Simmons & Simmons has launched its Greentech Fund initiative, a competition open to startups that use new technologies to fight the environmental crisis and are located in countries where the law firm is present in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Luxembourg, France, Belgium and Germany are among the eligible countries.
Applications have been open since 1 November and will remain open until 31 December 2021. The four winners will receive legal support worth £25,000 (€29,612). Delphine Mailloc-Amand, marketing manager, is leading the project in Luxembourg.
What can you do with €29,612 worth of legal support?
Delphine Mailloc-Amand: It all depends on the problems that people encounter, which may involve intellectual property law, labour law or company law. There is no time limit on the package. It can be one or two years of legal support on current issues and others that are a little more exceptional.
What does Luxembourg represent for the Simmons & Simmons network?
We are one of the last offices to be launched, in 2015, as Simmons celebrates its 125th anniversary. Luxembourg was important before Brexit; after, it became even more important. Simmons has two business lines: investment funds and financial institutions. So Luxembourg has a key role. We have just over 35 employees out of a total of 2,000 in 15 countries [the turnover in Luxembourg was not specified. The overall figure is €519m for the year 2020-2021, editor’s note].
As far as applications to the Greentech Fund are concerned, we have received about ten so far, but none from Luxembourg.
Who will select the winners and on what criteria?
There are three criteria for startups that want to participate. That they use technology to fight against global warming or the decline of biodiversity. That they are supported by an incubator, accelerator or investor. If the project is backed by someone else, we need to make sure it is solid. And we don’t take startups that have gone beyond a series A fundraising round [those at the beginning that allow the development of the activity, editor’s note].
The international jury will be made up of about ten people, lawyers or staff members, like me [the only jury member based in Luxembourg, editor’s note], who have an interest in the environment. It will select the winners according to originality, the soundness of the business model and the support that Simmons can provide. Figures on the impact of the project, for example on the reduction of particle emissions, are a plus.
We will announce the 10 finalists on 21 January. We will then have the startups pitch during the week of 14 February, for a result on the 23rd. It will be a mix of virtual and face-to-face. Let’s take the Luxembourg example, because I’m crossing my fingers that there will be one: if there is a startup among the finalists, we will invite it to pitch in our offices in Luxembourg and it will be broadcast to the other panel members.