CC advises on Govt fund blueprint

CLIFFORD CHANCE has advised the British government on its first sponsored high-tech venture capital fund to be set up in the EU – hoping to create a blueprint for other countries to follow.

The £100m fund for investment in high-tech business was approved by the European Commission in July after competition commissioner Mario Monti was persuaded not to investigate the fund as part of a crackdown on state aid to industry.

The Clifford Chance team won a competitive tender process for the work in July 1999 and was led by private equity funds partner Jason Glover, assisted by Andy Knox.

Glover says: “Our work for the UK government on this project consolidates our reputation as Europe’s pre-eminent investment funds practice.”

The fund will channel £20m in government money to venture capital funds investing in high-tech start-ups. It had a successful first closing of £77m, against the original target of £40m, and has now reached £100m.

David Irwin, chief executive of the government’s Small Business Service, says: “We are delighted with the fund’s success and the service we have received from Clifford Chance.”