Fieldfisher completes on more than £220m VC deals in 2019

Tom Ward

Law firm Fieldfisher advised on more than £220m of venture capital and venture debt deals in 2019.

This was led by brisk activity in the tech sector and robust interest in life sciences and leisure.

These deals were carried out across the firm’s UK, Belgian, French, Irish and German offices last year, but a notable amount of deals in the tech sector were completed by the Manchester office.

The firm’s robust VC performance came in a year when investment in UK scale-ups hit more than £9bn, according to KPMG’s 2019 Venture Pulse Report, while European start-ups raised in excess of £27.7bn over the same period, data compiled by Crunchbase show – a five-year high.

Deals the firm advised on ranged in value from £50,000 seed funding investments to £19.3m growth capital injections.

Deal highlights included:

  • Fieldfisher’s Manchester office advised Limeglass on a strategic investment from JP Morgan, providing corporate, IP and tech expertise for what was a significant deal for Limeglass
  • The Manchester office also advised e.fundamentals – a market-leading AI-powered e-commerce analytics platform – on a multimillion-pound Series B investment from Maven Capital, Downing VCT and Scottish Enterprise
  • Advising UK video game publishing platform Coda Platform on a $5m Seed preferred equity investment from London Venture Partners and high net worth angels

Despite these positive figures, political uncertainty surrounding Brexit, which was heightened in the run-up to the UK General Election in December, had a noticeable dampening effect on economic confidence in all business areas last year.

Tom Ward, a Manchester-based partner in Fieldfisher’s corporate M&A and VC group and one of Legal Week’s 40 under 40 Rising Stars in Private Equity 2019, said: “Our cross-sector VC team continued to advise and support high-growth innovative companies and investors throughout 2019.

“Interest was noticeably buoyant in fintech and e-commerce, while we also saw noteworthy deals in artificial intelligence/automation and security technologies, especially cyber-security.

“US investors continued to feature in our deal activity, particularly on the venture debt side, as did Asian investors, testifying to the increasingly international scope of our VC practice.

“With the UK’s exit from the EU now decidedly in motion, we expect some pent-up deal activity to play out in 2020.”