Law firm helps seal £7m of deals | 02 June 08

LAW firm Ward Hadaway has helped to seal a raft of deals that have injected more than £7m into innovative North businesses.

The Newcastle-based firm’s expertise has helped companies involved in everything from environmentally-friendly food storage to ethical shopping to secure funding for growth.

And with a further seven venture capital deals set to conclude over the next few weeks, Ward Hadaway’s services remain in great demand.

Over the past three months, the firm has advised on no less than eight investments in early stage or growing companies across the region.

Many of the businesses are right at the cutting edge in their respective fields and are producing innovative and inventive products and services.

Duncan Reid, partner in the corporate finance team at Ward Hadaway, said: “It is fantastic for the firm to be able to play a part in the growth of these businesses.

“These investments are great news for the region as they encourage enterprise and attract funds and people to the North-East.

“They also demonstrate the high calibre of ideas and aptitude which the region can boast and which continue to attract investment even in the current economic climate.”

The deals Ward Hadaway advised on included a £500,000 investment in Evince Technology Ltd led by specialist technology venture capital firm NorthStar Equity Investors (NSEI) with London-based Low Carbon Seed Fund and Imperial Innovations also investing.

Evince is pioneering a semiconductor device with the potential to make sustainable energy generation more efficient and commercially viable.

The technology has huge potential to dramatically improve the performance of sustainable energy sources such as wind turbines and fuel cells by enabling the direct connection of power electronic systems to the main electricity grid.

Ward Hadaway has advised NSEI on a range of early stage venture capital deals in the region including an £800,00 investment in 3D games and learning company Caspian Learning, a £550,000 investment in ethical goods retailer PointOV, a £500,000 investment in Profile Analysis and a £400,000 investment in gourmet convenience food maker Tanfield Food Company.

CEO of NSEI, Marion Bernard, said: “As an active early stage equity investor in the North East, we have worked closely with Ward Hadaway on a number of deals.

“The commitment and expertise of their team has helped us complete a large number of high quality venture capital deals in the region.”

As well as helping companies making investments, Ward Hadaway has also advised businesses on receiving funding.

The firm advised BioFresh on receiving a £300,000 investment from various investors for developing the company’s sophisticated range of environmentally-friendly food storage solutions.

This was the latest in a series of investments on which Ward Hadaway has advised the company, a spin-out business from Newcastle University.

Professor Jerry Barnes, one of the company’s founders, said: “Securing funding for the company has been vital as we look to develop our technology and exploit a variety of growing markets at home and abroad.

“Ward Hadaway’s expertise and experience in the venture capital field has proved invaluable in this process and a real benefit to the business.”

Duncan Reid said: “Working on these deals has been a real team effort from everyone at Ward Hadaway involving experts in intellectual property, IT, banking, finance and commercial law.

“This range of expertise has been vital in ensuring that these investments have been completed successfully.

“It has also helped to boost the team’s experience still further, which will no doubt stand us in good stead over the coming weeks as we look to help more companies and their investors to tie up important funding deals for their futures.”