Gunderson Dettmer Launches Austin Office, Strengthening Commitment to the Region's Venture Ecosystem

April 26, 2021Firm News

Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, a 350-attorney law firm focused on the global venture capital, growth equity and emerging companies ecosystem, opened an office in Austin, Texas, its tenth worldwide.  The Austin office is founded by partner Wesley C. Watts and senior associate Luke Thomas, who both join from Vinson & Elkins LLP’s Austin office.

“Austin’s growth is remarkable and our approach has always been to grow where our clients are,” said David T. Young, Gunderson Dettmer’s Managing Partner. “We have represented companies and venture capitalists in Austin for over a decade. We have been looking for the right opportunity in Austin for a while. Wes and Luke are a strong fit for our firm’s culture and expansion plans.”

Wes Watts, the founding partner of the new Austin office, focuses on representing emerging technology and tech-enabled companies throughout their lifecycle and through strategic transactions such as financings, joint ventures, and mergers and acquisitions, as well as general corporate and governance manners. In addition, he regularly supports venture capital and private equity firms in their investments.

“I have worked across the table from Gunderson Dettmer lawyers many times over the years,” said Watts.  ”Considering its size, Gunderson Dettmer has consistently punched above its weight class and it’s no wonder that it is the number one firm in the world for emerging growth companies and venture and growth equity funds. Gunderson Dettmer is singularly focused on the same clients I have devoted my own practice to. And that focus is tailored perfectly to the unique and developing ecosystem in Austin and around Texas.”     

“Under Wes’ leadership and with the full commitment of the firm, our growing Austin team will contribute to the thriving Texas business ecosystem,” said Jay K. Hachigian, one of Gunderson Dettmer’s founding partners and the partner responsible for shepherding the launch of the Austin office. “Our first order of business will be to plug them into Gunderson’s first-rate network, services and team.”

Luke Thomas will join the founding team as a corporate and securities senior associate focused on the full lifecycle for emerging companies, including venture financings, mergers and acquisitions and public offerings. Prior to entering legal practice Thomas served as a financial advisor and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

“Gunderson Dettmer has both a collaborative team and international presence that works well for our companies. The firm’s focus on client service and taking a practical approach to issues that actually matter to entrepreneurs and their investors is one of the many things that sets Gunderson Dettmer apart,” said Thomas, “The chance to be a co-founder of Gunderson Dettmer’s Austin office is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I look forward to leveraging the breadth of experience and exceptional resources of Gunderson in our local market.”