Antone Johnson has 25 years experience as a business lawyer representing technology and media companies, entrepreneurs and investors in a wide range of corporate, commercial and intellectual property matters. Growing up in Menlo Park and Palo Alto, California, he came to respect the unique culture of innovation that characterizes Silicon Valley, the world’s leading center of technology entrepreneurship. Supplementing this background with years of experience in Wall Street dealmaking and the creative environment of Hollywood, Antone has developed a unique perspective on strategic matters that lie at the intersection of business, law, public policy, technology and media.
In a rapidly evolving, technical field where no single person can be an expert in all specialties, Antone views the role of general counsel as analogous to that of the prized “full-stack developer” in software engineering. Prior to founding Bottom Line Law Group, Antone served as Vice President, Legal Affairs at eHarmony, Inc., where he built the in-house legal function from inception to serve the rapidly evolving needs of a growing, profitable $200+ million international consumer Internet business. For more than three years, he directed the company’s internal and external legal and government affairs teams, including more than a dozen law firms across five countries, to support the worldwide operations of its flagship eHarmony® dating service and its network of related online communities. eHarmony is the Internet’s #1 trusted relationship service, responsible for nearly 5% of all new marriages in the United States. Throughout his tenure at eHarmony, Antone served as primary legal advisor to the senior management team and Board of Directors in strategic transactions, corporate governance, shareholder relations, litigation strategy, crisis communications and risk management. Key accomplishments included forging strategic partnerships; completing four acquisitions; supporting major product launches; expanding and enforcing a valuable portfolio of patents, trademarks and domain names; reaching a landmark settlement with the New Jersey Attorney General to resolve a controversial, politically charged discrimination complaint; and leading litigation teams in several complex cases including patent infringement, consumer class action and employment litigation.
Antone has deep roots in the consumer Internet and digital media industries, having served as in-house counsel to pioneering broadband ISP Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM) from 2000 to 2002 and entertainment guidance technology leader Gemstar-TV Guide (Nasdaq: GMST) from 2002 to 2004. He joined Intermix Media, Inc. (AMEX: MIX) as Assistant General Counsel in 2004 and served as Director of Business & Legal Affairs at its MySpace subsidiary during its period of hyper-growth and global expansion, culminating in the company’s $650 million sale to Fox Interactive Media, a division of News Corporation. Antone began his career in private practice at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the world’s preeminent technology law firm, where he closed many seed stage equity, convertible debt and late-stage venture financing transactions and IPOs, and worked on larger institutional deals with the Los Angeles office of Wall Street firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP.
Lauded by Venture Hacks as a recommended “social startup lawyer,” Antone has represented startups and entrepreneurs backed by many of the nation’s leading venture capital funds including Andreessen Horowitz, Austin Ventures, Battery Ventures, Founders Fund, Greylock Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Technology Crossover Ventures; prominent angel investors, seed funds and venture accelerators such as Tech Coast Angels, Y Combinator and 500 Startups; equity crowdfunding and accredited investor syndicates including the AngelList syndicate led by Shark Tank legend Barbara Corcoran. A recognized authority on legal, risk and privacy matters in social media, location-based services and related subjects, he serves as moderator or invited speaker at conferences and panel discussions organized by Stanford Law School, the University of Southern California, New York University, the Association of Corporate Counsel, Beverly Hills Bar Association, the State Bar of California, Law Seminars International, Crowdfund Productions, and the Social Media Club, among others.
Antone holds a J.D. from Columbia University, where he earned the honor of Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and a B.A. cum laude in Economics from Williams College. In addition to practicing law, he is a prolific commentator, contributing to The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and TechCrunch, among others; serving as an expert resource to journalists in broadcast, print and online media; blogging at Gust and Mashtag; and tweeting daily on subjects related to social media, entrepreneurship, and the intersection of people, capital, technology, and creativity. Antone also serves on the Board of Directors of Data4America and DailyDonor. He enjoys performing and recording indie rock as an occasional guilty pleasure.