Helping Innovations Become Companies
Helping innovations become companies
DLA Piper US LLP has supported the UC Davis Big Bang! Business Competition since its earliest days, and was a Gold-level sponsor in 2020/21. We talked with David Richardson about DLA Piper’s and his long-time involvement.
Richardson is a corporate and securities partner in DLA Piper’s Sacramento and San Francisco offices. He focuses on technology startups, emerging growth, venture capital, and mergers and acquisitions. His clients include Groupon, Andreessen Horowitz, Clorox and former Big Bang! contestants Ambercycle, Archer Software and Foodfully. Richardson received his J.D. from UC Davis Law School in 2007.
During the 2017/18 Big Bang!, Richardson taught a workshop on Intellectual Property and Organization Basics. He and two colleagues from DLA Piper, along with UC Davis law students, generously provided office hours for three consecutive days to the competition’s top 15 teams as they prepared to pitch their ventures to judges who would select the five finalists.
David Richardson (center) presented the $10,000 first prize for the top innovation in the 2017/18 Big Bang! to Japa co-founders Mathew Magno (left) and Charles Chen. Japa has developed a mobile app that employs smart data and advanced analytics to provide drivers with real-time parking availability.
Give us the elevator pitch for your business.
DLA Piper is a global law firm with lawyers located in more than 40 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, positioning us to help clients with their legal needs around the world. We are a market leader in emerging growth and venture capital, offering a combination of insights and capabilities that help position up-and-coming companies for success.
Accelerate, DLA Piper’s microsite devoted to the emerging-growth ecosystem—founders, entrepreneurs, startups, emerging-growth companies and the investor community—provides access to the tips and tools that every founder of a company should know when getting ready to go to market.
What was the most important advice you received when launching your career?
Always make things as easy for the client as possible.
What major opportunities and challenges do you foresee in your field/industry in the coming years?
The two biggest trends impacting the U.S. are probably the growth in globally integrated law firms and the increasing importance of technology in the legal practice. Both trends have led to more seamless provision of legal services to clients but also require significant resources. Although local and regional law firms play an essential role in the legal market, the current trends suggest that the firms that most efficiently leverage international integration and technology will be best positioned to service the needs of clients in the global economy.
It’s thrilling every year to see such innovative and creative ideas coming out of Big Bang! These are ideas that hopefully will turn into successful companies—or at least put the entrepreneurs behind them on the right path to becoming successful, even if it’s idea 3, 4 or 5 that becomes the success.
What prompted your company to support the Big Bang?
DLA Piper has been a sponsor of the Big Bang! competition from the very beginning. UC Davis, the Graduate School of Management and Big Bang! are important components in our technology-driven client ecosystem. We want to help make sure that the important ideas coming out of the university and this competition have the tools to become successful businesses that impact the greater Sacramento region.
What is most exciting to you, on a personal level, about being involved in the Big Bang!?
It’s thrilling every year to see such innovative and creative ideas coming out of Big Bang! These are ideas that hopefully will turn into successful companies—or at least put the entrepreneurs behind them on the right path to becoming successful, even if it’s idea 3, 4 or 5 that becomes the success. These early stages of developing entrepreneurial acumen are critically important to that future.
How else do you support innovation in your industry?
DLA Piper’s Technology in Practice (TIP) team focuses solely on applying technology directly in the practice of law. The goal of TIP is to create efficiencies for our lawyers and clients. We are also in the process of releasing the firm’s innovation program, which aims to create new avenues for our attorneys and staff to fund innovative ideas in the legal market. The TIP initiative strives to “inspire, innovate and advance” the use of technology within the firm to improve our work streams and help our clients address business-critical issues. In 2017 DLA Piper was named one of the top five most innovative law firms in North America by the Financial Times in its Innovative Lawyers report.