When Venture Best Of Counsel Paul Jones first heard of Ascentia Health, at the 2011 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium conference in Madison, he was puzzled. The company seemed to have a good medical device product, a good market, and solid IP and regulatory approval. Yet, it was going nowhere, plagued with internal strife, and (for all practical purposes) broke.
“When we first heard from Paul, after the Early Stage Symposium, it was a pretty harsh message,” recalls Ascentia Founder and inventor Lawrence G. Clayton. “He basically told us that we had made some serious missteps, but that he had some ideas for righting the ship and moving forward. He suggested that the Venture Best team could help us out on the legal front if we addressed some key business issues, starting with bringing on board an industry experienced CEO.”
Working with an executive recruiter recommended by a former entrepreneur and client of Paul’s in North Carolina, Ascentia recruited that CEO, and over the following 5 years, Venture Best and the broader Michael Best team helped the company resolve key litigation matters, firm up its IP position, establish a strategic partnership with a more established company, and ultimately achieve an exit for the Ascentia team.
“The Venture Best team brought a whole lot more than legal chops to the table,” Clayton said. “The legal work was outstanding, across a bunch of areas, but there was so much more than that in terms of seeing the critical need for new management and assisting with that process. The Venture Best team managed the often difficult dynamics associated with getting the capital structure right, and straightened out some messy legacy issues needed to get the company re-launched.”
“Ascentia is a great story of how Venture Best can not only deliver the legal goods, but also help entrepreneurs flesh out business opportunities and work around seemingly deal-breaking business challenges. It’s what makes being a Venture Best lawyer so professionally rewarding – and so much fun.” Melissa Turczyn, Chair of Venture Best.