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The ‘client-focused and cost-effective’ team at Bird & Bird LLP has ‘in-depth knowledge of the venture capital market’ and ‘quickly gets on top of novel or complex issues’. Leveraging the firm’s pre-eminent reputation for intellectual property issues, the team is able to act as a one-stop-shop across the lifecycle of a transaction, from seed and Series A funding through to exit strategies. The ‘excellent’ Geraint Lloyd handles a significant amount of work for Albion Ventures, including recently advising it on a £6.2m Series B financing (alongside several other investors) for data science and technology company, Black Swan Data. The ‘very knowledgeable, responsive and practical’ Struan Penwarden is a leading practitioner in the venture debt space and continues to advise Kreos Capital on numerous transactions, including on the provision of debt to Wonga Group and Dreamlines. The ‘commercial and pragmatic’ Ali Ramadan is ‘highly knowledgeable about the real world of funding and company growth’ and recently advised Just Eat on its £3.5m Series B investment into Flypay and on the launch of a food tech accelerator. The ‘commercial, incredibly bright, efficient and hardworking’ Shing Lo is ‘technically brilliant and a safe pair of hands on difficult transactions’, particularly in relation to emerging technology businesses. Other clients include Smedvig Capital, Darktrace, Horizons Ventures and Beringea Ventures.

Based out of London but with a significant regional presence in Reading and Bristol, Osborne Clarke LLP has a ‘deep bench and broad market knowledge’. The firm acts on behalf of investors and investees across the full range of sectors which are most prevalent within the venture capital space, although it has a particularly high level of expertise on work within the digital business, marketing and advertising sector. Team head Robert Wood has notable strength advising on complex transactions within the digital business sector, often involving investor syndicates; he recently acted for Highland Europe on the $30m investment in global software company Condeco Group. Wood also acted for Lepe Partners on the $6.3m Series B financing round in Festicket, a UK start-up that allows customers to book a wide range of music festival experiences. Mathias Loertscher has a particular niche assisting corporates in the digital sector raise finance; he recently advised Dovetail Games on its £6m Series A financing from Alcuin Capital Partners. Private equity head Alisdair Livingstone also has an active growth capital practice, which sees him regularly representing Business Growth Fund, including on its recent £3m investment into Direct Online Services. Bristol-based partner Matthew Lewis has a focus on the cleantech and energy sectors and is a key member of the team that also includes Russell Van Praagh. Other clients include Touchstone Innovations, Bridges Ventures and LendInvest.

Very knowledgeable within the tech space’ and benefiting from ‘great strength-in-depth’ across all complementary areas including employment, tax and IP, as well as a strong network of offices which includes practitioners based in Europe, Singapore and Palo Alto, Taylor Wessing LLP provides an ‘excellent service’ to an impressive roster of UK and international IP-rich tech companies, in addition to those funds investing in such companies. The ‘very experienced’ Mike Turner heads the firm’s corporate technology group and recently advised Farfetch on its $110m Series F financing, one of the largest technology financing rounds in the UK in 2016. Splitting his time between the firm’s London and Cambridge offices, the ‘practical and reliable’ David Mardle is well regarded in the industry and recently represented Cambridge-based pharmaceutical company Kymab on its £81m Series C financing. Adrian Rainey ‘manages investment processes with charm and grace’; he recently advised artificial intelligence company Magic Pony on its sale to Twitter. ‘Great negotiator’ Angus Miln is also recognised for his ‘good exposure to exit work’ and recently advised Onefinestay on its £117m sale to Accor Hotels. Howard Palmer is also recommended. Other clients include Index Ventures, Nutmeg, GV and Dawn Capital.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP provides ‘responsive and valuable advice’ to a predominantly investee-side client base, which benefits from the firm’s ability to leverage a ‘very strong’ presence in Silicon Valley. The team has the capacity to advise clients from incorporation through seed, angel and venture capital financings, to M&A transactions, initial public offerings and beyond. The recent arrival of Ylan Steiner and managing associate Janine Suttie from King & Wood Mallesons has further bolstered the firm’s capability, both in terms of adding critical mass necessary to execute the firm’s continued high volume of investee mandates, as well as in enhancing its profile on the investor side, particularly in light of Steiner’s ties to some high-profile venture capital trusts. The ‘absolutely first-class’ Christopher Grew has ‘as good a knowledge of anyone in the industry for venture capital matters’; he recently advised Onfido, a global identity verification and background checking provider, on a $25m Series B financing round. Shawn Atkinson has a strong reputation among both investees and investors; he acted alongside Grew on numerous mandates for Salesforce Ventures in 2016, including a €5m investment in Sigfox. US-qualified of counsel Stacy Kim has a burgeoning reputation in the market on behalf of companies and funds, and according to one client, ‘performs work which is commensurate to that handled by partners at other firms’. Other clients include Piton Capital, Graphcore and Atomico.

Brown Rudnick LLP provides a ‘high level of service’ for both investors and investees on deals which involve a cross-border complexion, particularly within the life-sciences, technology and cleantech sectors. The ‘very resourceful and knowledgeableSophie McGrath acts for companies and investors across all stages of the investment continuum; she recently advised Novo A/S and a consortium of investors on the £4.5m Series D investment in Acacia Pharma. McGrath also acts for companies being spun out of Imperial Innovations, the London Business School Incubator and the Seedcamp accelerator programme. Up-and-coming partner Nicholas Vasquez is well versed in cross-border transactions and advised advanced aerospace technology company, Gilo Industries Group, on the issue of shares and investment into the company by Chinese disruptive technology company Kuang-Chi Group. Dual-US and UK-qualified team head Mark Dorff is also recommended. Other clients include Flowerbx, Cruncher Technologies, Impact Ventures and OBS Medical.

Substantially enhanced in May 2017 by the combination with Olswang and Nabarro, CMS provides expertise out of London and its regional offices to investors and investees, and is able to handle the full venture capital lifecycle, from seed financing through to late-stage investments and exits. Chris Southorn has significant venture capital exposure by dint of his wide-ranging company law practice; he recently advised venture capital builder Blenheim Chalcot on its acquisition of analytics firm iJento. Based in the firm’s Aberdeen office, Helen Machin advised social impact investor Nesta Impact Investments and GSTC Health Innovations, in the £500,000 Series A funding round in Genera, a fast-growing healthcare technology. Machin is also responsible for helping to grow the firm’s flourishing relationship with Business Growth Fund. Formerly at Nabarro, John Finnemore has an ‘excellent reputation’ on behalf of both early stage companies and funds, while ex-Olswang partner Chris Mackie brings venture capital expertise as part of his broader mid-market private equity offering.

Covington & Burling LLP is also ranked.

Tapping into the firm’s overall sector specialism in the technology and media space, the ‘responsive and strong’ team at Harbottle & Lewis LLP is particularly accomplished at representing entrepreneurial businesses through the life-cycle of their growth, from seed investment through to late stage venture capital investment and exit. In this capacity clients benefit from a multidisciplinary approach which utilises experts in the IP, corporate and employment practice groups, amongst others. Team head Tony Littner recently advised fast growing fintech start-up, Smart Pension, on a strategic investment by Legal & General Investment Management. Littner also recently advised RSRCHXchange, a cloud-based marketplace and MiFID II workflow solution for accessing institutional research, on its strategic investment from Euclid Opportunities. Associate Felix Wong is also recommended. While it is perhaps better known for its work on the investee side, the firm also handles a significant flow of work for investors including Atomico Ventures, Forward Ventures and PROfounders Capital.

JAG Shaw Baker has ‘unparalleled knowledge’ in the industry; ‘it understands both sides (entrepreneurs and venture capital firms) very well and appreciates what both sides are willing to agree to’. ‘Straight-talking and supportive’ UK and US-qualified partner Tina Baker is ‘always on point in assessing a situation and its risks’; she has a ‘real expertise in Silicon Valley start-up trends pertaining to share structure and fund raising’. James Shaw also has an excellent reputation in the sector; as part of his broad-ranging practice, he has niche expertise in university spin-out work. The ‘diligent, responsive and incredibly helpful’ Susanna Stanfield is particularly well regarded for her expertise within the life sciences sector.

Recognised for its ‘in-depth understanding of start-ups’, Marriott Harrison LLP provides ‘very direct and commercial advice’ to investee and investor clients within the technology sector at all stages of the funding process. ‘Very approachable’ team head Andrew Wigfall is ‘at ease in any situation and can comfortably get his point across’. Recognised, in particular, for his ‘very good investor practice’, Wigfall regularly acts for clients including Balderton Capital and Accel Partners, recently advising the latter as lead investor on the $10m investment round into JobToday, the service industry hiring app. The ‘approachable, knowledgeable, responsive and absolutely trustworthyDaniel Jacob has a focus on the investee side and handles investments ranging from seeds enterprise investment scheme (SEIS) through to Series A; Jacob recently advised CloudMargin on its investment round by two syndicates of investors and fintech venture capital fund Illuminate Financial Management. The ‘responsive, knowledgeable and commercialJonathan Leigh-Hunt handles a significant flow of work for Mobeus Equity Partners, including recently acting for it as lead on a £2.1m Series A investment in mpb.com, a UK-based marketplace for photographers and videographers to trade equipment. Ben Devons provides ‘commercial and very detailed advice’ to start-ups from a range of sectors including media, retail, manufacturing and technology. Other clients include Sapphire Ventures, Frontline Ventures, Audiotonix and Amplience.

Based out of Bristol and London, Ashfords LLP’s four-partner team has significant visibility in the market, particularly on behalf of investor clients, and has the critical mass to undertake a significant volume of mandates at all stages of the funding process. Chris Dyson is the relationship partner for Notion Capital and recently advised it, as one of several investors, on a £9m Series C investment in GoCardless. The firm’s company-side ability was significantly enhanced by the arrival in March 2016 of the ‘excellent’ Giles Hawkins from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP. Hawkins recently represented Satago on an equity and debt investment from ESF Capital. Team head Andrew Betteridge is also recommended. Other clients include Imperial Innovations, MMC Ventures and Eden Ventures.

Although small in comparison with other firms in this space, Baker Botts (UK) LLP’s one-partner team is ‘excellent at providing cost-effective and strategic advice to smaller companies/early stage growth businesses, particularly in the technology arena’. Leveraging an impressive firmwide IP offering, clients also appreciate a ‘strong integrated team across many disciplines and with a broad experience base’, which ensures that investee clients are well catered for during the lifecycle of their business. In line with the firm’s overall strength in the area, the team is also regularly involved in energy-related deals; ‘technical and commercial’ team head Neil Foster advised Recycling Technologies on the buyout of its venture capital investors, EcoMachines Ventures, and in obtaining additional equity funding from existing investors. On the investor front, Foster has a niche focus acting for corporate venturers which are increasingly active in the industry, either acting on their own or in a co-investment capacity with venture capital trusts. Alongside ‘excellent’ special counsel Tim Davison, Foster advised ABB Technology Ventures on its £20.3 million Series A co-investment into Cambridge Medical Robotics. Other clients include Digerati Ventures, Hammer Films, NRG and Statoil Ventures.

Cooley (UK) LLP’s nascent London offering is an attractive proposition to both investors and investees, thanks in large part to its sizeable US platform. US-qualified partner Ryan Naftulin is vice chair of the firm’s business department and acts for investors and investees within the technology and life sciences sectors across the full lifecycle of the venture capital process; he has a particular emphasis on transactions which have a US nexus. Naftulin’s recent highlights include advising Eve Sleep, an e-commerce company with operations in the US and Europe, on its £15m investment round led by Woodford Investment Managers and DN Capital. David Bresnick has significant experience in the venture capital industry and recently advised General Catalyst Partners, one of the investors in a $275m Series E financing for Deliveroo. Stephen Rosen joined in May 2016 from Olswang, bringing his extensive experience on behalf of high-growth companies and investors.

Led by the ‘very well-liked’ Frances Doherty, Dorsey & Whitney is particularly focused on advising early-stage growth companies from within the digital, fintech and health-tech sectors. Doherty recently advised fintech company Azimo and its existing investors on the $15m Series B+ investment to fund its expansion into the Asian markets. Other highlights included advising artificial intelligence company, Flock, on its £350,000 seed capital fundraising. Paul Denham provides a degree of expertise on venture debt transactions as part of his wider finance practice and special counsel Carsten Greve handles a mix of private equity and venture capital mandates. Other clients include Music Glue, Fuel 3D Technologies and Adzuna.

Led out of London by Ian Piggin, and also aided by a well-established offering in Birmingham, Gowling WLG has a significant following among venture capital funds and investee companies, with a particular focus on the healthcare and tech sectors. Recent highlights include advising Epidarex Capital on its Series A investment into biotech company Nodthera. The team also continues to be active on behalf of BGF Ventures in a series of its venture capital investments into growth-stage UK businesses, including on its £4m Series A investment and its £4m investment into Mastered Limited as part of a Series A fundraising round. On the investee front, Piggin recently acted for mobile ticketing app platform, Dice FM, on a Series A investment which was led by Evolution Capital Partners alongside five other venture capital funds. Gareth Baker has experience of handling venture capital-related energy deals. Other clients include Draper Espirit, Primrose Solar and Neyber.

Based out of Cambridge, Mills & Reeve LLP provides an ‘excellent service and value for money’ to a range of clients includes institutional venture capital funds, business angels and technology companies. On the investor side, the firm provides expertise from "cradle-to- grave", from fund structuring through to subsequent investments, portfolio management and exits. Team head Zickie Lim continues to handle a raft of work for Mercia Technologies on its direct portfolio investments, including its investments in Impression Technologies, Soccer Manager and Crowd Reactive. Lim is also well regarded for her university spin-out work; she recently advised Cambridge University spin-out Inotec AMD, on its £4.5m Series A fundraising. The ‘pragmatic, efficient, reliable and knowledgeable’ associate Pippa Pearce assisted on the aforementioned matter and is a key member of the team that also includes Claire Clarke, who handles the fund creation and structuring work. Other clients include IQ Capital Partners, Secret Escapes, Enterprise Ventures and Cambridge Medical Technologies.

Particularly open to innovative approaches to fees’, Reed Smith LLP has an excellent reputation among start-ups and entrepreneurs, where it provides ‘thorough and commercial’ advice. ‘Super-smart and responsive’ team head Michael Young is ‘very capable on funding arrangements’ and recently advised Vidsy, a start-up which crowd-sources the production of micro video content for brands, on its investment by Founders Factory and subsequent £1.4m seed plus fundraise led by Delin Capital, Force Over Mass, Guardian Media Group, as well as various high-net-worth individuals. Young also recently acted for CharlieHR on its £1m seed investment. Senior associate Stephen Mooney is also recommended.

Benefiting from a strong regional presence, particularly out of Birmingham and Reading, as well as a London presence which was recently bolstered in March 2017 by the arrival of Steve Barnett from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP, Shoosmiths LLP provides a ‘strong service’ to an investor-focused client base, from early stage investment through to late stage funding. Splitting his time between the firm’s Birmingham and London offices, team head Alastair Peet is the relationship partner for core client Octopus Ventures; as well as advising it on a plethora of investments, he has also handled several notable exits for it, including advising it as part of an investment syndicate on the disposal of Swiftkey artificial intelligence developer Touchtype to Microsoft. Peet also leads on the work carried out for Business Growth Fund, advising it on its £15m aggregate investments into automotive parts business Sertec Corporation. Reading-based tax partner Tom Wilde is also a key member of the team; he provides tax structuring advice on VCT and Enterprise Initiative Scheme (EIS) investments.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP has significant market traction among both funds and investee companies, particularly across the TMT, retail and sports sectors. The team is also able to leverage the firm’s private wealth expertise and is consequently picking up mandates from family offices and high-net-worth investors increasingly active in providing funding on venture capital transactions. For example, team head Chris Putt has advised Bonsai Capital, a family office venture capital investor, on a series of early-stage life sciences investments. Putt also has experience within the venture debt space, and continues to represent Kreos Capital across a range of work including recently advising it on its growth capital investment, alongside Silicon Valley Bank, in Dutch company Pharming Group. Malcolm MacDougall often handles venture capital work as part of his broader private equity practice and recently represented IDG Capital on its $110m Series F funding round, alongside Temasek and Eurazeo, in the online luxury fashion platform, Farfetch.com.

Leveraging the firm’s overall sector focus in technology, financial services and energy, Fieldfisher’s corporate offering provides mid-market private equity and venture capital expertise to an investee-focused client base. Recent highlights include advising cloud-based platform, Oh Goodlord, on its £6m Series A funding, and representing Tyres on the Drive in a £11m Series C funding round. The group also continues to grow its investor-side practice; as well as acting for conventional VCT vehicles including Elderstreet VCT (which it recently advised on a £1.5m Series D investment in Concord Solutions), it also handles work within the burgeoning corporate venturing sector, including on behalf of BBC Worldwide and Channel 4 Investments. Tim Bird and Andrew Blankfield are recommended.

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP’s Jeremy Willcocks has had significant exposure to venture capital matters, for both investees and investors, particularly within the life sciences, telecoms and fintech spaces. Willcocks recently advised WE Family offices and MdF Family Partners on the acquisition of shares in Wren Investment Office. Other clients include Arlington Capital Partners, Monsanto and York Capital.

Bristol-based firm Burges Salmon LLP handles venture capital-related work through its lower-mid-market private equity team. The team is particularly accomplished at work within the renewables space, where Mark Shepherd, who heads the firm’s private equity team, and Richard Spink, head of corporate finance, are particularly active. Clients include Octopus Investments, Bridges Ventures and GB-Bio.

Boutique firm Kemp Little LLP has significant experience acting in venture capital-backed deals for investors and investees in the digital media space, including Arrow Mobile Communications, Four Seasons Ventures UK, MobAds and RUAG. Team head Charles Claisse regularly handles venture capital work as well as private equity and general corporate matters in the technology sector; he is acting for Dealflo on its Series B fundraising from Notion Capital and HV Holtzbrinck Ventures. Andy Moseby advised online banking platform, Monese, on its $10m Series A financing from numerous investors including Anthemis Exponential Ventures.

With offices in London, Reading, Cambridge and Oxford, and leveraging the firm’s IP and life sciences expertise, Penningtons Manches LLP provides ‘no-nonsense and business focused advice’ to an impressive roster of technology corporates, in addition to spin-outs from universities. Justin Starling has a ‘good understanding of how best to move all parties to complete on a transaction’; he recently advised NeRRe Therapeutics on its £23m Series B funding round. Associate Elizabeth Yell has particular expertise advising high-growth technology businesses and is praised for her ‘very efficient advice’. The team also continues to pick up an increased flow of investor-side instructions including, ‘pragmatic deal doerRob Hayes’ recent work for Business Growth Fund. Other clients include Nexeon, Touchstone Innovations, Seedrs, and Evox Therapeutics.

The ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ Cambridge-based team at Taylor Vinters has a growing reputation in the market on behalf of investors and investees that has increasingly spread beyond the confines of the Cambridge technology sector, to include mandates with a national and international dimension. Rated by one fund client as ‘one of the best venture lawyers in the UK’, Charles Fletcher has ‘great understanding of the law and provides pragmatic and commercial advice’ to institutional investment funds and IP-rich businesses at all stages of development. Fletcher recently acted for Hoxton Ventures (alongside co-investment from a US fund), on its Series A funding of fintech company Behavox. Tom McGuire leads the firm’s growth team and receives work from a loyal base of start-up and emerging technology businesses throughout their life-cycle; he recently advised Undo on strategic funding and customer transactions in its rapid development as a global leader in software debugging tools. Other clients include Storm Therapeutics, Featurespace, Audio Analytic and Funderbeam.

Oxford and London-based corporate and technology boutique White & Black Limited provides a ‘responsive and pragmatic service’ to investors and investees across all stages of the investment continuum. Founding partner Phil Riman provides ‘considered and insightful advice’ to both funds and investees and is noted for his ability to ‘explain complex issues in a way that is easily digestible’. The ‘responsive’ Stephen Silvester is also recommended for his ‘technically strong and commercial advice’.

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