designed for start-ups and smaller businesses.

On-Demand

Providing you with priority access to a dedicated panel of highly experienced solicitors.

Fully account managed quarterly subscription service for businesses with more complex legal needs.

What our clients say

We pride ourselves on delivering an excellent service for clients, but don’t just take our word for it.

What next?

Please leave us your details and we’ll contact you to discuss your situation and legal requirements. There’s no charge for your initial consultation, and no obligation to instruct us. We aim to respond to all messages received within 24 hours.

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A national law firm

We mainly work remotely, so we can work with you wherever you are. But we can arrange face-to-face meeting at our offices or a location of your choosing.

Our commercial lawyers are based in or close to major cities across the UK, providing expert legal advice to clients both locally and nationally.

Floor 2, Cavendish House, 39-41 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, B2 5PP
Stirling House, Cambridge Innovation Park, Denny End Road, Waterbeach, Cambridge, CB25 9QE
10 Fitzroy Square, London, W1T 5HP
13th Floor, Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester, M1 4BT
Harwell Innovation Centre, 173 Curie Avenue, Harwell, Oxfordshire, OX11 0QG
2-5 Velocity Tower, 1 St Mary’s Square, Sheffield, S1 4LP