Harvey Kesner is a licensed corporate lawyer, specializing in corporate finance and the structuring of complex transactions, both domestically and internationally. Having climbed the corporate ladder, Mr. Kesner is now managing his private law firm based in New York and pursuing various business interests in cryptocurrency, cannabis law, artificial intelligence and data security from Florida where he currently resides. If you need a consultant with intimate knowledge of the inner working of the regulatory agencies and global markets, Harvey Kesner is a top choice.
Tell us about yourself?
As a law firm and business founder, I take pride in helping businesses navigate multi-faceted legal, regulatory and commercial landscapes, freeing management to focus on their business needs. That is how I would best describe the work we do. I’ve been asked about my practice and the services we provide in the context of lawyering, but good lawyering should never ignore the business and commercial realities.
Situational awareness means that we have a responsibility to assure that management not take their eye off the ball when we are helping navigate a transformative event. The time and attention needed to undertake meetings with investors, due diligence, forecasting and negotiation cannot be underestimated. Many unfamiliar terms are thrown about, founder’s round, Series A, a SAFE, follow-on offering, an IPO, an ICO, a registered direct or PIPE, a reverse acquisition, securities uplisting or business combination are all confusing to first-timers. When management take their focus away from what they are doing to enter into these uncharted and unfamiliar realms, the results can be disastrous –lost business opportunities, lost contracts, management disappointment, departures or even bankruptcy. Companies can run out of capital while closings are delayed repeatedly and the runway shortens. Management fatigue cannot be underestimated nor can loss of momentum. All too many times, management pins their hopes for success on the transaction, and have no alternatives when the deal dies. On the other side, when businesses can leverage the skills and experience of seasoned professionals, they enhance their likelihood for success.
With the dozens of IPO’s, exchange listings, reverse acquisitions, reorganizations, recapitalizations, financings and business combinations under our belt, we can alleviate the risk and pressure on new business founders and entrepreneurs to complete a major event. We first take care of internal housekeeping, making sure records are in order and contracts in place. We educate and adjust notions on timing and requirements that may have been gleaned from a course or two filled with assumptions and generalities, or media reports that leave out crucial details Few focus on the core values and principles needed that are at the heart of navigating a successful closing. Without closing, all is for naught.
Facing squarely the overwhelming challenges, overcoming them, and providing important conditioning and counseling to the C-Suite has been the hallmark of a 30 plus year practice dedicated to guiding startups, founders and financial intermediaries. Our firm’s strong suit is helping to understand what we understand, and combining the practical realities of business necessities and other constraints to completion of a deal. We have applied these principles in numerous startups and changing industry needs, from alternative energy to online advertising and internet, from social media, life sciences, blockchain, data security, artificial intelligence, and drones to cannabis. Our principles have stayed the same while we have had the privilege to work with dozens of businesses attacking new challenges and technology.
What makes you different than other professionals in your field?
Having taken time off to pursue business ventures including a small investment fund and dot-com startup, having served as senior executive officer of several large publicly-traded corporations on NASDAQ and the NYSE, I possess a host of experiences that shape the advice I give. It is unusual that a problem or challenge is not a derivation of something that I have seen before and if so I can help quarterback and assemble a team with skillsets in the particular arena.
How much potential market share can you achieve in the next 3 years?
I don’t strive for market share, but to provide a deep bench and connection with the entrepreneurs and business leaders with whom I choose to work. Their candor, honesty, ethics and integrity are more important to me than the volume of clients or deals.
What was the most important part of your professional journey?
The long-lasting relationships and connections made with people is the central part of my journey while watching their successes.
What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
Investment in systems and people are foundational to what we do. As manager of large practices, there are often bad “hires” and inadequate investment in systems. Today advisory business is dependent on the connections we make and the personalities. Similarly, today’s technology allows connections with clients around the world 24/7. Our clients expect us to be connected and follow their progress in real time, and we invest to allow us to do so.
What takes up too much of your time?
Dealing with inexperienced counterparties who feel that their highest and best use is showing how smart they think they are rather than attacking the issue full-on.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students/new startup business owners who want to become entrepreneurs?
- Don’t forget the people you work with and their personal and professional development needs.
- Because you have a degree doesn’t mean you are smarter or more knowledgeable than your clients.
- Get advice when you give advice, and be open to recognize the needs at hand.
Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?
Entrepreneurs following new technologies with their own developing ecosystems and nomenclatures that define each new generation of entrepreneurs.
What drives you to keep going when it’s really tough?
Personal pursuits and family ties, taking a break to travel or pursue new challenges.
How should people connect with you?
The Law Office of Harvey Kesner can be easily reached through linkedin.