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Who Represents Who

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Active for both investors and investees, Bird & Bird LLP continues to have a strong presence in the market despite the departure in March 2016 of international team head Angus Miln to Taylor Wessing LLP. Geraint Lloyd has been involved in numerous deals for Albion Ventures, including its role as part of a syndicate in a $2.2m investment in cyber-security software company Panaseer. Struan Penwarden remains one of the dominant players in the venture debt space and continues to advise Kreos Capital on several mandates, including its loan to Widespace AB. Ali Ramadan, who was promoted to partner in May 2016, provides ‘commercial and wise advice’.

With practitioners based out of the firm’s Reading, London and Bristol offices, as well as a presence in Silicon Valley in the US, Osborne Clarke remains ‘deeply engrained in the venture capital industry’. Team head Robert Wood provides a ‘great service’ to clients including Funding Circle and Imperial Innovations, and advised the latter on a £19m Series A investment in Kesios Therapeutics. Matthew Lewis has a focus on the cleantech and renewables space, and assisted Oxford Photovoltaics with two £12.6bn combined Series B funding rounds. Other recommended partners include Russell van Praagh, Mathias Loertscher and Akmal Ghauri, who handles venture debt transactions as part of his broader finance practice.

Bolstered by the arrival of Angus Miln from Bird & Bird LLP in March 2016, Taylor Wessing LLP’s practice continues to go from strength to strength and provides ‘knowledgeable advice’ to investors and investees across a range of IP-rich areas including Fintech and life sciences. The ‘pragmatic and well-connected’ David Mardle has recently handled a number of deals for Partech Ventures, including advising on a £22m Series C investment in Brandwatch and on a £25m funding round into Made.com. Howard Palmer recently advised Kymab on its $50m fundraising from new investors including Woodford Patient Capital Trust and Malin Life Sciences Holdings.

Led by Mark Dorff, Brown Rudnick LLP’s ‘talented and experienced’ team provides a ‘resourceful service’ to investors and investees across the investment lifecycle. Sophie McGrath provides ‘an excellent all-round service’ to clients active in the life sciences, technology and cleantech sectors; she advised Flowerbx on its expansion and recent £850,000 fundraising. The firm also benefits from a strong presence in the US, of particular use when a client wishes to flip its business to a US incorporated business structure.

Benefiting from a ‘strong overall life sciences and healthcare pedigree’, Covington & Burling LLP handles a significant amount of venture capital work in this segment. James Halstead has advised Imperial Innovations on numerous healthcare investments, including on Auspherix’s £6m Series A financing. Louise Nash, James Gubbins, Paul Claydon and Gregor Frizzell are also recommended.

Led by the ‘deeply experienced and pragmaticYlan Steiner, King & Wood Mallesons displays ‘an impressive combination of in-depth expertise and high levels of commitment’. Steiner acted for Blippar.com on a $54m Series D financing and continues to handle work for Vitruvian Partners, including on its Series D financing round of Trustpilot. ‘Extremely dedicated and professional’ associate Janine Suttie is also recommended.

The team at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP acts for technology companies throughout their growth lifecycles, and also benefits from a ‘fantastic’ Silicon Valley practice in the US. Team head Christopher Grew ‘has his finger on the pulse of the industry’ and recently advised WorldRemit on its $100m Series B funding. Although the firm is best known for its investee mandates it also handles work for venture capital trusts and corporate venturers including Salesforce Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners and MVC Capital. Shawn Atkinson is recommended for late-stage venture transactions.

The ‘pragmatic and responsive’ team at Harbottle & Lewis LLP has ‘excellent technology industry knowledge’ and is able to leverage the firm’s broader IP and technology teams to provide an all-encompassing service to investors and investees throughout the investment lifecycle. ‘Knowledgeable and personable’ team head Tony Littner provides ‘a nice balance between getting what the client wants done and challenging appropriately when needed’. Aided by ‘calm and capable’ associate Felix Wong, Littner recently advised Brandwatch on its $33m Series C financing.

JAG Shaw Baker provides ‘nimble, smart and commercial advice’ to an ever-growing roster of investor and investee clients, and its track record of work for start-ups, angel investors and VCs give the firm ‘unparalleled knowledge in the area’. The ‘very knowledgeable and resourceful’ Tina Baker recently advised Kano Computing on its $15m Series A funding and JustPark Parking on its £3.7m crowdfunding round. Other recommended partners include the ‘responsive, helpful and detail-oriented’ Susanna Stanfield, who regularly acts for Cambridge-based companies and investors in the life sciences space, and James Shaw, who specialises in late-stage investments.

At Marriott Harrison LLP, ‘very sharp and experienced’ team head Andrew Wigfall has excellent traction with investor clients including Accel Partners and Balderton Capital, recently advising the latter on its early-stage investment in digital healthcare platform Patients Know Best. In another highlight, Jonathan Leigh-Hunt (whose expertise spans advice to venture capital houses, investee companies and management teams) advised Mobeus Equity Partners on its MBO of Jablite from Dutch private equity house Synbra.

Supported by a strong IP team as well as a significant commercial practice that assists with IP commercialisation matters, Olswang LLP is able to provide a cradle-to-grave service to investors and investees in the life sciences and tech sectors in particular.

Reed Smith LLP’s ‘friendly and approachable’ team is noted for its ‘commercial approach’ and ‘willingness to be flexible on fees and to build long-term relationships’, making it ‘the entrepreneurs’ secret weapon’. The ‘super-smart and responsive’ Michael Young regularly acts for start-ups and investors; he recently advised fashion app Grabble on its £1.2m fundraising.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP attracts praise for its ‘commercial and practical’ service, and is able to leverage its strong private wealth credentials to provide assistance to high-net-worth individuals as investors in the venture capital space. Malcolm MacDougall advised Laundrapp on its £5m fundraising round. Chris Putt regularly handles work for Kreos Capital in the venture debt space.

At Fieldfisher, Tim Bird advised Fuse Universal on its $10m preference share investment from US VC Education Growth Partners. The team also acts for a number of corporate venturers, particularly in the media sector where BBC Worldwide and Channel 4 Investments are significant clients. Andrew Blankfield is also recommended.

Nabarro LLP is increasingly active for investees in the Fintech space, and the firm’s entrepreneurs and SMEs sub-group offers a selection of fixed price products aimed at giving cost certainty to start-up companies. John Finnemore recently advised Conversocial on its $4m Series A funding.

Baker Botts (UK) LLP provides ‘cost-effective and strategic’ advice to venture capital trusts, investees and corporate venturers in the technology, cleantech and life sciences sectors. Team head Neil Foster and special counsel Tim Davison ‘have great practical transactional experience’ and recently acted for The Solar Cloth Company on a crowdfunding venture capital campaign via the Crowdcube platform.

Although it has more of a private equity focus, lawyers in CMS’ London and Scotland offices are also experienced in handling venture capital deals. Doug Land advised The Business Growth Fund, a significant client of the team, on its £6.4m investment in national Thai restaurant chain, Giggling Squid.

At Dorsey & Whitney, Frances Doherty regularly advises technology investees on their financing requirements. Recent highlights include advising Azino on its £20m investment by Frog Capital and others. The arrival of Paul Denham from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP provides a degree of expertise on venture debt transactions as part of his wider finance practice.

At Gowling WLG, team head Ian Piggin has significant experience advising investors in the technology and life sciences sectors. Piggin recently advised a syndicate of investors, including Imperial Innovations, on their further investment into drug discovery and development company Mission Therapeutics.

Mills & Reeve LLP provides ‘an outstanding and personalised service’ to a predominantly investor-focused client base that includes Mercia Investments, which the ‘excellentZickie Lim has advised on a series of investments in 2015.

At Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP, ‘solutions-oriented’ team head Jeremy Willcocks handles venture capital work in the technology and life sciences sectors as part of his broader corporate practice.

Led by Andrew Betteridge, Ashfords LLP’s Bristol-based practice represents investors and investees across the gamut of early and late-stage investments. Recent highlights include advising Crowdcube on its £5m fundraising.

Bristol-based Burges Salmon LLP handles venture capital work for investors, particularly pertaining to the renewables space. The ‘experienced and pragmaticRichard Spink handles a significant amount of venture capital work as part of his broader corporate finance practice. Clients include Octopus Investments and Ingenious Investments.

A major venture capital player in the US, Cooley (UK) LLP has already begun to handle some significant mandates out of its nascent London office. David Bresnick advised Anthos Capital and Index Ventures on a $15m Series A financing for Facelt, an online eSport gaming platform based in London.

Kemp Little LLP provides a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ service to technology and digital business investors and investees including Cluster Seven, Nativ and Primesight. The ‘calm and commercially mindedCharles Claisse advised Fintech company IOCS on its follow-on investment from Notion and debt investment from Luxembourg-based fund Boost.

With offices in London, Reading, Oxford and Cambridge, and leveraging the firm’s significant IP and life sciences expertise, Penningtons Manches LLP is well placed to represent technology clients, as well as spin-outs from universities. The ‘pragmaticRob Hayes led the team, which includes the ‘very efficient’ Elizabeth Yell, on Veryan’s £18m Series C funding.

Headquartered in Oxford but aided by a London office established in 2014, boutique technology and corporate firm White & Black Limited provides ‘a responsive and proactive’ service to investors and investees including Fresh Holdings, Frog Capital and Gigaclear. Phil Riman provides ‘considered and insightful advice’ and heads the team, which includes ‘commercially savvy’ senior associate Stephen Silvester.

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