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CMS equIP | Helping Start-ups scale

Helping start-ups scale

Starting, and building a successful business takes a good idea, a lot of energy and determination plus the right opportunities and the right people.

As an early-stage business, legal advice may be pushed to the bottom of the priority list, not least due to the issue of cost. However, for a business to scale successfully, especially when investors are involved, having the right foundations is imperative.

There are heaps of frustrations and obstacles starting a company. It sometimes seems like you spend more time negotiating or selling your business to investors and lawyers than on delivering on the promises you have made. That frustration is multiplied every time your business needs to expand, enter a new market, look for advice under a different country’s law or structure a deal in another jurisdiction.

CMS equIP helps your business wherever you want to take it.

As part of the programme, you automatically benefit from the same conditions in any other participating jurisdiction. This is a one-of-a-kind international support arrangement for start-ups that you will not find anywhere else in the world. Much of equIP is exactly the same, whatever the location – we offer start-ups the same quality legal advice, and the same training, mentoring and networking opportunities, wherever they are in the world, albeit with some different focuses in different markets.

Continuing reading to learn more about the international programme or jump directly to see all participating jurisdictions via the button below.

See jurisdictions

What is equIP?

equIP is a dedicated programme to support start-ups who are intellectual property rich. Once you become a member of the equIP programme, you benefit from the following:

Special treatment
A 50% discount on our standard hourly rates for 3 years. Total amount will vary based on jurisdiction.


Same conditions everywhere
Becoming member in one jurisdiction automatically means you can benefit from the same conditions in all participating jurisdictions.


Introductions to relevant industry players
Whether it be like-minded entrepreneurs or investors, we know who you should be talking to.


Added value
Access to meeting venues, events organised exclusively for you and an ever growing network of fellow entrepreneurs across our multiple jurisdictions.

Who are we?

  • A full service law firm with a strong sector focus across multiple expertise areas including:
    • Technology, Media and Communications
    • Energy
    • Hotels & Leisure
    • Financial institutions & services 
    • Lifesciences & Healthcare 
  • Working with some of the biggest names in tech and other sectors as well as up and coming disruptors. 
  • Well networked in each sector industry through clients and industry partners.
  • The only law firm in Europe that can offer you extensive IP support through our 100 strong international team of IP lawyers, patent and trade mark attorneys.

How to be a part of equIP:

  1. You can check to see if your local jurisdiction has an equIP team currently in place from the list of participating jurisdictions at the end of the page. There you can learn more about the team's local expertise and offering, and apply directly to the local programme.
  2. You can send a general inquiry to our International equIP team by filling out the form in the link below.

Apply now


Do we need to be seed funded to apply?
Save in special circumstances (e.g. we are approached by an already proven, successful management team) we are not looking to support businesses at the idea stage or at a very early stage. We would expect each of our new members to have previously received seed funding (generally this means an initial round of friends & family funding and a subsequent round of Angel-led funding)

At what stage of development/funding do you expect the applicants to be?
We would expect the new businesses on the programme to be demonstrating strong growth and be ready to do a Series A fundraising roughly in the next six to nine months – We define a Series A for these purposes as the first ‘institutional’ fundraise for the business, i.e. where a business is looking to raise finance from a Corporate Venture Team, a VC fund or an at-scale Family Office (or similar).

Do we need to demonstrate any revenue?
Each new member should already be receiving revenue from a product or service that has been taken to market. Generally we do not want to support pre-revenue businesses.

Do we need to have people employed at the company in order to be eligible to applyfor equIP?
Hiring staff shows commitment to and belief in a business. Most businesses we accept onto the programme should have in excess of 15 employees actively engaged in running the business.

Are businesses in certain sectors more interesting than others?
We are currently focused on supporting tech enabled businesses that fit with one or more of CMS’s identified sectors (see main page). We are also looking to support businesses that are developing products or services that may assist with our own focus on innovation initiatives. Business that are active in the Legal Tech space will be of interest as well.

Do we have to cover all of the above requirements to apply?
No, you can cover a combination of those and still be eligible to apply. Please contact us either through the main landing page of the program or through your local page if you have questions that you still haven’t gotten answers to.

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