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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Germany > Private equity > Venture capital > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Private equity: Venture capital
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Justus Binder - Reed Smith
    • Nicolas Gabrysch - Osborne Clarke
    • Stefan-Ulrich Müller - CMS
    • Andreas Nelle - Raue LLP
    • Christian Tönies - P+P Pöllath + Partners
    • Frank Vogel - Vogel Heerma Waitz
    • Jörg Zätzsch - CMS

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Lorenz Jellinghaus - Lutz | Abel Rechtsanwalts GmbH
    • Clemens Waitz - Vogel Heerma Waitz

Who Represents Who

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In line with the increased demand from clients, CMS is increasingly advising accelerators. For example, it assisted Proptech Accelerator Blackprint with the launch of the fund as well as with ongoing investments. The group acted on numerous financing rounds, both on the investor and bidder side, including advising Outfittery on the $22m growth financing and assisting Gastrohero with a financing round with Genui Partners. At a value of €43.5m, Breath Therapeutics’ series A financing round – with Gimv, Sofinnova and Gilde Healthcare as investors – was extraordinarily large. The Munich-based Stefan-Ulrich Müller led advice on this matter, while the founders of Media Partisans, operators of the heftig.co website, retained the Berlin-based Jörg Zätzsch for its sale to Funke Mediengruppe.

Osborne Clarke recently expanded its corporate VC and crowdfunding client base, is increasingly active in venture debt matters and has advanced into fund structuring. With long-standing experience in IT matters, digitalization in the real estate and insurance sectors is developing into an area of expertise. The group handles financing rounds both on the investor side, for example when advising Highland Capital Partners on its investment in Outfittery, and on behalf of start-ups. An example is assisting Number 26 with a $40m financing round. Other highlights in this area were advising database operator ArangoDB on a financing round by Target Partners and assisting Junique with a €14m financing round. Nicolas Gabrysch is described as a ‘pleasant negotiator’ by competitors; together with Benjamin Monheim he is the name to note in the Cologne office, while Philip Meichssner and Martin Sundermann are based in Munich. After seeing one departure, the Berlin office consists of one associate.

Berlin boutique firm Vogel Heerma Waitz now includes seven lawyers focusing on venture capital work, with further lawyers having expert knowledge of technology transfer, data protection, IT and ecommerce, areas in high demand with start-ups. Start-ups like FinTech BillFront, furniture platform mycs and Good Hood, the operator of the nebenan.de platform, have been advised on financing rounds. In a successful exit, the team assisted GHM Mobile Development with the sale of carsharing platform Carjump to Peugeot. Olga Balandina-Luke is the first lawyer to have been promoted to the partnership since the founding of the firm in mid-2014. She advised Thrive Capital on a €30m investment in Raisin. Other clients include investors such as Frog Capital, Ribbit Capital and Mosaic Ventures. Name partners Clemens Waitz and the ‘unsurpassed’ Frank Vogel enjoy an outstanding reputation in the market.

Clients of Hogan Lovells International LLP can count on ‘excellent lawyers available for support at any time’, who ‘swiftly provide thought-through and commercially feasible solutions’. Especially venture capitalists and family offices rely on the team for their investments. For example, the ‘fantasticPeter Huber, who made partner in early 2017, advised Conduit Ventures on a financing round with TouGas. Less frequently, the group acts for start-ups, but if so, it usually is retained for investments in later phases. An example is advising Stylight on the exit through the increase of shares held by Seven Ventures by 78%. Nikolas Zirngibl, who is recommended along with Volker Geyrhalter, led advice on this matter. The team can also count on colleagues to advise FinTechs on regulatory matters.

Noerr’s excellent relationship with Rocket Internet leads to the firm’s handling of numerous financing rounds, exits and sometimes also IPOs of more mature start-ups. In this area, assisting Delivery Hero with its IPO – which had a placement volume of just under €1bn – is particularly noteworthy. The group also acts on numerous financing rounds and growth financings, such as advising the Dresden-based solar company Heliatek on a series D financing round and assisting the fintech start-up Joinsty with financing rounds. The ‘proactive’ group includes the ‘extremely service oriented, pragmatic and technically strong’ Felix Blobel, the ‘excellent’ Georg Schneider, Hans Radau and Dominik Rompza. It grew with the addition of Christoph Thiermann, who came from P+P Pöllath + Partners in September 2016.

Christian Tönies and Michael Inhester co-lead P+P Pöllath + Partners’ venture capital group, whose Munich team is well established in the market and whose Berlin group is gaining increasing attention. The group mainly advises start-ups, such as riskmethods on a €13.5m series B financing round, Keyou on a growth financing in the millions and solarisBank on a €26.3m growth financing. The founders of BEKO Käuferportal retained the group for assistance with an investment by ProSiebenSat.1 and General Atlantic, each of which acquired a 42 percent stake in the company. Clients on the investor side include HPE Growth Capital, HeidelbergCapital and Thiel Capital.

Raue LLP offers clients a ‘very satisfactory price-performance ratio’. On the start-up side, 3D printer manufacturer BigRep retained the group for advice on a financing round and on strategic cooperation with large PLCs. Other clients which were advised on financing rounds include Uberchord, Tillhub and Young Finance. On the investor side, Earlybird is a long-term client, which was advised on a $5m investment in the German-Israeli start-up Fraugster and on an investment in N26. The group also assisted two business angels with investments in two energy sector start-ups, while several family offices also belong to the client portfolio. The ‘pragmatic and very accessible’ Andreas Nelle and Jörg Jaecks are the names to note for all venture capital matters.

Taylor Wessing has excellent expertise in technology matters, with fintech instructions increasing in particular. The group mainly advises investors such as Balderton Capital on a $7m series A financing round of B2B tech company Dalia Research; and Benchmark Capital and Trinity Ventures on a series B financing round for CMS provider Contentful. Founder-side instructions include assisting the shareholders of Ibeo Automotive Systems, a developer of sensors for autonomous driving, with acquiring a 40% stake in ZF Friedrichshafen’s corporate VC fund Zukunft Ventures. The lead advisor was the ‘extremely experienced’ Jens Wolf, who also repeatedly acted for Cherry Ventures and new client Holtzbrinck Ventures. Besides Wolf, ‘performance-oriented and pragmatic negotiator’ Norman Röchert is recommended in the Berlin office, while Hassan Sohbi is recommended in Frankfurt and Maria Weiers in Düsseldorf.

Clients of BMH Bräutigam & Partner value the ‘personal service’ rendered by the Berlin law firm, which focuses on commercial law. The group advised many start-ups on financing rounds, particularly at the seed stage, such as 12grapes and TruckIN. Apart from start-ups, numerous incubators and accelerators are part of the firm’s client base; an example is healthcubator, which was advised on the incubation of several start-ups. Other investor clients include Foundation Point and strategic investor Concardis. The ‘smart, fast and precise’ Patrick Auerbach-Hohl is the central point of contact.

Within the Berlin start-up scene, Lacore Rechtsanwälte LLP has an excellent network; therefore, acting on financing rounds has become a daily activity. Recent examples include advising Careship, Curated Shopping GreenGurus, iversity and Lilium Aviation. Other highlights were assisting Campanda with a €10m financing round by Michelin Travel Partners and advising optionspace on a seed financing. André Eggert and Natalie Vahsen are recommended.

Focused on corporate and commercial law, Lambsdorff Rechtsanwälte’s Pablo Rüdiger De Erice and name partner Konstantin Graf Lambsdorff are particularly recommended for venture capital work. The group advises numerous start-ups such as Simscale and Blinks Labs on financing rounds. Another pillar of the firm’s work is assisting young companies such as DaWanda and Lesson Nine on the structuring of the business. MFB MeinFernbus was advised on its exit. On the investor side, Earlybird Venture Capital is a particularly active client, which retained the firm for investments in Medidate and InstaMotion.

Now seven lawyers strong, Lutz | Abel Rechtsanwalts GmbH’s venture capital group is able to ‘make clientsaware of relevant developments and best practices due to its varied client base’. The group was able to expand its client base on the investor side and continues to regularly act for family offices on financing rounds. Of a particularly high volume was the €1.3bn sale of the MIG funds’ shares in Ganymed Pharmaceuticals to Astellas. Long-term client BayBG retained the firm for the Privero exit and for participating in a series E financing round of tado°. Start-ups are also part of the client portfolio, as shown by advising FL Fintech-E on a series A financing round involving several, partly international, investors. The ‘excellent’ Bernhard Noreisch leads the practice group, which also includes Munich-based technology expert Björn Weidehaas and ecommerce specialist Marco Eickmann. The latter made a name for himself with media-for-equity deals and continues to expand his Berlin business. Hamburg-based Lorenz Jellinghaus stands out for his gaming law expertise.

Reed Smith enjoys the ‘full trust’ of clients, which are impressed, among other things, by its ‘excellent availability’. Of particular note is the group’s good relationship with Target Partners, which ensures a steady flow of deals through regular investments. Also on the investor side, Michelin Travel Partner was advised on the €17m investment in a series C financing round in caravan platform Campanda. On the start-up side, tado° is a client which retained the group for financing rounds. Justus Binder is the name to note for all venture capital matters.

Despite the ‘strong involvement of partners’, Arqis Rechtsanwälte offers an ‘excellent price-performance ratio’ in venture capital issues. On the investor side, the group advised Coparion on an investment in e!nable, while also acting for numerous start-ups. For example, the group assisted TerraLoupe with a series A financing round and advised medical technology company terraplasma and group work software developer Weframe on their respective first financing rounds. Practice head Christoph von Einem is an established player in the Munich market and Daniel Wied is increasingly gaining a good reputation. The Düsseldorf-based Jörn-Christian Schulze acts for venture capital funds.

Dechert knows how to ‘present legal topics clearly’; the practice is well-received by both start-ups and investors when advising on financing rounds of all stages. A 2016 example is advising EyeEm on a €4m financing by the existing shareholders in the form of a convertible bond. The lead partner was Giovanni Russo, who made partner in January 2017. Also recommended is Katja Heuterkes, while Berthold Hummel left for Baker McKenzie in October 2017.

McDermott Will & Emery Rechtsanwälte Steuerberater LLP stands out for its large ecommerce start-up portfolio, which includes Door2Door, a start-up that retained the group for the financing from a business angel and development bank KfW. On the investor side, many business angels rely on the group, such as VILITAS Deutschland, which was advised by Düsseldorf-based Sebastian von Lossow on investments in GHM Mobile, Builing10 and Fashionette. In Munich, Nikolaus von Jacobs acts for clients such as the Dr. Förster group and BonVenture.

Pinsent Masons Germany LLP advised several funds such as media-for-equity investor GMPVC and eCAPITAL entrepreneurial Partners on various investments. Another matter was assisting Texas Atlantic Capital with investments in Talixo. The Munich-based group led by Tobias Rodehau also occasionally advises start-ups on financing rounds. Torsten Bergau has experience in the energy and technology sectors in particular.

Weitnauer Rechtsanwälte acts for funds such as DBAG, strategic investors and business angels as well as founders concerning investments, financing and buy-out matters. A recent highlight was advising Phenex Pharmaceuticals on a €5m financing round, HOOApps on the financing provided by business angels and acting on a further financing round in the technology and biotech area. In Munich, name partner Wolfgang Weitnauer is recommended, while Hans-Eric Rasmussen-Bonne and Nikolaus Uhl are the names to note in Berlin.

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