Team

Hi, we’re team EMBARK.LAW.

Michel Kertai

Michel Kertai

VC & Startup Lawyer
Attorney-at-law, admitted to practice in Switzerland and California
Co-founder of EMBARK.LAW AG
Member of the EMBARK.LAW management team

Education:
LL.M, UC Berkeley School of Law, California, USA
MLaw, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

Languages:
German, English, French, Hungarian

Michel is a registered attorney in Switzerland and the USA (California). He started his career as a corporate lawyer in Bern, Switzerland.

In 2015, he moved to California to study U.S. law and work with Silicon Valley startups. After returning to Switzerland in 2016, he founded EMBARK.LAW to focus on helping startups master their legal challenges.

Before becoming a lawyer, Michel was a professional athlete, playing volleyball and beach volleyball at a national level. His background in elite sports is one of the reasons he feels at home in the startup community with its adventurous, challenge-driven spirit.

Michel is actively involved in the startup communities in Switzerland, California and New York. For example, he is an advisor to and an active angel investor in the Swiss ICT Investor Club SICTIC, and he sits on the advisory board of the Boalt Global Corporate Law Society.

Barbara Nägeli

Barbara Nägeli

Legal Advisor, Data Protection Specialist
Co-founder of EMBARK.LAW AG
Member of the EMBARK.LAW management team

Education:
MLaw summa cum laude (with highest distinction), University of Fribourg, Switzerland

Languages:
German, English, French

Barbara started her career in 2008 as a legal advisor for the Swiss environmental protection agency FOEN. While working there, she drafted laws, negotiated international treaties, managed projects to improve the implementation of environmental policies, led public procurement procedures, and much more.

She also held the position of deputy data protection officer at the FOEN for several years, gaining a deep understanding of the intricacies and challenges of data protection.

In 2017, Barbara joined EMBARK.LAW as co-founder. She consults our clients on data protection and related issues. In addition, as our Head of Operations, she ensures that our company stays well-coordinated and productive in helping our clients overcome their legal challenges.

Barbara used to be a semi-professional dancer. In her daily life as a lawyer, her creative side helps her think out of the box and come up with unconventional solutions to complicated problems. Her experience of performing on stage has also taught Barbara to remain calm and do a great job in stressful situations.

Audrey Benzow

Audrey Benzow

VC & Startup Lawyer
Attorney-at-law, admitted to practice in Switzerland
Member of the EMBARK.LAW management team

Education:
LL.M, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois, USA
MLaw, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Languages:
German, English

Audrey is a licensed attorney in Switzerland. Before joining EMBARK.LAW, she was a corporate lawyer for a renowned law firm in Zurich. She advised national and international clients in the areas of general commercial and corporate law, capital markets law, M&A and employment law.

Being a passionate surfer, Audrey enjoys the challenges and fast-changing environments of the ocean. During her LL.M in Chicago, she worked at the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic of the Chicago-Kent College of Law, where she provided startups with free legal advice on matters revolving around incorporations, share transfers, capital increases and mergers. She believes that – as in surfing – staying focused, disciplined and trusting each other in extreme situations is key to a successful collaboration between startups and lawyers.

Matthias Steinlin

Matthias Steinlin

VC & Startup Lawyer, IP Specialist
Attorney-at-law, admitted to practice in Switzerland

Education:
PhD in Law, University of Bern, Switzerland
MLaw, Universities of Bern, Switzerland and Paris-Descartes, France

Languages:
German, English, French

Matthias is a Swiss attorney with a particular interest in the protection and commercialization of innovation. Before joining EMBARK.LAW, he worked as a trademark attorney at the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) and as an in-house lawyer for a large Swiss company. At the IPI, he gained in-depth knowledge in all areas of intellectual property rights and particularly in trademark law. Matthias also has a PhD in IP law – he wrote his doctoral thesis on the patent protection of medicine.

Even before he joined EMBARK.LAW, Matthias had the opportunity to advise and support friends in the (legal) implementation of new business ideas on a regular basis. Since he enjoyed this work a lot, it was a natural choice for him to go all in as a startup attorney.

In his spare time, Matthias writes about the latest developments in intellectual property law as an author for iusNet. He also enjoys climbing snowy peaks and surfing.

Tarik Salkim

Tarik Salkim

Legal Advisor Startups & VC

Education:
Dipl.-Jur., First State Exam (“erstes Staatsexamen”) with great distinction, Julius-Maximilian University of Würzburg, Germany

Languages:
German, English, Turkish

After completing his law studies in Bavaria with the “Staatsexamen”, Tarik gained his first work experience in one of the most renowned German law firms in Stuttgart. In 2021, he moved to Switzerland, where he interned as a trainee lawyer at a major law firm in Zurich, and then joined EMBARK.LAW. Before focusing entirely on startups with EMBARK.LAW, Tarik worked in various areas of business law, in particular corporate law, mergers & acquisitions, antitrust and dispute resolution.

Tarik unwinds from his job by riding his bike (the kind with a motor) or training Muay Thai. Martial arts have taught him that hectic and rash behavior can easily lead to painful consequences. This experience makes it easy for him to keep cool in difficult situations, focus on what’s important and deal with challenges rationally and unflinchingly.

Dario Kvasnicka

Dario Kvasnicka

Legal Advisor, Executive Assistant

Education:
MLaw, Universities of Fribourg and Bern, Switzerland

Languages:
German, English, French, Indonesian

During his law studies, Dario wasn’t just cramming regulations and legal theories, he also founded his own digital entertainment and hospitality company (take a look: Erupt Gaming Lounge). For more than five years, he was at the helm, immersing himself in the practical aspects of entrepreneurship.

Dario’s firsthand experience running a business allows him to truly understand the ups and downs that come with a founder’s life. He’s dealt with the realities of managing running costs and has personally experienced how valuable bespoke legal advice can be, particularly during those crucial early stages.

In 2023, Dario joined EMBARK.LAW to focus more closely on the legal aspects within the startup world. Alongside this, he keeps a strategic role in his company.

Outside of work, Dario enjoys organizing social events, hiking, and immersing himself in the worlds of digital and analog gaming. These activities keep him connected with the latest technological trends and help him further refine his skills in clear communication and efficient process management.

Thomas van Gammeren

Thomas van Gammeren

Legal Advisor Startups & VC

Education:
LL.M, UC Berkeley School of Law, California, USA
MLaw, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Languages:
German, English, Italian

After getting his law degree at the University of Zurich and an LL.M in Business and Technology Law at UC Berkeley, Thomas kicked off his career in Zurich. He joined the mergers and acquisitions team in a leading law firm. This job let him dive deeper into business law, something he was already passionate about due to his experiences with the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem during his studies. In 2023, Thomas joined EMBARK.LAW, a move perfectly in line with his passion for startups and entrepreneurial law.

Originally from Ticino, Thomas enjoys producing music and long-distance running. Running teaches him endurance, steady pacing, and a clear vision on the finish line – qualities essential in law. Making music sharpens his creativity and eye for detail, helping him build better legal strategies.

If you’re interested in a run around Zurich followed by insightful discussion, Thomas is your guy. Feel free to get in touch!

EMBARK Team: Jan Ritter

Jan Ritter

Legal Advisor Startups & VC

Education:
MLaw, University of Fribourg, Switzerland

Languages:
German, English, French

After graduating from the University of Fribourg, Jan continued his academic journey by researching how corporate law and governance can enable successful business transformation. At the same time, he co-founded an ICT company, where he gained first-hand experience of the challenges of creating efficient organizational structures for startups and a deep understanding of disruptive technologies.

Jan is committed to social entrepreneurship and has had the opportunity to advise a number of cooperatives and associations in the areas of youth & sports, nature conservation and reintegration into the labor market. In his spare time, Jan is an accomplished equestrian. This sport has taught him that dedication and empathy are key to building trustful relationships that can overcome even the toughest obstacles.

From zero to exit in 4 years, with EMBARK.LAW as our trusted legal partner

We’ve been working with EMBARK.LAW since the idea of bestsmile was born. We founded bestsmile with them, raised several seed rounds and the Series A together, and now they managed our exit. During that whole time, EMBARK.LAW has always kept up with our speed. Not something everybody can do. Startups are all about speed, something new needs to happen at least weekly or you’re too slow. We also appreciate the business focus of EMBARK.LAW. They set the necessary priorities, are solution-oriented and tailor their advice to the full inbox and agenda of a founder. As for the exit, EMBARK.LAW managed that efficiently and with foresight, as always. I have already launched a next startup project, once again working with EMBARK.LAW. It’s important to have the right people on board from the start, people who want to be successful with you and go all in to achieve that. The EMBARK.LAW team is definitely on that list.

Ertan Wittwer, serial founder and investor
Fast. Easy-going. Highly motivated.

The team of EMBARK.LAW is fun to work with. We appreciate their speed and simplicity in communication and processes. They help us focus on our core competencies and enable us to move forward faster.

Logo creableDaniel Koss, Founder and CEO creable AG

Speedy and smooth incorporation

I have nothing but praise for the way EMBARK.LAW managed our incorporation. Despite time pressure, everything went swimmingly. It’s a pleasure to work with such a reliable partner. We will happily recommend you to other founders. Also, thank you for the Legal Launch Kit with the helpful tools for new companies. It’s great that you provide these templates and checklists, and it once again illustrates your approach of supporting and accompanying the companies in the best possible way.

Thomas Wehrli, Co-founder Egonym AG

THE law firm for startups

We founded Animatico in 2019 as an ETH spin-off with the mission to create the next-generation human-computer interface through stylized AI avatars. EMBARK.LAW was our go-to law firm from our seed round all through our exit. They helped us set up a solid IP strategy, created user-friendly contracts for us (e.g. for our customers) and managed our financing round professionally and smoothly. When Animatico was acquired by a US tech giant, they went all in for us, had our back during the negotiations and made sure our interests were protected. They delivered their usual excellent quality work all through the high-pressure, high-stakes process of the exit.

One thing we particularly valued when working with EMBARK.LAW were their simple and thorough explanations. Understanding all the details of the situation and their implications helped us take our decisions with confidence. We’re also grateful that they always made sure everybody knew who was doing what until when. Knowing that they were thinking along allowed us to free our minds for other things.

Logo AnimaticoPascal Bérard, Christian Schüller and Riccardo Roveri, Co-founders Animatico AG

A true partner at our side

EMBARK.LAW acts like an extended arm of our team. We can rely on them to be proactive and think strategically with us. They are a true partner on our side, anticipating our needs and letting us know where it’s important to step up our game. So we don’t have to constantly keep track of what needs to be done. Furthermore, we are impressed with how the team combines hard-hitting legal expertise with a deep understanding for pragmatic solutions and processes for startups.

Jan Rihak, Founder and CEO Europe Classtime AG

Experienced and pragmatic

We worked with EMBARK.LAW in all of our financing rounds since founding bestsmile (several seed rounds and the Series A). We appreciate their clear, efficient and lean process and the direct communication. EMBARK.LAW manages the negotiations with our investors in a solution-oriented and pragmatic way and creates trust between the parties right from the start. You can tell the amount of experience involved. And this is also why I always enjoy fine-tuning our fundraising strategy together.

Philip Magoulas, serial founder and investor

Want to work together?

If you’re interested in working with us, please email us a:

hello@embark.law

We’ll get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your goals and how we can help you achieve them.