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Ed Zimmerman co-founded & chairs the Tech Group at Lowenstein Sandler, where he’s been a growth company, startup and venture lawyer for 25+ years. He has negotiated and documented hundreds of venture and M&A deals. Ed is Founding Partner of First Close Partners (see March 2021 Wall Street Journal coverage) through which he and his partners invest into venture funds owned and run by underrepresented managers (prior to co-founding First Close Partners, Ed had personally invested in more than 100 venture funds and more than 140 startups). Ed has served as: an Adjunct Professor of VC in Columbia's MBA program (16 years), on the Wall Street Journal’s Panel of Experts (he’s published 80 columns), and as an advisor on VC matters to the President of France.
Chambers USA ranked Ed among the 22 best lawyers in Startups & Emerging Companies–USA–Nationwide (the only of those based in New York (2018)). Best Lawyers in America named Ed as 2017 New York City Venture Capital Lawyer of the Year. Dow Jones Private Equity Analyst has listed Lowenstein Sandler as among the five (5) most active law firms in venture in America. Ed is listed among New York’s Law Power 100, "The leading legal professionals in New York politics and government” (City & State New York, 2020 & 2021).
Ed co-founded and runs VentureCrush and has published more than 40 columns in Forbes (mostly on venture, tech and startups).
Ed advocates on issues concerning race, gender, the LGBTQ community, reproductive rights and gun control. In February 2014, Ed co-organized (with the Obama White House’s Liaison for LGBTQ matters) a summit of LGBTQ leaders in the tech community at the White House. He separately co-organized an event at the White House on the Future of Work & AI in 2016. In 2014 at VentureCrushNY, Ed announced a pledge against gender bias in tech, which he later published on The Wall Street Journal's Accelerators page, with subsequent coverage in Fortune magazine. In 2013, Ed published a column also on The Wall Street Journal’s Accelerators page, calling out bias in VC, noting a majority “of VCs had degrees from a small cluster of 10 schools … and a staggering 87% were Caucasian.” He published a companion Columbia University case study (2013).
Ed was profiled for his advocacy for gender equality in several books, notably Pulitzer Prize winner Joann S. Lublin's Earning It: Hard-Won Lessons from Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World (Harper Business 2016) and Julia Pimsleur’s Million Dollar Women: The Essential Guide for Female Entrepreneurs Who Want to Go Big (Simon & Schuster 2016). Ed’s (non-musical) contribution to the musical (political) collaboration “Put a Woman In Charge” between multi-Grammy winning musicians Keb’ Mo’ and Rosanne Cash was reported in Billboard Magazine (2018). He and his wife Betsy have written about music (Sister Rosetta Tharpe) in Forbes (2016), published a case study about the Blues (Columbia Business School, 2018), and profiled Nigeria-based VC Maya Horgan Famodu (Forbes 2020).
Ed served on the Board of Harvey Mudd College and currently serves as the Vice Chairman of the Center for Policing Equity, and on the Boards of Black Women Talk Tech & The Orchid Foundation. He was a board member of and, since 1994, has been pro bono counsel to New York Live Arts (formerly Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company), which named Ed its 2018 Live Ideas Honoree.