is a partner and business lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP, based in the firm’s Silicon Valley, San Francisco and Los Angeles offices, where he is a member of the Private Equity & Venture Capital, M&A and Transactions Practices and the Technology, Health Care, and Energy Industry Teams. Louis focuses his practice on advising entrepreneurs and their management teams, investors and financial advisors at all stages of growth, from garage to global. Louis especially enjoys being able to help his clients achieve hyper-growth, go public and to successfully obtain optimal liquidity events. Prior to joining Foley, Louis was the founder of a Silicon Valley boutique law firm called L2 Counsel.
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Companies spend billions and invest heavily in technologies that offer greater telepresence and enable an individual’s digital life. Will humans interact with each other via avatars in a three-dimensional virtual space? The “Metaverse” has ramifications for everything people do to live, work and play together digitally. The Metaverse is a digital shared space where everyone can seamlessly interact in a fully immersive, simulated experience. The Metaverse increases the permeability of the borders between various digital environments and the physical world. In the Metaverse, you can interact with virtual objects and real-time information. A place where people join together to create, work, and spend time together in an environment that mixes what is virtual and what is real.
As the way we live and work has increasingly moved into virtual environments (I like to call it a legal metaverse), the boundaries between physical, digital, and biological worlds become blurrier by the day. Sensors lie within devices installed across every aspect of our home, office and mobile environments, connected from the edge of each of your devices to networks that are both local and cloud-based (with many in a foggy place between the two). The ensuing data traffic requires massive computing power for transfer, storage, analysis, and response. The migration to automated cloud computing power has further accelerated the deployment of containers across the public, private and hybrid cloud ecosystems for the transfer, storage, analysis, and response layers. Kubernetes and Docker have emerged as ubiquitous technologies to build, deploy and manage containerized applications using automation, and investors have noticed. Understanding the key legal issues will enable more successful client relationships for both vendors and customers, and inevitably growth and value creation.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed every aspect of our lives, digital transformation in healthcare has accelerated above others. The pandemic has changed the healthcare delivery paradigm from human to digital platforms faster than Klaus Schwab could have imagined. In 2016, the World Economic Forum chairman coined the phrase “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” envisioning the combination of fourth industrial-era technologies in hardware, software, and biology, or cyber-physical systems. These new technologies, leveraging advances in communication, connectivity, and computing power, would usher in a more efficient way to live, work, and socialize. Who knew how the horrific circumstances triggered by a global pandemic could accelerate an evolution that might have taken 20 years and condensed into a single year. Healthcare has gone digital, and there is no going back now.
As society adjusts to a new world of social distance and remote everything, rapid advancements in the digital, physical, and biological spheres are accelerating fundamental changes to the way we live, work, and relate to one another. What Klaus Schwab prophesized in his 2015 book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, is playing out before our very eyes. Quantum computing power, a network architecture that is moving function closer to the edge of our interconnected devices, bandwidth speeds of 5G and beyond, natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are all working together to accelerate innovation in fundamental ways. Given the global pandemic, in the biological sphere, government industrial policy drives the public sector to work hand-in-glove with private industry and academia to develop new therapies and vaccines to treat and prevent COVID-19 and other lethal diseases. This post will envision the future of gene editing technologies and the legal and ethical challenges that could imperil their mission of saving lives.
Starting your own business is exciting. Finding the right partner to share the same vision is vital for the company’s future success. However, people don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to important details like finances, marketing, and a strategic business plan. Throw in a global pandemic to turn the economy upside down, and things become even more complicated. Lately, business partners have had to face unusually significant challenges due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on business operations and revenue. With uncertainty continuing to loom over our economy’s future, those challenges are likely here to stay for a while. Fortunately, some companies have been able to find relief during this stressful time through government stimulus checks, insurance claims and other types of aid. On the other hand, many have faced roadblocks, causing disagreements between partners and their visions for the future. The added disruption brought on by COVI9-19 has led some to a business divorce, which is more easily managed when there are clear contractual agreements in place. Without such comprehensive agreements between owners, businesses are in danger of failing.
On the heels of a global pandemic where safety requires that we socially distance and work from anywhere, demand is exploding for innovation to adapt to this new way of living. Our new environment will require more and more computing power to migrate to the edge of the network. Computing power housed in data centers and cloud environments is moving closer to end-users and devices in edge computing centers. Eventually, fueled by ubiquitous 5G+ connectivity bandwidths, one can foresee the migration of computing power to the very edge of your interconnected devices. Technology is racing forward to meet the challenges and exploit new opportunities. Ethical questions will need to be answered to regulate through the evolving network technology architecture. Corporate legal functions will need to adapt and partner with product managers to ensure compliance.
The recently published Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2020 ranks the top global startup ecosystems by metrics including performance, funding, connectedness, talent, and knowledge to highlight the winning startup cities worldwide. In a league of their own, this year’s top five global startup ecosystems have a combined value of $1.5 trillion, 1.7 times the remaining top ecosystems. Silicon Valley maintains the #1 ranking, a position it has held since 2012, when rankings were first released. Meanwhile, New York remains at #2, although now tied with London. And finally, Beijing is at #4, and Boston is at #5. Tel-Aviv and Los Angeles rounded out the top seven. The 2020 analysis includes almost 300 ecosystems, up from 60 in 2018 and 150 in 2019. It ranks the top 40 global startup ecosystems and 100 emerging startup ecosystems.
Technology innovation in artificial intelligence (AI) is accelerating at a breakneck pace, and the ability to innovate, adopt and integrate AI techniques to evolve business models will separate those businesses that recover from the COVID-19 pandemic from those that will fail. Four artificial intelligence technologies are poised to lead the global economy out of the pandemic-induced recession. Applications for these technologies across verticals abound. Smart strategic and financial investors are scouring the market for new ways to digitally disrupt established businesses. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of sharing critical information across countries about the spread of coronavirus has been emphasized. However, much remains unsaid about how COVID-19 could have been managed more efficiently by using advanced data technologies that have transformed businesses. Here are four areas where AI could change the face of the post-COVID economy