As an integral part of the robust entrepreneurship community at UCLA and the larger startup ecosystem of Southern California, UCLA Law’s Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy’s annual Conference on Silicon Beach and the Law focuses on a major theme of interest to entrepreneurs, investors and the lawyers who represent them. In November 2019, the conference considered whether, when and how entrepreneurs and their investors should structure a transaction that allows investors to cash out of their investments, such as going public, a sale of the venture, or an alternative structure that potentially generates cash for investors.
The 2019-20 conference was built around a panel of entrepreneurs and investors serving as a mock board of directors of a hypothetical company, NotRealMeat. These directors decided to explore potential transactions and invited lawyers and financial advisors to make presentations about various alternatives. The first panel of the conference included lawyers and financial advisors making presentations to the board (and the audience) on IPOs and Direct Listings. The presenters discussed the advantages and downsides of each type of transaction, identified recent trends in IPOs and fielded questions from the board and the audience. During the second panel, another set of presenters met with the board to discuss M&A, joint ventures and licensing agreements as alternative transactions for the board to consider. For the final panel, the board discussed the various presentations and the broad questions of whether the venture should remain independent or engage in one of the transactions.
More than 100 attendees, including entrepreneurs, investors, lawyers, students and members of the public, participated in the event and discussions.