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Law.com: Wilson Sonsini Evolves Neuron Platform, Taking First Step to Automate Financings

  • 03/07/23

    Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, furthering its mission to streamline legal needs across a company’s life cycle, unveiled on Tuesday a new startup financing module on its software platform for emerging companies.

    The platform, called Neuron, has advanced since its launch in mid-2021, from handling business incorporation to hiring and governance needs. Tackling financings was a natural next step in the platform’s evolution, though it won’t be the last, according to Wilson Sonsini chief innovation officer David Wang.

    “If you look at everything we’ve done, it is coherent,” Wang said, noting the platform is focused on serving companies’ needs from formation to exit, across a wide variety of legal practice areas. “We’re really strategically focused on solving this problem.”

    In its newest module, Neuron automates SAFE, or simple agreement for future equity, financings. A SAFE is the predominant type of financing for early-stage companies, according to the firm, which allows an investor to invest and purchase a stake in a company before a formal valuation has been established.

    Like all of the automated tasks on Neuron, the financing module allows clients to fill out a standard SAFE agreement until the point that personalization, for instance, a side letter negotiation, is needed, Wang said.

    That is because, unlike other legal tech products, Neuron isn’t licensed to clients. Instead, it is a tool that is incorporated into the workflow of Wilson Sonsini’s emerging companies practice, bringing to bear automation and customization where needed, Wang said.

    Wang said the 80-20 rule applies to the problems the firm is solving for. “80% of the time, you need a standard form. But 20% of the time there is a variation. That is our secret sauce: allowing customization beyond automation, only at times when you need it. That means [the product] is perfect for the client every time.”

    In addition to the marriage of automation and personalization, the platform has been developed hand in hand with clients, Wang said, which makes the platform effective for clients, with a net promotor score of 96.

    Wang himself has spoken to more than 200 clients about the product, and viewed many more recorded interviews from clients to garner feedback.

    “The most revolutionary thing we’ve done here is not the fact that we’re building a digital platform. That has been done before,” Wang said. “The thing that is truly revolutionary about what we’re doing here is that we are committing to using software in the direction of what our clients want us to do.”