Canadian Lawyer

October 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 28 of 59 27 COVID-19 has accelerated their growth." Founded in 1997, LaBarge Weinstein primarily serves knowledge-based compa- nies, technology startups and their investors. The firm provides business-focused solutions throughout a company's life cycle from an idea to IPO and beyond. It now has a team of 26 lawyers who have recognized expertise in public and private financing transactions, mergers and acqui- sitions, securities law, tax structuring and commercialization of technology. Among Its list of current and past clients are Coherent Path, Fully Managed, Canopy Growth, ApplyBoard, Avivagen, Fiix, 7shifts, Vena Solutions, You.i TV, Mejuri, Shopify, Wattpad and MindBridge Analytics. Kyle Lavender, another firm lawyer, now based in Vancouver but planning to soon move to the firm's Toronto office, agrees that some aspects of the tech firms he works with are inherently well suited to the circum- stances surrounding COVID-19 or have pivoted to succeed in a world where the virus exists. For instance, he says, the firm earlier this year helped Top Hat — a digital textbook company that hopes to disrupt the tradi- tional print market — raise $72 million in a Series D financing. Lavender points out that it has an "active learning platform" for higher education and offers digital, interactive text- books and course materials for professors and students at post-secondary institutions, something that could be an important tool as students return to class but often in an online format. Sami gives another example of a LaBarge Weinstein client that fits into the reality of COVID-19 — last-mile logistics provider GoFor Industries. It recently closed a seed round of financing worth almost $10 million. GoFor's on-demand platform matches its large inventory of operators and drivers to the needs of retailers and suppliers. Other deals on which the firm has worked include financing for Equispheres, total- ling $30 million, to develop its technology of metal powders that can be used in 3D printing applications. "We may be doing fewer deals in terms of volume, but they are bigger, high-quality deals," says Sami. He adds that the Canadian tech sector, while still young, is maturing, and Toronto is becoming a tech hub, which is why Lavender will be joining the team there. As a boutique firm, Lavender says LaBarge Weinstein can work more as a "partner or coach" for firms that may have innovative technology but are just starting out and don't have a lot of cash flow. "They appreciate that we don't throw a bunch of lawyers at a situa- tion, that we are focused and take a personal approach rather than a delegation approach." Sami agrees, and notes that LaBarge Weinstein understands the early days of startups and is willing to "catch up on payments" from firms when they do get the financing. "I think that is a model that has worked well for us and one that clients thank us for." MEP Business Counsel Vancouver Most of the staff at MEP Business Counsel have "been there, done that" when it comes to working with the big national and inter- national law firms, managing partner Marshall Pawar says, so when they come to the boutique corporate law firm, what they're often hoping to do is "flex their entrepre- neurial muscles." "The reason we broke out from the large firms is not just to focus on smaller deals, or work nine to five. It was very much wanting to continue doing sophisticated corporate work but be able to do it on a different, more

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