From Formation to Global Expansion: How SPZ Legal Supports Verto Education

Tailored legal support, proactive scalability strategies, and deep relationship with Verto Education for sustainable success.

SPZ Legal Edtech Support

"SPZ genuinely cares about our mission, and what sets them apart is a commitment to working with companies dedicated to making a positive impact on the world. Over the seven years of our partnership, I've witnessed Ryan and his team embody these values, which is exceptionally rare in the legal field. Many may talk about it, but for SPZ, it's not just a talking point – it's a true and unwavering value."

- Mitch Gordon, Founder Verto Education

About Verto Education

Verto Education is a pioneering education company that orchestrates first-year programs for college students abroad. Verto facilitates direct admissions into partner colleges across the globe, boasting collaborations with approximately 70 institutions, ranging from tier-one large public universities to small private universities. The core mission of Verto is to impact students during a pivotal phase of their lives, typically at 17 or 18 years old, fostering qualities like grit and resilience while providing a transformative global education experience. Beyond time abroad, Verto seeks to create pathways for students who might not otherwise have access to selective schools, offering an inclusive and enriching educational journey.

edtech startup student contract agreements

Problem: Addressing Legal Challenges for Verto Education's Growth

As Verto Education evolved from a concept into a scaling venture, legal support became crucial to establish a solid legal foundation for sustainable growth. With expansion comes legal intricacies, and Verto needed a legal partner capable of providing comprehensive support. With the transition into a venture-backed company, Verto required legal expertise to navigate complex regulatory landscapes, financial transactions, and contractual negotiations.

verto education gets startup legal support

Verto Education needed support in the following areas (to name a few)

Comprehensive Legal Coverage

Verto Education sought legal assistance across a spectrum of areas, including corporate structuring, employment practices, contract development, compliance, and intellectual property protection.

Strategic Partnership

Verto desired a legal partner capable of evolving with the company, offering strategic advice, and adapting legal frameworks to align with dynamic business models.

Ability to Adapt to Varying Subject Matter

Given Verto's focus on education services and partnerships with universities, the legal company needed to be nimble to be able to address unique needs in the world of higher education and negotiations with higher ed institutions.

Funding Process Support

Verto Education required comprehensive legal support throughout various funding rounds, necessitating expertise in negotiating term sheets, conducting due diligence, drafting legal documents, and managing the complexities of closing processes with numerous angel investors and VCs.

Global Expansion Capabilities

The legal partner was expected to support Verto's global expansion by supporting the establishment of subsidiaries in various jurisdictions and managing international legal considerations and law firms.

"I first met Ryan at a Berkeley founders group. Being alumni of Berkeley's business and law schools, we connected and eventually crossed paths professionally. I wasn't satisfied with our existing law firm, and what sets SPZ Legal apart is their exceptional dedication. Having worked with various lawyers over my three businesses, SPZ Legal stands out as a true partner, not just a law firm. Ryan’s unique approach makes me feel fortunate to collaborate with SPZ Legal."

- Mitch Gordon

Solution: SPZ Legal's Tailored Legal Support

In response to Verto Education's needs, SPZ Legal crafted a tailored legal support strategy. The collaboration began with a thorough assessment of Verto's current plans and future aspirations. SPZ Legal then incorporated Verto and provided robust contract drafting and review services, ensuring that Verto's agreements were balanced by being protective of the company where it matters but also usable in negotiations with large higher ed institutions. 

SPZ Legal's expertise extended beyond the standard legal services. Recognizing the importance of scalability, SPZ Legal offered proactive legal strategies to accommodate Verto's growth trajectory. This involved creating a framework that anticipated legal needs as Verto expanded its operations, minimizing risks and ensuring legal agility.

startup formation legal support for education

Services provided to Verto Education since inception include:

Incorporation and Foundation, Benefit Corporation Conversion, and Corporate Governance 

  • Successfully incorporated Verto Education as a Delaware corporation in January 2018, establishing a robust legal foundation in line with industry best practices.
  • Facilitated the conversion to a Benefit Corporation in June 2019, supporting B Corp certification and embedding mission and impact focus into the DNA of the company.
  • Actively participated in board meetings and maintained meticulous corporate records, ensuring compliance and transparency.

Personnel Practices, Stock Options, and Cap Table Management

  • Setup policies, procedures, and agreements to onboard employees and advisors, implemented streamlined process for equity compensation (stock option) and cap table management practices tailored to the company’s unique goals for incentivizing staff.

Contract Development and University Contract Negotiations

  • Developed initial contracts with universities and partners (and iterated on them over time) to deliver services, ensuring protection of the company while using practical contracts that did not get in the way of Verto’s growth plans.
  • Negotiated contracts with approximately 70 universities and colleges, demonstrating sophistication in unique contract scenarios and higher education partnerships.

Legal Documentation for Financing Rounds

  • Managed priced Seed financing round in October 2019 and priced Series A round in December 2021, including term sheet negotiation, diligence, drafting legal documents, managing closing process, providing post-closing advice, and generally navigated unique challenges and nuances associated with the round.

Global Expansion Support

  • Managed international law firms to support the set up of subsidiaries in multiple countries, and drafted intercompany agreements to comply with international tax laws.

Comprehensive Vendor Contract Management

  • Drafted, reviewed, and negotiated contracts with all vendors, including tech vendors and others critical to Verto's operations.

Intellectual Property Protection

  • Managed international trademark registration, safeguarding Verto Education's brand across borders.

Outcome: Empowering Verto's Growth with SPZ Legal's Support

The partnership with SPZ Legal yielded substantial benefits for Verto Education. The legal hurdles that often impede growth for startups were now navigated seamlessly.

The collaboration not only resolved existing legal challenges but also positioned Verto Education for sustained success. SPZ Legal's unique approach to legal support fostered a collaborative environment, ensuring that legal considerations were integral to Verto's decision-making processes. This holistic integration of legal expertise has become a cornerstone of Verto's success, showcasing the transformative impact of a strategic partnership with SPZ Legal.

startup attorneys support education company

Key Takeaways

Tailored Legal Support: SPZ Legal's approach goes beyond conventional legal services, addressing specific needs and anticipating future challenges.

Proactive Scalability: SPZ Legal's strategies are designed to facilitate growth, providing a foundation for scalability without compromising core protections for the company.

Collaborative Integration: The partnership is characterized by a collaborative spirit, with legal considerations seamlessly woven into Verto Education's operational fabric.

By understanding the unique challenges of Verto Education, SPZ Legal not only provided legal solutions but became an integral partner in propelling Verto's mission forward.

"I want to highlight the complexity of board management for a new founder. Ryan’s support has been invaluable in navigating board dynamics and understanding control intricacies. Raising funds for the first time involves a steep learning curve. Ryan’s been a trusted advisor, helping me see around corners and making informed decisions for Verto Education's overall success."

- Mitch Gordon

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