Lawson Conner wins EU approval to allow UK venture capital funds to raise money from European investors

Lucy White
Lawson Conner is used by First Minute Capital, the venture capital firm of founder Brent Hoberman (Source: Getty)

Investment manager platform Lawson Conner, which outsources fund management services for UK venture capital (VC) firms, has been awarded EU approval to raise money from European investors.

The European Venture Capital Funds (EUVECA) Regulations, which were reformed earlier this year, allow funds to market in the EU without having to comply with the tough Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD).

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Lawson Conner is one of the first UK businesses to be awarded EUVECA authorisation, and has been appointed by First Minute Capital – the venture capital firm run by founder Brent Hoberman – to manage its fund.

“We can now help those VC funds that want to market their funds to European investors meet all the necessary compliance obligations, without having to do it in house,” said Lawson Conner's director Andrew Frost.

“Taking advantage of the EUVECA designation will allow UK VC funds to tap into a huge pool of institutional capital.”

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Spencer Crawley, general partner at First Minute, added: “It is important for us to be able to market our business to European investors quickly. By appointing Lawson Conner, we have saved having to undertake the regulatory process in-house.”

Cracking open the market of European investors has become increasingly important for UK VC firms, as several have found the European Investment Fund (EIF) unwilling to commit capital since Brexit.

A spokesperson for the EIF told City A.M. it does remain committed to the UK, but has had to pull back from imminent fundraisings as it must complete further due diligence to assess how the post-Brexit market will pan out.

According to trade body Invest Europe, venture capital fund raising grew to a post-crisis record of €6.4bn (£5.9bn) in 2016. These VC funds collectively invested €4.3bn in more than 3,000 companies.

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