DLA Piper, working with Global Corporate Venturing (GCV), is launching an online version of its course on Best Practices for Board Members and Board Observers at the GCV's Venture Summit in Monterey on January 31, 2018.
The course prepares Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) professionals to serve as board members and board observers for companies in which they invest. The course provides details on the legal framework and obligations of board members and board observers, as well as best practices in creating an effective board.
A recent survey by GCV noted that CVC investors are increasingly taking board positions: 40 percent of CVCs report that they now take board seats in more than half of their investments. GVC notes that as startups remain private longer and raise larger amounts of capital, the role of boards has become increasingly complex.
"Along with the explosive growth of corporate venture capital in recent years, there have been new opportunities and challenges presented to corporations investing in, and seeking innovation from, startup technology companies," said Mark Radcliffe, global chair of DLA Piper's Corporate Venture Capital practice. "CVC groups and professionals are increasingly taking board positions at these startups, and their positions carry new responsibilities, risks and liabilities."
According to GCV, the number of corporate investors has doubled in the last five years from 480 to more than 1150. Today, corporate investors provide approximately 20 percent of the funds invested in startups. According to Fortune magazine, more than 75 Fortune 100 companies are now active in corporate venture and half of those have established dedicated CVC units.
The DLA Piper course includes an overview of basic fiduciary duties and best practices for board service as well as a discussion of the issues at play in ensuring an effective board. The course includes five advanced memorandums which can be downloaded and taken to board meetings: Duties upon a Merger; Duties in a Spinout; Duties upon Insolvency; Intellectual Property: Critical Issues; and Patent Prosecution Strategy.
"One of the most challenging areas for corporations who invest and partner for innovation is in taking board and observer roles," said Heidi Mason, managing partner, Bell Mason Group. "Engaged and capable board members can be a great catalyst for accelerated value and performance. With the DLA Piper course, corporate venture professionals will now have crucial access to expert guidance, whenever and wherever they may need it."
"We are pleased that DLA Piper is launching an online version of its course, Best Practices for Board Members and Board Observers," said James Mawson, founder and editor, Global Corporate Venturing. "A version of this course was provided at our GCV Academy and received excellent reviews. We look forward to working with DLA Piper to assist the CVC community in understanding their roles as board members and board observers."