As startup ecosystems evolve and mature, validation of their viability comes in waves from entrepreneurs, investors, and service providers alike. Over the last 18 months, Los Angeles has gone through a transformation that saw the formation of a vibrant beachfront startup community, euphemistically called Silicon Beach, and the arrival of a half dozen accelerators, several new dedicated early-stage funds, and most recently the arrival of several prominent Silicon Valley law firms, all eager to participate in its blossoming success story.
One firm that’s been here since long before many of the current crop of entrepreneurs even graduated high school is reminding the community of its commitment by opening a new office in the heart of Silicon Beach and launching what it calls a “Precelerator” program. Seventeen lawyer regional firm Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP has represented digital media, internet, technology, consumer electronics, and entertainment companies and investment funds out of its Sherman Oaks office since its formation in 2002.
The firm made a name for itself representing Skype from formation in 2003 through its ultimate sale to eBay for $2.6 billion in 2005, and also currently represents Rdio, Beats Electronics, Riot Games, Ad.ly, GRP Partners, and several other prominent private and publicly traded clients.
The newly conceived Silicon Beach Precelerator is largely a formal announcement of the type of entrepreneurial community support Stubbs Alderton & Markiles has been providing since its inception. Under the program, the firm will offer five to six pre-funding entrepreneur groups, on a rolling basis, co-working space as well pro-bono access to the firm’s resources including legal services and introduction to sources of capital and other trusted services providers.
“It’s not intended to compete with the existing Silicon Beach accelerators that are doing so much for our community, or provide initial funding to startups,“ says co-founder and managing partner Scott Alderton. “Rather, we will provide a platform for them to get interim office space and sophisticated legal services, and to ultimately grow their ideas from business concept to funded startup. We hope that the platform will allow entrepreneurs a streamlined transition to an accelerator program, financing or to otherwise launch their businesses.”
Like any accelerator or incubator, companies and teams must be selected before being admitted to the Stubbs Alderton & Markiles Precelerator, but in a unique twist, the firm will not take anything in return for their participation, including equity or a guarantee of legal representation. The idea is simply to foster the community and support up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
Believe it or not, Stubbs Alderton & Markiles has long been providing pro-bono early stage consulting and even opening up its Sherman Oaks office to anyone crazy enough to brave traffic on the 101 freeway. Now its simply doing so from a swanky third story ocean view balcony overlooking Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade shopping district.