After months of talking about it, we’ve taken the plunge and decided to open a Simmonds Stewart office in Singapore. We have obtained a foreign lawyers’ licence from the Singapore regulators, and will formally open for business in market in February 2017.
This may seem like a ballsy move for a boutique New Zealand law firm, but over the last 18 months we’ve been increasingly busy advising Southeast Asian tech companies and investors on venture capital and M&A transactions. Recent highlights include advising:
- Rakuten Ventures on its USD35million series B investment in Singapore based e-commerce business, Carousell
- KFit, an online subscription platform focussed on Southeast Asia, on its acquisition of Groupon’s Indonesian business
- Indonesian and Philippine based fintech company, Compare88, on its series B investment led by Telstra Ventures
- Coins, a blockchain payments startup from the Philippines, on its USD5million series A financing.
We’ve also been helping kiwi businesses stretch their wings, like advising 90Seconds on its re-domicile to Singapore and investment led by global VC firm Sequoia Capital.
This is extremely exciting work to be involved in – the transactions are large and often involve heavyweights in the global tech and venture capital industries. As well as being great fun for our team, it is nice to be able to feed this international experience back into our work within the NZ tech ecosystem.
We think we can grow this part of our business substantially over the next few years, leveraging the international experience of our lawyers and the strength of Simmonds Stewart’s brand in the startup and venture capital world.
We will be co-locating with Singapore Xero Gold Partner Futurebooks. Simmonds Stewart and Futurebooks already work together on the legal, company secretarial and accounting aspects of Singapore domiciled venture capital and M&A transactions, and co-location will help both companies better serve their international tech company clients. Futurebooks has enjoyed a long relationship with Simmonds Stewart partner Lee Bagshaw and they are looking forward to working more closely with the Simmonds Stewart team from early next year. As a Xero Gold Partner, Futurebooks are also very happy to be strengthening their connection with the New Zealand technology ecosystem.
Having an office in Singapore will also enable us to offer in-market assistance to our NZ clients. Southeast Asia is a massive and fast growing market and we expect this to be an increasing focus for NZ tech companies – we think Xero’s establishment of a regional office in Singapore will be a tipping point for NZ tech in Southeast Asia.
by victoria stewart, 30 October 2016