Gould + Ratner

Private Equity and Venture Capital

The Private Equity and Venture Capital Practice at Gould & Ratner is unique among Chicago law firms, with a skilled and experienced team of corporate lawyers who work closely with some of the nation's largest and most prestigious private equity funds and venture capital firms, as well as numerous entrepreneurs, startups, emerging companies and closely held businesses.

Our lawyers have significant experience representing investors across a wide range of industries, both in traditional areas like manufacturing and real estate, as well as in emerging verticals like alternative energy and cryptocurrency.  Our team can scale up or down depending on the need of our clients, whether they’re a large venture capital firm acting as lead investor in a $100 million-plus deal or an individual taking a $1 million-plus stake in a start-up.  

We often find ourselves at the deal table with lawyers from much larger law firms, yet it’s our clients who remark repeatedly on how much more value we provide with practical, business-focused counsel that’s tailored specifically to meet the needs of our clients.  We’ve earned many new clients in subsequent deals who had previously sat across the table, a proud distinction for our practice and reflective of our exceptional level of client service.

Our practice is large enough to:

  • Handle more than $10 billion of transactions in the last decade
  • Close an average of more than 50 venture capital and private equity transactions per year
  • Handle transactions of more than $1 billion in value
  • Structure sophisticated and complex domestic and foreign transactions
  • Represent many recognizable clients in the middle market, both in the Midwest and internationally
  • Handle all facets of private equity deals, including fund formations and relations with boards, investors, founders and key executives

But we also scale down to:

  • Value our close and longstanding relationships with middle-market, family office and entrepreneurial clients
  • Provide significant involvement, oversight and service from lawyers with longtime experience in corporate transactions of all kinds
  • Have an efficient, effective staffing model and cost structure
  • Use a collaborative, team-oriented approach tailored to our client’s needs
  • Avoid layers – and costs related to – unnecessary specialists and undertrained associates
  • Stress practicality and business solutions over excessive billing rates

Representing funds, investors in funds, family offices and other dynamic businesses, our team has extensive experience in negotiating and documenting their investment in private companies, including early stage, growth stage, later stage, recapitalizations, workouts and management buyouts.

Our experience includes representing these clients as lead investors, as well as in structuring and executing platform, add-on and other acquisition and sale transactions. We also represent a large number of funds, founders and management teams in connection with venture capital financings.

In the past decade, we have represented family offices and other high-net-worth investors in more than 200 investments in private equity, venture capital and other investment funds. Our attorneys have also represented various investors in more than 20 co-investments made alongside financial sponsors in the last few years.

Representative Matters

  • Represented a privately held company in a $100 million lead investment in a real estate fund
  • Formed a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to be the lead investor in a tequila seltzer company
  • Represented a fund in making a $30 million lead investment in a cryptocurrency company
  • Represented the lead investor in the $20 million investment into a nickel-zinc battery technology company, and the transaction had a pre-money valuation of ~$200 million
  • Represented a client who was the lead investor in two sequential rounds of a lithium ion battery technology company, where the client invested $15 million to $30 million
  • Led the investment and restructuring of a waste heat recapture company, including making a $5 million investment and restructuring the company to account for new circumstances
  • Represented the lead investor in $5.2 million series seed preferred investment into sports technology and gaming company
  • Represented a venture capital fund making several investments in early stage software, biotech and telecommunication service companies
  • Represented a sole investor in $15 million convertible debt round into infrastructure development company
  • Represented lead investor in $1.2 million series A investment in Chicago-based energy harvest start-up
  • Represented the lead investor in $1.4 million series seed investment in independent professional hockey league venture
  • Represented the lead investor in $2 million series seed financing of fitness and sports software company
  • Represented the lead investor in $20 million series B raise for an energy storage technology company


  • Represented a majority member in a $43,000,000 membership interest acquisition of a privately held ski resort company
  • Represented an investor in making a $30 million investment in one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange platforms
  • Represented a client in three discrete rounds of investments (over five years) in a solar technology company, and the transaction included both equity and convertible debt, for a total investment amount of between $15 to $20 million
  • Represented a cross-border client in three rounds of investment of $30 to $40 million into a lithium-ion battery technology company (with a pre-money value of $150 million) over the past four year
  • Represented a Chicago-based private equity firm in the $15 million acquisition/purchase of a South Dakota-based clean energy agriculture company
  • Represented an investor who invested $5 million in a unique LED technology that alters the wavelength emitted by LED technology to improve agricultural yields
  • Represented several family office clients in clean energy technology investments, or ESG funds, with a valuation of $100 million invested in various funds
  • Represented a $5 million investment into cell tower technology that improves 5G cell phone tower deployment
  • Represented several family offices, funds, and other investors in cryptocurrency investments ranging between $50 and $100 million, primarily in the decentralized finance space
  • Represented several funds in multiple rounds of investments in a leading wellness software developer
  • Represented a fund investing in an A round investment in a Southwest-based developer of marketing analysis software
  • Represented a real estate investment fund with its formation and private offering of up to $50 million of preferred equity in the manufactured housing space
  • Represented a venture backed investment fund in angel and series round investments in various healthcare technology companies
  • Represented private venture fund in the acquisition of stock of a high-tech manufacturing business, including negotiation of employment agreements, option plans and other incentive arrangements for retained executive management


  • Represented company in a $15 million series A funding in the artificial intelligence and biophysical simulation technology space
  • Represented an e-sports company in a $5,500,000 series seed preferred equity financing round
  • Represented a technology company in a series A fundraising round
  • Represented a Texas-based residential service software company that received multiple rounds of private debt and equity financing, and then was sold to a private company
  • Helped an East Coast-based SEO company raise angel and then series A capital
  • Represented biotech company in negotiations with venture capital firms resulting in the issuance of $1.5 million of preferred stock and $1 million of senior subordinated debentures and warrants
  • Represented a national medical device company in strategic acquisition by private equity fund.
  • Assisted in raising funds for a neurofitness company and entering into a joint venture with a renowned fitness brand
  • Helped a leading branded food company receive a venture capital infusion, refinanced bank debt and incentivized management
  • Represented an agriculture technology company in a $6 million series A raise and subsequent $4 million bridge convertible note financing
The touchstone of our service to clients is translating our legal skill and business experience into practical solutions that work, helping our clients succeed.