Three Minutes With Howard Watt

Howard Watt, Partner

Howard Watt, Partner

A new month brings new beginnings at JAG Shaw Baker and today we’re pleased to announce a new partner at the firm, Howard Watt.

Howard comes to JAG Shaw Baker from Eight Roads (the private investment arm of Fidelity International) where he has been in-house Counsel for the past six years. While there, Howard advised Eight Roads’ European Venture Fund on investments including Innogames, Made.com, NotOnTheHighStreet, AppsFlyer and Wahanda (now Treatwell), including the latter’s $171 m exit to Recruit.

As a partner on our corporate team, Howard’s background includes deal work in venture capital, private equity, private investment funds and M&A as well as commercial contracts experience, leaving him well placed to advise companies on corporate issues throughout their lifecycle from startup to exit.

But there’s more to Howard than his venture capital expertise. Howard has a philosophy about being both a lawyer and a service provider which dovetails into the role of strategic advisor.

“To me the role of the modern lawyer, particularly in venture capital, is more than purely service provider. It’s about building a relationship with your clients and helping support them and their companies through a complete lifecycle from ‘two people in a garage with an idea’ all the way up to a multi-million pound company exit,” said Watt. “I tend to find the VC culture is more collaborative; ultimately everyone (investors, entrepreneurs, management) wants to be involved with a successful company and at JAG Shaw Baker I want our role to be complementary to that; to be an efficiently collaborative partner rather than an obstructive external service provider.”

Watt says one of the main reasons for joining the firm as Partner was because of JAG Shaw Baker’s approach to working with clients – in what he calls a strategic commercial approach.

“I had worked on numerous VC deals with the firm’s co-founder, Tina Baker over the past several years while I was at 8 Roads and the firm is far more able to understand the commercial picture that’s missing from larger firms catering to the start up market. They don’t waste time and money on negotiating for the sake of it. In fact, in producing template documents for clients they do their best to save on both. It’s how things should be done.”

Prior to Eight Roads, Howard was a Corporate Associate in the London office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, a role which included advising Playfish on their $400m sale to Electronic Arts in 2009. Howard received his LLB from the Durham University in 2003 and qualified as a solicitor in England in 2006. In his spare time he is a family man and a self confessed gym addict.

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