Jonathan Axelrad

Jonathan Axelrad


Jonathan Axelrad is a corporate partner in DLA Piper's San Francisco office, where his practice focuses on the representation of venture-backed companies developing disruptive technologies. Jonathan counsels entrepreneurs from business formation through exit and the venture funds that invest in them. A seasoned legal and business advisor, he has completed more than 500 venture financings and shepherded many companies to exit, be it through M&A or public offerings. Jonathan has also built deep relationships with a broad network of venture capitalists and strategic investors and enjoys connecting his clients to sources of capital.

Jonathan cofounded DLA Piper's Climate Tech Initiative. Since moving to the United States in 1999 to work on global warming policy, Jonathan has developed a national practice helping companies and investors that focus on developing climate solutions. He enjoys leading cross-disciplinary teams, pulling from DLA Piper's extensive legal bench to help businesses reach their goals.

Jonathan is a member of DLA Piper's Venture Fund Investment Committee, Emerging Growth and Venture Capital Leadership Group, and Legal AI Study Group. He also supports numerous pro bono clients.

Bar admissionsCalifornia


Representative Experience

  • AEye, Inc (NASDAQ: LIDR), the global leader in adaptive, high-performance LiDAR solutions, from its Series A investment through the recent closing and public listing on the NASDAQ via a business combination with CF Finance Acquisition Corp. III, a special purpose acquisition company that valued AEye pre-closing at over US$1.5 billion
  • Navitas Semiconductor (NASDAQ: NVTS), the industry leader in next-generation semiconductor technology, from formation through its US$1.04 billion going-public merger with Live Oak Acquisition Corp. II, a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company
  • Streetlight Data, a pioneer in mobility analytics, from its Series C financing through acquisition by Jacobs (NYSE:J)
  • Lux Capital and Congruent Ventures in numerous venture financings
  • English
  • Japanese
  • French
  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center 2004
    Georgetown International Law Journal
    cum laude
  • B.A., University of Victoria 1997
    with distinction


The Legal 500 United States

  • Recommended, Private Equity Buyouts (2016)
  • Recommended, Venture Capital & Emerging (2016)

Chambers USA

  • California Venture Capital (2024)

Pro Bono

On a pro bono basis, Jonathan has represented Activate, the Harvard Business School Green Business Alumni Association, Stanford Energy Club and the American Jewish Committee, and led firm sponsorships of the Harvard Climate Symposium and the MIT Climate and Energy Prize.

Insight Overview

Jonathan is a frequent speaker on issues related to emerging growth companies, including new business formation, venture financing, climate tech, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance.


  • "Scaling your Climate Tech Startup," MIT Climate and Clean Energy Price), 2024
  • "Late-Stage Venture Capital Investment Trends," Practicing Law Institute (PLI), San Francisco, 2023
  • "Venture Capital 2015: Nuts and Bolts," Practicing Law Institute (PLI), San Francisco, 2015
  • "Private Company M&A and the Angel Investor," Band of Angels, 2014
  • "Cleantech Past, Present and Future: Solutions for a Troubled Planet?," AJC Business and Technology Series, California, 2013
  • "Insight into innovation," Environmental Business Cluster's CEO Roundtable, San Jose, California, 2012
  • "Nuts and Bolts of Managing Your Early-Stage Startup through the Initial Valley of Death," MIT, Boston, 2012

Prior Experience

Earlier in his career, Jonathan worked in the San Francisco office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where he represented emerging growth companies focused on climate tech and in the mergers and acquisitions practice of Fried Frank in New York. Prior to his legal career, Jonathan worked for a national nonprofit on global warming issues and, later, for then-Congressman Jay Inslee, followed by a stint with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by then-Congressman John Dingell.