I have always been fascinated by words: their meaning and history, how languages develop and why we use one word over another. I studied English and History at A-level and, thinking about following a similar route at university, decided to study Law at Manchester. At university, I decided I wanted to be a practicing lawyer, specifically one that works in the dynamic, international and team-oriented environment of a City firm. I completed work experience and vacation schemes in London, Leeds and Manchester, before deciding I wanted to work in London – and with Herbert Smith Freehills.
As part of its Ocean Rescue campaign, Sky announced the launch of Sky Ocean Ventures - an impact investment vehicle that will invest in new ideas and businesses who can help solve the oceans plastic crisis. Sky Ocean Ventures is encouraging businesses and innovators who are developing plastic packaging alternatives, new technology for the home that will help assist recycling and those developing alternative fibres for clothing to share their ideas and seek support. As a longstanding client of Herbert Smith Freehills, we continue to advise Sky on a range of legal and regulatory matters and have been assisting Sky Ocean Ventures across its full life cycle, ranging from advising on the initial structure and formation to supporting investments in early stage companies.
I have been leading the team working on the structuring and formation of the entities which form the Sky Ocean Ventures platform. That means identifying the legal, tax and regulatory pros and cons of using different types of investment vehicles and trying to give the client flexibility to allow the structure to evolve over time, in accordance with their commercial strategy. In particular, we have been helping Sky to navigate regulation applicable to funds and investment management, which had not historically been implicated by their core business. As the work has involved the tax team, funds advice and M&A work, part of my role has been to coordinate our advice across the different teams within the firm.
Sky made their first two investments through the Sky Ocean Ventures platform in July 2018, having previously announced a £25 million commitment to the project. It is very satisfying to see those investments coming to fruition and the structure being put to great use, after starting with a blank sheet of paper not too long ago. This is a great example of how our normal commercial work can come together with an impact investment strategy to provide a very meaningful result for the client and wider community.
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