Simmons sets up one-stop IT shop

Simmons & Simmons is launching a one-stop online shop for e-commerce entrepreneurs looking for funding.

The site, called MatchCo, aims to match entrepreneurs with investors as well as providing legal, financial and business advice.

The City firm has set up the service with internet company Eurobell, which is owned by Dutch Telecoms, a client of Simmons.

Field Fisher Waterhouse, which recently poached a senior IT solicitor from Simmons, is also offering online legal advice on the MatchCo site, along with accountancy giant KPMG, analyst Ovum and public relations group Bell Pottinger Communications.

Simmons' commercial partner Tom Wheadon developed the idea.

He hopes more law firms will sign up to the venture when it goes live in January 2000.

Online customers will pay £1,000 to use the service. MatchCo will also take a two per cent equity share in companies that find funding.

But Wheadon denies Simmons is following the trend, as revealed in The Lawyer, for taking equity in client's companies in lieu of fees.

It is, he explains, more akin to employee share options.

Wheadon says: “It is rather like share options that will act as an incentive for the advisers.

“[Taking major equity stakes] may well happen but we would rather create companies that can pay proper fees.”