2021 has become a record-breaking year for levels of investment in both private equity and venture capital. Why do you think this is?
For several reasons. Firstly, in 2020 Covid and the lockdown led to a major freeze of the market; so 2021 was seen as the year of the recovery. This was because of a mix of optimism and the need to do everything that had been prevented in the previous year. Moreover, there is a lot of liquidity and, despite the existence of inflation, interest rates have not yet risen, meaning that the best option is to channel capital into investment.
In what segments or sectors do you think transactions are more focussed?
Significant investment is being made in FinTech, or business technology, specifically in cyber security, in applications for remote work or in information and data management. Moreover, in 2022 I believe there will be a clear trend towards investment in ESG, i.e., environment, sustainability and good governance. It is an essential issue for firms that are beginning to prioritise these kinds of matters.
Many rounds of funding have been run for Spanish startups seeking international investors. Indeed, Across Legal recruited you specifically to promote their presence within these kinds of deals, didn’t they?
Spain is a hive of creativity and innovation with powerful startup accelerators. It is a stable European country – with a generation of successfully trained young people – which also offers a range of employment benefits compared to other European countries. It is a highly interesting country when it comes to investment. What is more, Spanish startups are also seeking international investors. The USA benefits from more capital and two powerful stock markets facilitating outflows and enhancing the returns secured in Europe. In recent months, I have observed a great deal of movement within Spanish firms with American parent companies over vastly interesting and complex deals. In tax terms, for instance, the impact of these transactions is critical; hence, it is vital to benefit from expert advisors. Indeed, one of the distinguishing traits of Across Legal is that it recruits native lawyers from the USA and the UK who are employed in Spain but benefit from experience in the aforementioned jurisdictions. The firm’s team has a wealth of experience and is capable of handling complex cross-border transactions.
Furthermore, major exits are being observed. Are we at a good juncture for divestitures?
In my experience, the best investors I have seen refrain from speculating on market activity; rather, they design an exit in accordance with the company’s strategic plan in order to get the most out of it. A business needs capital in order to grow. If a point comes where you are no longer willing to continue to invest, perhaps the time has come for the company to change hands
to an investor or firm that will take it to the next level. As a result, the aim is not so much a case of thinking about market valuations or the stock market, but rather about a strategic exercise of considering where I wish to end up in the next three to five years.
Overall, 2021 has been a big year for Across Legal; a year also in which the company overhauled its image and brand. Why did you consider this change?
We felt the need to change our brand because we sought to speak the same language as our clients and, as a result, to also communicate in a different manner. The business world is akin to a jungle, and we sought to convey this through our new image. Our mission as legal partners is precisely to help companies and investors to be unstoppable amid the jungle of commercial transactions.
What goals have you set for 2022?
Our goals are very closely aligned with the experiences of the firm in recent months. We will uphold our commitment to this transatlantic activity and to transactions with US investors. In addition, we will highlight our presence in Valencia, a city with a remarkable innovation ecosystem. Lastly, we are also contemplating joint work with our IT/IP department, which shall be entirely complementary and will enable us to deliver a 360-degree service to all emerging companies with clear innovation milestones.