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 won’t waste your time or money with unnecessary complications
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.
We know what funders expect at each funding round
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’ll help you avoid giving away too much in your rush to market
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.
We can improve your attractiveness to investors
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.
We’re experts in SEIS and EIS schemes
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-up, we’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:
Adam Kudryl is a Partner and Corporate & Commercial Solicitor at Harper James Solicitors, specialising in strategic investments, acquisitions and sales.View profile
Jas is a corporate partner at Harper James Solicitors, advising on corporate governance, mergers & acquisitions, venture capital & investments.View profile
Matthew is a highly experienced corporate partner at Harper James. With expertise in all aspects of corporate law and finance, Matthew’s tenacity and eye for detail helps get client deals and agreements across the line with the minimum of fuss.View profile
Commercial and Corporate Solicitor
Kate is a commercial and corporate lawyer, advising businesses from start-ups up to global companies on everything from investment and franchising to sale and purchase transactions, exits and much more.View profile
Corporate Solicitor & CEO
Toby Harper is the CEO & Founder of Harper James Solicitors, as well as a corporate & commercial solicitor. He specialises in venture capital and the tech sector.View profile
Shubhu specialises in early-stage fund raisings, shareholder arrangements and M&A. Prior to joining Harper James she worked at Mills & Reeve and before that at Addleshaw Goddard and Slaughter and May.View profile
Callum is a corporate associate at Harper James, specialising in mergers and acquisitions and investments, as well as other corporate/commercial matters.View profile
Abby Watson is a corporate solicitor, specialising in private equity investments, mergers & acquisitions, EMI share schemes, corporate finance and governance and more.View profile
Stephen is an experienced corporate lawyer, with a career including time at DLA Piper and Pinsent Masons. He specialises in mergers and acquisitions and private equity work.View profile
Advising Sikoia on their £1.6m pre-seed funding to take them to the next level
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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:
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.
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.
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.
As a University spin-out getting the right team of lawyers to support our emerging business was fundamental and the team are always available to provide us with the invaluable guidance and support we require.
David Hodgson, CEO
Harper James provides my small growing business with a scalable, reliable, team-oriented approach to legal advice. Whenever we face a problem, I know that Harper James are there to provide helpful and cost-effective advice, to scope out the options, make clear the costs and risks, and give me the information I need to make decisions.
Bryn Richards, CEO
Our longstanding relationship has enabled us to get deals over the line quickly and efficiently, with minimum fuss or kickback from opposing lawyers representing the companies we’re investing in. I find the legal team at Harper James efficient, smart and personable. Speed is of the essence for early stage investing and Harper James recognises this and acts accordingly.
Kieran Hill, COO
Harper James swiftly solves problems with a minimum of fuss. I strongly recommend them and they are a pleasure to work with.
Jean de Fougerolles, CEO
Our solicitor’s assistance in the structuring of a new lending facility was greatly appreciated given the short deadline to completion. The team at Harper James responded promptly to get the deal over the line within our borrower’s timescale.
Leon Foxwell, Lending Manager
Assured Property Finance
As a young and growing fintech company, there have been a number of legal matters that we have needed to manage; such as client contracts, employment contracts and fund raising from investors. We’ve used Harper James for around a year and they have provided us with very valuable support through several lenses, not least in our funding round in late 2017, where we raised £1million and Harper James managed the legal side of the transaction. We recommend them without hesitation.
Gareth Morgan, Chief Risk and Compliance Officer
Harper James have become a vital part of our business. We get quality advice from experienced solicitors at prices that other firms do not appear to be able to match.
Veejay Lingiah, CEO
My colleagues and I have found them to be adept at dealing with the variety of challenges facing early stage companies. They are a trusted source for sound, sensible advice and practical deal management.
Jill Shaw, CEO
This is a key stage of ANB Sensors’ growth as an SME, because it saw us transferring from a research and development company to a commercial entity. It’s a major milestone for us. Having Harper James by our side is reassuring, as they’ve helped us ensure all our documentation and sales terms are both fair and reasonable and led us through the sales process.
Dr Nathan Lawrence, CEO and Co-Founder
We often need legal advice quickly, especially during sales with new customers, and Rob is very responsive and always available for meetings. When I was looking for a law firm, I wanted that full range of services, as I knew we’d need advice outside of the tech remit. The flexibility has been really positive.
Ivan Harding, CEO and Co-Founder
Quick, concise and best of all reasonably priced
Tim Pedley, Company Secretary
…very efficient and helpful, especially given that it was difficult logistically with most of the directors away!
Adam Fraser-Harris, Finance Director
Fast, flexible access to specialists.
Derek Moore, CEO and Co-Founder
Coffee & TV
We initially turned to Harper James for help in one part of our business but quickly realised we could benefit from their support in other areas too. The level of service has been impressive. What I like about Harper James is they seem to take a proactive approach to legal services provision. They’ve looked at our business and made suggestions as to areas where they can best focus their support and expertise. It is reassuring to have a legal services provider like that working alongside you.
Heidi Ayton, Chief of Compliance
Our solicitor Sarah has been fantastic, as have Stephen and Adam.
Mark Grenside, Co-Founder
Really easy to engage your services, timely responses, nice to get advice from specialists within their field.
Will Coleman, Artistic Director
Golden Tree Productions
As usual, Harper James Solicitors provided us with excellent quality work in an extremely timely manner. We continue to be impressed by the service that Harper James provides, the value for money they offer and how easy it is to work with you. Not only have we recommend you to friends and acquaintances, but we've also told our accountants that they need to up their game to reflect the level of service we get from you!
Kate Hofman, CEO and Co-Founder
GrowUp Urban Farms
Our scale of growth would not have happened without the support of Harper James.
Lameece Nagib, Head of Operations
When we were in the process of raising funds for our business venture, we were fortunate enough to have the support of Harper James. Their advice and guidance were extremely beneficial to us, and we’ve been impressed by their responsive service.
TJ Herbert, CEO and Founder
Harper James and Lindsay Gledhill manage to combine a sound knowledge of law with a common-sense approach – respectful of all parties and showing a great deal of intelligence. Highly recommended!
Jeremy Hyman, Director
Our solicitor has been very helpful. Quick and efficient.
Vincent Sitwell, Director
Outstanding so far. Please keep it like this!
Dimitri Konstantindi, Director
We are a small company and the process of setting up a company share scheme was pretty daunting. Abby Watson and Harper James Solicitors provided expert advice to ensure we understood the process and drafted all relevant documentation. We were very impressed with the service received and would recommend the firm to others.
Julie Robinson, CEO
Move It or Lose It
I can’t sing our solicitor’s praises enough: fast, efficient, sensible and supportive. A quick and fair resolution to all queries that we have worked on together and would thoroughly recommend her to any of my contacts.
Samuel B Higgs, Account Director
Harper James removes the stress for us. I know that we can get advice quickly, without some sort of golden clock being turned on when you pick up the phone. This means we can focus on running the business.
Tom Davenport, Co-Founder
When you’re a start-up, you have to find creative ways to do everything you need to do. And you need to find people who can help you. Harper James can advise us on contracts just as well as a blue-chip London or New York law firm, but at a much lower hourly rate.
Jeff Kofman, CEO and Founder
First class service – initial advice very good and then delivery on said advice. Wasn't a complicated request but can't fault the service and Lindsay would always be my go to contact for any legal work in the UK
Bruce Haxton, Founder
The Tuk Tuk Club
As soon as I contacted them, and explained the support I required, they were responsive, on the case and quickly got a grasp of what I required.
John Heard, Founder
The on-demand service we get from Harper James allows us to combine their expertise with that of our own in-house counsel. It means we can get quick and trustworthy legal advice from specialists in every legal area, as and when we need it. There are no hidden extras and the service we have received has always demonstrated an awareness of our fast-moving commercial requirements.
Amelia Guilfoyle, Head of legal
We were very impressed by the efficiency of the service we received. Having strong legal service support in place is vital for any business entering into a funding round.
Alexis Rog, Co-founder