When George Nemphos cofounded law firm Nemphos Braue — or NB Law — in 2016, he knew that the firm would be uniquely positioned to represent emerging companies, being a startup itself. Today, Nemphos considers his role to be that of a “startup sherpa,” guiding new businesses along the steep learning curve to success.
“With somebody who’s new to being an entrepreneur and new to business, you definitely want to take your time with them and you want to get to know them as a person as much as you can, along with their long-term vision and goals and how they think they can get there,” said Nemphos of his approach to representing startups. “You want to guide them without pulling them along. You need to be as much a cheerleader as you are a teacher.”
Nemphos Braue has put its guiding principle to work with client Amalgam RX, which builds software to help patients and doctors manage chronic disease.
“Our goal at Amalgam is to help people get as healthy as possible by using technology to support their best behaviors,” such as taking their medications, exercising and adhering to treatment plans, explained Amalgam founder Ryan Sysko.
From the outset, Sysko knew that Amalgam would need guidance negotiating intellectual property, business development agreements and partnerships.
“I was really drawn to this idea of partnering with a lawyer and law firm from the beginning to really help support us in everything from corporate formation to deciding on the right corporate structure,” said Sysko. “The timing was perfect. At the start of Amalgam, George was starting NB Law, and the rest is history.”
Sysko says that NB Law was able to help Amalgam in ways that perhaps a bigger law firm wouldn’t have, with the flexibility to meet the needs of entrepreneurs. To that, Nemphos credits the firm’s attorneys and staff.
“Everybody here has worked with startups for pretty much their whole career,” Nemphos said, explaining that he and firm cofounder Tim Braue were both lawyers at large international firms before setting out on their own and starting NB Law. “In starting our own firm we really got an opportunity to see what our clientele were experiencing on a day-to-day basis. Being a startup is fast and crazy — it can be really intense but extraordinarily rewarding.”
Nemphos says the firm has taken the time to understand the distinct issues of startups, not only from a legal standpoint but from an operational standpoint as well. Beyond that, NB Law represents a range of clients including venture capitalists, private equity funds and angel investors, and includes in its list of specialities corporate law and mergers and acquisitions.
“There’s an entrepreneurial spirit,” he said. “You can have a company that’s farther along but is moving into a new area, so it’s somewhat still a startup because they’re changing and trying to grow in a different way.”
In the world of startups, things can move quickly and require real-time assistance, as Sysko learned while Amalgam — a holding company with subsidiaries — was setting up its corporate structure.
“George really helped us through this complex structure, which has served us well across a number of dimensions,” said Sysko. “As we were thinking through that structure it was really helpful to have George wearing both his tax and law hats.”
As Amalgam raises more money, builds new partnerships and finds new talent, Sysko is thinking about the company’s natural evolution and how it can continue to engage with NB Law.
“George’s experience across the life cycle of organizations, along with the entire firm, we envision to be really helpful,” he said.”