Debra B. Vernon is a Partner in the Corporate Practice Group. As a corporate and securities attorney she advises founders, companies and investors on legal issues faced throughout all stages of growth. Debra specializes in startup formation and capitalization, financings, corporate venture, mergers and acquisitions, public offerings and corporate governance. She serves as a strategic advisor to executives and corporate boards. She has successfully negotiated, documented and closed hundreds of transactions, including numerous cross-border investments.

Debra has a background in comp sci, music and literature. At Stanford Law School, her love of the arts merged with her passion for innovation and technology to develop into her career as a startup lawyer in Silicon Valley.  

Debra is a mentor at the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center and for the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship – Caribbean. She is a founding board member of two nonprofit organizations focused on gender equity, the Athena Alliance, whose mission is to increase the number of women serving on corporate boards, and LabGirls STEM Initiative, which hosts events that foster girls’ interest in science and technology.

Debra began her career in the corporate group at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Prior to joining VLP, she was a corporate lawyer at global law firm DLA Piper LLP.

Education

  • J.D., Stanford Law School, 1994, Executive Editor of the Law Review
  • B.A., Yale University, 1989, summa cum laude with distinction
  • The Juilliard School of Music, Pre-College Division, 1985

Honors & Awards

  • Silicon Valley Business Journal “Women of Influence” honoree, 2016.
  • Named in bizwomen.com’s “Silicon Valley Women to Watch,” 2016.

Community Involvement

  • Co-Chair of Annual Fund Campaign, Trinity School, Menlo Park, 2013-14
  • Board of Directors and Secretary, AYSO Region 109 Menlo-Atherton, 2014-16
  • Founder, LabGirls STEM Initiative

Representative Clients and Transactions Include:

  • Investments by GE Ventures, Samsung Ventures, NEA, March Capital.
  • Accelerators Startupbootcamp, SKTA Innopartners, The Fabric, The Hive.
  • Private companies Koombea, Electroninks, GraphWear, LifeFoundry, BeOnAlert.
  • Sale of Hackbright Academy to Capella Education Company.
  • Sale of Mixamo, Inc. to Adobe Systems Incorporated.
  • Sale of Deep Forest Media, Inc. to Rakuten Marketing LLC.
  • Acquisition by Orbis Technologies, Inc. of RSI Content Solutions.
  • Contributing Author: “Changing Tides: Powerful Strategies for Female Founders” (October 2018)
  • Blog Post: “Top 10 Legal Tips for Startup Founders” – LinkedIn – 2016
  • “Form D: Short But Not Simple,” 2014, JD Supra Business Advisor
  • “The European Union’s Proposed Directive for the Legal Protection of Databases,” 10 Boalt Hall High Tech Law Journal 105 (1995).
    • Panelist on Angel Investing, Sponsored by The Club, October 2017
    • Speaker and sponsor, Silicon Valley Business Journal’s “The Pitch,” Women VC Panel, July 2017
    • Panelist on Blockchain and Crypto, Sponsored by Shinect, June 2017
    • Panelist on Women Entrepreneurs, at Viewing of Documentary “She Started It,” Santa Clara University, January 2017
    • Judge for pitch contest and presenter on B Corps, Demo Day, Draper University, July 2016
    • Panelist on entrepreneurship and judge for pitch contest, UC Merced, April 2014