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New Zealand firm Simpson Grierson has signed newly-listed software developer Feverpitch as the first participant in its services for shares scheme
The company, which has developed a software platform allowing internet gaming, has set aside 100,000 shares for the partnership against an investment of NZ$50,000 (A$41,000/£15,000) of legal fees. Simpson Grierson, a 50-partner firm, has so far provided advice to the value of NZ$30,000 (A$24,600/ £9,000), securing 60,000 shares through its new Equifee scheme. It has agreed that the next NZ$40,000 (A$32,800/ £12,100) block of work will be billed at a 50/50 rate of shares and fees. Equifee, set up in October last year, is designed to back innovative start-ups by taking shares in lieu of up to 60 per cent of legal fees. It is thought to be the first scheme of its kind to be formally established by a New Zealand law firm. Andrew Lewis, head of the firm's venture capital group, says that the partnership is currently in discussions with a number of potential participants. "We firmly believe that knowledge-based business will be a vital component of New Zealand's economic future - we want to be a part of that," said Lewis. "Feverpitch fitted the criteria, in that it has high growth potential. It is speculative, but that is what the scheme is designed for. We're happy to share some of the risk." Lewis said that the firm is not looking for long-term investment through the scheme, and is particularly seeking shares in companies which will provide exit opportunities within three years.