Welcome

Benchmark Adds Goodwin Partner as Operating Partner, Legal Chief

July 20, 2020, 8:51 AM

Benchmark Capital has a new general counsel and operating partner for the first time in two decades.

Former Goodwin Procter partner An-Yen Eric Hu has taken on both roles this month at Benchmark, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm known for its early investments in eBay Inc., Snap Inc., Uber Technologies Inc., and other startup companies like Factor, the former managed services arm of alternative legal services provider Axiom.

Steven Spurlock, a former co-founding partner at Gunderson Dettmer who joined Benchmark in 1999 at the height of the dotcom boom, confirmed in an email that Hu will transition into his role as operating partner and in-house legal chief.

“In my role, I will be focusing on the legal and operational elements of firm matters, so that the investing partners can focus on investing and working with management teams,” Hu said in an email about his new position at Benchmark.

Hu’s hire, which hadn’t yet been made public, saw him join San Francisco-based Benchmark’s office in Woodside, Calif. Benchmark was founded in 1995.

A Goodwin spokeswoman said Benchmark is a client of the firm, where Hu served as hiring partner for its Silicon Valley office. Hu officially left the firm June 19.

Goodwin is representing Benchmark in litigation filed by an investor claiming to have invented a health care ride-sharing program. Uber and ride-sharing rival Lyft Inc. are also defendants in the case. Benchmark and Uber engaged in a high-profile battle in 2017 with Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick, who succeeded in forcing the venture capital firm into arbitration over his exit from the company. Uber went public last year.

Hu, who began his legal career in 2007 as an associate at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, jumped to Goodwin’s office in Redwood City, Calif., as an associate in 2011. He made partner three years later, specializing in capital markets, corporate governance, life sciences, securities compliance, technology transactions, and venture financing work.

In 2017, Hu led a Goodwin team representing underwriters led by Morgan Stanley on the $3.4 billion initial public offering of Benchmark-backed Snap, owner of social media app Snapchat.

Gates Grabs CZI Lawyer

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative LLC, a for-profit philanthropic endeavor controlled by Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, saw deputy general counsel Hillary Bounds decamp in May to join the family office of Microsoft Corp. billionaire Bill Gates.

Hillary Bounds, who served as vice president of legal for the San Francisco-based CZI, is now deputy general counsel at Gates Ventures LLC, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Bounds didn’t respond to a request for comment about her new role, nor did CZI general counsel Erika Rottenberg. A CZI spokeswoman said a foundation counsel role it’s currently hiring for is separate from the position that Bounds held.

Bounds joined CZI as counsel in 2016 from a senior counsel role at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, a nonprofit started by the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard and his wife.

Bounds, a former corporate associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Los Angeles, previously served as an associate general counsel and director of contracting for the now-defunct Oregon University System.

CZI has partnered with Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable organization founded by Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg Law is operated by entities controlled by Michael Bloomberg.

More In-House Additions

Bloomberg Law reported in May on Silicon Valley venture capital firm Menlo Ventures hiring its first-ever general counsel, as well as New York-based private equity firm Paine Schwartz Partners LLC bringing on its own new legal chief.

Other notable legal additions since that time in the investment management, private equity, and venture capital space include:

  • Park Square Capital LLP, a private debt manager based in London, hired James Abbott as a partner and general counsel in June. Abbott, who spent the past six years as legal chief for private equity firm AnCap Financial Partners LLP, replaces John Anderson, who rejoined Debevoise & Plimpton this month as an international and private funds counsel in London.
  • GAMCO Investors Inc., a Rye, N.Y.-based financial services firm run by billionaire investor Mario Gabelli, announced June 15 that it would bring back former in-house director of regulatory affairs Peter Goldstein in mid-July as general counsel for its Gabelli Funds. Goldstein left GAMCO, formerly known as Gabelli Asset Management Co., in 2011 and spent nearly the past decade as general counsel and compliance chief at New York-based investment adviser Buckingham Capital Management Inc.
  • Michael Stein, a longtime intellectual property litigator at Baker & Hostetler in Seattle, is now a partner and general counsel at SWAN Venture Group LLC, according to a May 11 announcement by the Kirkland, Wash.-based venture capital investment firm.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com

To read more articles log in.

Learn more about a Bloomberg Law subscription.