positioning startups for success


Advising startups and more mature companies on navigating corporate legal logistics and building operations; negotiating and executing business transactions ranging from formations, financings, M&As to licensing and other strategic business deals to separations and settlements; managing board of directors and investors; experience in launching products and building businesses around those products; for almost 20 years in Silicon Valley; admitted to the CA Bar and NY Bar.

Let ECLS, who has been on both sides of the table, help you navigate the complexities and challenges of startup life so that you can focus on your highest value core competencies like building a kick-ass product, a sustainable and scalable business based on that product and fundraising/managing investors and strategic partners to get you to the next phase and ultimately to a liquidity event. 

Esther is fantastic. We relied heavily on her experience to advise us in negotiating and closing our seed financing with multiple moving parts and to get our corporate house in order. Esther is incredibly detail-oriented and has made the process much smoother for all parties involved. I have wholeheartedly recommended her to other fellow CEOs.
— Maria Soloveychik, PhD, Founder & CEO, SyntheX
Esther handled our M&A. I was impressed by the quality of her work and how quickly she was able to come up to speed on our business. It could not have been better.
— Amjad Abedi, Serial Entrepreneur



Esther Chung

  • Almost 20 years in Silicon Valley (including at Orrick and VC backed startup)
  • Startup Operational Experience (Acting COO, VP BD, VP Finance, GC, Product)
  • CA Bar, NY Bar
  • NYU School of Law J.D., UC Berkeley B.A.

During her almost 20 years in Silicon Valley, Esther has worked with over 100 startup companies and more importantly has hands-on startup experience building businesses, launching products, hitting key business metrics, pitching and closing business partners, managing board of directors and investors as well as the more mundane but important corporate administrative (finance and legal) tasks that come along with it.

Esther has held various executive positions (business and legal) at a startup that raised over $21M from a top tier VC and won global awards for its product.  Previous to that, she was a senior attorney at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, working with investments in then pre-IPO startup companies like Financial Engines (NASDAQ: FNGN), Trulia (NYSE: TRLA) and LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD).  


What do I need to do to raise money for my startup?

The things you need to do to successfully raise money for your startup vary to a certain degree depending on the stage of your startup (are you just getting started and looking to raise a seed round or have you already raised a seed round and looking to raise institutional/VC funds).  In all cases, however, on the business front, you will need a solid team (business and technical, or more depending on stage), product (working alpha if not beta, or even traction on users/customers depending on stage) and revenue traction (level depending on stage).  On the legal front, you will need to be incorporated, have a clean capital structure (issued founder stock and stock option plan), and have entered into confidentiality and IP assignment agreements with all affiliated personnel.

Regarding the actual fundraising process, you will need to have at a minimum a Business Plan, list of prospective investors to target and strategy on the 5 W's (what, why, who, how and when).  Conservatively, you should plan for a three month process start to finish, or longer in some cases.  This is in addition to continuing to operate your startup.

Can you help me raise money?

E Chung Legal Services (ECLS) can help you raise money by advising you through the fundraising process, including reviewing and revising your Business Plan, list of prospective investors and overall strategy on the 5 W's (what, why, who, how and when).  ECLS can also make introductions to prospective investors on a case by case basis.

How much do services cost?

Flexible arrangements are available, including reduced hourly rate, fee deferral and other arrangements, determined on a case by case basis.

Why do I need legal services from anyone when I can get started via an online incorporation site?

While it is easy to incorporate online, a much too common (and costly) mistake by new companies is to fail to issue founder stock properly, which can have significant unintended adverse consequences for future issuances of securities and therefore recruiting, not to mention taxes for founder(s).  It is much easier to avoid these pitfalls with a short, cheap conversation up front with an experienced and qualified advisor like ECLS.

Why should I work with a small operation like ECLS instead of a typical large law firm?

For three primary reasons: (i) you receive the same level of experience and expertise of large law firms (almost 10 years of large law firm experience, almost 20 years of practice), (ii) you receive the added unique experience of real start up operations of not only legal work but also product, business operations and finance (3 years at a startup that raised over $21M from a top tier VC and won a global award in its product category), and (iii) all at significantly lower costs than large law firms. 

What if I only need or want legal services or business services but not both?

You are not limited to any particular type of services.  You can engage ECLS for only legal services or only business services and otherwise tailor services to your current needs.  You can also revise these services as your needs evolve.  

Is there any minimum length of time I have to engage any particular service?

No.  You or ECLS can terminate the engagement at any time (for legal services by ECLS only, subject to professional responsibility rules).  

How can I contact ECLS?

You can contact ECLS by using the contact form below or emailing info [at] echunglaw.com.