A current partner with Lee & Hayes, PLLC and a registered patent attorney, Andrew Eisenberg is primarily engaged in assisting technology startups and small businesses to navigate the complex legal landscape associated with starting a business, developing strategic IP assets (e.g. patents and trademarks), raising capital, and planning an exit strategy.
Sounds like a lot of legal jargon? To put it simply, Andrew’s goal is to educate businesses on relevant legal topics. In the business world, it’s easy to fall victim to legal issues; Andrew doesn’t want people to make unnecessary (and avoidable) mistakes.
Seeing businesses – particularly start-ups – succeed is Andrew’s definition of job satisfaction. Why? Because he’s been in the startup game himself and understands the thrills (and disappointments) that come with starting a new business.
Despite extensive experience in the legal professional, Andrew hasn’t spent his entire career making sense of legal jargon. He has hands-on experience with startups; he’s walked in the shoes of an entrepreneur and understands the sacrifices, long nights, hard work – and legal aspects – of building a business from the ground up.
Starting out as an engineering intern for Dell Inc., Andrew’s first taste of success was the completion of a project that reduced the company’s yearly internal database maintenance expense by $3.125M. Not bad for an intern! He then worked as a Summer Associate at L.C. Begin & Associates, before graduating from Notre Dame’s law school in 2009 during the recession. Andrew then made the decision to move from Michigan to Texas where he passed the Bar Exam.
At this point, Andrew began to work for start-up Audiotoniq Inc. (a high tech, cutting edge firm that produced hearing aids), as general counsel. Over the course of more than three and half years working for Audiotoniq, he was named as an inventor on what is currently three issued patents and one pending application;. At Audiotoniq, Andrew gained expertise in FDA filings, corporate formations, vendor agreements, equity and VC deals, and patents and trademarks. Andrew also negotiated multi-million dollar international agreements, including selling, brokering, valuation and analytics relating to intellectual property. Audiotoniq provided him with the experience one can only obtain from working for a high-tech start-up.
Of course, one can’t truly understand start-ups without being part of a failed one. When a start-up fails, it’s doesn’t mean those involved are failures; the important thing is to learn from mistakes and move on. And to have a solid exit strategy in place. In the case of this failed start-up, the exit strategy involved selling the IP portfolio and, thanks to Andrew’s work filing and obtaining patents, the stakeholders made their money back. Andrew’s personal experience in start-ups spans funded and unfunded ventures; he understands the concept of bootstrapping just as well as he knows how to handle big investment dollars.
Over the past few years, Andrew has worked with some big-name clients as a partner with two of the leading IP firms in the country, Lee & Hayes and Michael Best.
Working for two of the top patent filers in the country, Andrew has experience managing high stake assets in complicated technologies for clients who demand unsurpassed work quality. During his time at Lee & Hayes, Andrew began devoting himself to start-ups and worked with a broad range of businesses, including event organizers, service providers, software as a service (SaaS) providers, physical products (including food), high-tech start-ups, mixed and virtual reality system providers, economists, autonomous vehicle manufacturers, drone manufacturers and more. The list goes on!
Drawing on experience from high tech start-ups and working with many companies on the Fortune 500 list – Andrew has a clear vision of how new businesses develop legal strategies to protect themselves and increase intrinsic value. As a start-up, the law can work in your favor when you understand it – but it can also be your undoing if you aren’t equipped with the necessary knowledge or experience.
Andrew has – and still does – a lot of mentoring and speaking on the topic of start-ups and the law. He has been a guest speaker on the radio broadcast The Struggling Entrepreneur; spoken at SXSW; presented as a guest topic expert on the television series Austin Business Matters and KXAN; become a columnist for online publication Business 2 Community; written for CEO Magazine, the Austin Business Journal, Texas CEO Magazine and more; judged the University of Texas’ Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition; and also presented at Innovation Week Austin, Austin Inventors and Entrepreneurs Association, and BOSS-Talks Tech.
For almost a year, Andrew held a board member position at Austin Inventopreneurs – a group dedicated to helping inventors and entrepreneurs succeed in their ventures through the dissemination of lessons learnt and best practices.
Andrew also founded and hosted a monthly presentation series called First Success. This initiative was directed towards helping small businesses achieve their first business success.
These days, Andrew chooses to work with entrepreneurs because a) he loves start-ups, and b) he finds this type of work a lot of fun!
Working as a partner at Lee & Hayes, Andrew provides his clients with unique insights and knowledge regarding the legal challenges and benefits of building and maintaining a result driven portfolio in an entrepreneurial environment.
Away from his current role at Lee & Hayes, he volunteers as a business mentor expert with a project called First Looks Forum – which is sponsored by the Texas Entrepreneurs Network. The First Look Forum provides entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet mentors in order to prepare their company for funding and growth.
Andrew also organizes a monthly legal meetup called Startup Law Austin developed for inventors and entrepreneurs. This initiative has been created as a free community resource to provide entrepreneurs, inventors, students, founders, and C-level executives with insights into the legal landscape associated with starting a company in a high-tech environment.
A leader in developing legal strategies for businesses, Andrew is currently a founder and general counsel for a start-up whose goal it is to promote education and the excitement associated with start-ups. The Small Business Festival was created to celebrate small business owners and entrepreneurs who are engaged in the dream of owning their own business. Rated an Inc. Magazine Top 5 Must-Attend Conference, the festival offers educational subjects that are important to small businesses through a weeklong series of presentations. The festival includes expert speakers, panels, resource groups and networking opportunities for small businesses, as well as premier keynote speakers sharing success stories. The yearly events coincide with National Small Business Week and are streamed live throughout America and China.
Andrew is backed by a breadth of experience that you may not expect from an attorney who is under 34 years of age; in fact, few if any have the combination of both practical and legal experience that he has.
Andrew believes that a business’s legal structure should reflect the long-term goal of the business. Drawing together practical experience as a startup founder, as well as extensive legal education and experience, Andrew has a holistic view when it comes to ensuring businesses are set up to succeed. He is passionate about start-ups; he has enjoyed the ups and downs of being intimately involved with launching them, and loves the challenges that inevitably pop up along the way.
So why is Andrew working predominantly as an attorney, rather than exclusively pursuing his own business ventures?
Simply put, he’s driven by a desire to see others succeed. It can be frustrating when working with clients who have been misled or run into issues through sheer lack of knowledge. As he explains in one of his many articles, “One of the most difficult and unpleasant tasks I am faced with is sitting across the table from a client with a legal concern that is either too far gone or too expensive to correct”.
In the business world, taking on a proactive approach is everything. Andrew is committed to helping clients adopt a pre-emptive approach where the preventable issues are prevented, and the controllable is controlled. Not every startup is destined to make millions; in fact, not all start-up’s are capable of a success full stop. However, it’s knowing how to mitigate risk – particularly via legal channels – that for many can be the difference between success and failure.
An attorney with an ability to think outside the box and go that extra mile for clients, Andrew is lawyer with a difference – rather than merely telling you where to step, he has experienced walking in your shoes.
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