August 18, 2021
Latham & Watkins LLP1 is pleased to announce its role as a founding member of the Open Cap Table Coalition, a cross-industry group that is collaborating to improve the interoperability, transparency, and portability of startup capitalization data. The working group includes major law firms that advise emerging companies, as well as leading software providers. The Coalition aims to help build standards and develop best practices that serve early-stage and fast-growth companies.
Every startup needs to maintain a capitalization table, an often complex record of securities issued by the company that can include common and preferred stock, options, warrants, other convertible equity, and more.
“Yet, to date there has been no agreed-upon standard for how to maintain a cap table, so emerging companies and their advisers have had to rely on an ad hoc combination of spreadsheets and other tools to keep track of it all,” said Chris Martin, Supervisor of Emerging Technology Solutions at Latham & Watkins. “We saw an exciting opportunity to create an industry group of forward-thinking law firms and software vendors to drive interoperability and more easily manage the complexities of startup capitalization.”
As a foundational step, the Coalition members have produced a first iteration of the Open Cap Table Format (OCF), an open source format to enable a new, more collaborative era in capitalization data management that aims to prioritize companies’ changing needs and help the ecosystem become more efficient.
Ben Potter, a Bay Area partner who serves as Global Chair of Latham’s Technology Industry Group and as Global Vice Chair of the firm’s Emerging Companies Practice, said: “Our familiarity with the issues our startup clients must navigate helped us recognize the importance of this collaborative effort to break down data silos and make it easier to share cap table data across legal tech tools and platforms.”
Added John Chory, a Boston partner and Global Chair of the firm’s Emerging Companies Practice: “Our clients are among the most innovative companies in the world, and they expect their counsel to be innovative as well. As more law firms and technology providers adopt the OCF standard, we’ll be able to deliver a more seamless experience to clients while enabling our attorneys to focus on what they do best – providing industry-leading advice and outcomes.”
In addition to Latham & Watkins, the founding members of the Open Cap Table Coalition include: Carta; Cooley; Fenwick & West; Goodwin Procter; Gunderson Dettmer; LTSE Software; Morgan Stanley | Shareworks; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
About Latham & Watkins
Latham & Watkins delivers innovative solutions to complex legal and business challenges around the world. From a global platform, our lawyers advise clients on market-shaping transactions, high-stakes litigation and trials, and sophisticated regulatory matters. Latham is one of the world’s largest providers of pro bono services, steadfastly supports initiatives designed to advance diversity within the firm and the legal profession, and is committed to exploring and promoting environmental sustainability.
Notes to Editors
1 Latham & Watkins operates worldwide as a limited liability partnership organized under the laws of the State of Delaware (USA) with affiliated limited liability partnerships conducting the practice in France, Hong Kong, Italy, Singapore, and the United Kingdom and as an affiliated partnership conducting the practice in Japan. Latham & Watkins operates in South Korea as a Foreign Legal Consultant Office. Latham & Watkins works in cooperation with the Law Office of Salman M. Al-Sudairi in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.