Stephan advises asset managers, institutional investors and investment funds on all matters relating to collective investment schemes, including fund formation and ongoing operational matters, co-investments, carried interest arrangements and internal reorganizations. In addition, Stephan advises sponsors and investors on secondary transactions, including recapitalizations and restructurings.
As a second focus, Stephan's practice includes venture capital and M&A transactions as well as general corporate law. In particular, Stephan advises and represents domestic and foreign institutional and strategic investors and corporations on all matters related to financing rounds, corporate acquisitions, joint ventures, investments in portfolio companies and exit transactions.
The JUVE Handbook of German Commercial Law Firms lists Stephan as a "frequently recommended lawyer" for venture capital and Germany's leading economic magazine WirtschaftsWoche ranks Stephan as a top lawyer for M&A.
The Legal 500 Germany mentions Stephan as a key lawyer for investment funds and for venture capital, and Best Lawyers® recognizes Stephan as one of the top lawyers in Germany for private funds and for venture capital law.
Education and Career
Stephan studied law in Cologne and at University College London. Before co-founding SMP, he was an Associated Partner at Flick Gocke Schaumburg. Prior thereto, Stephan was a Senior Associate for several years in the M&A and corporate team of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton at the firm’s Cologne, Frankfurt and New York offices.
Stephan is a co-editor of and contributor to the practitioners’ handbook “Venture Capital Agreements in Germany” and frequently publishes on matters related to venture capital, M&A and general corporate law.
Stephan’s recent work highlights include advising:
- Allianz X on its investment in heycar
- Leaps by Bayer on its investment in Ada Health
- KKA Partners on the formation of its first and second generation of private equity funds
- Speedinvest on the formation of its third horizontal venture capital fund generation and the structuring of various focus and successor funds
- Vorwerk Ventures on the formation of a venture capital fund
- Revent Capital on the formation of a venture capital fund with an impact focus
- 468 Capital on the formation of their venture capital funds
- Baloise on several venture capital investments
- Exporo on all financing rounds and on its joint venture with Zinsland
- Headline on the formation of its horizontal venture capital fund generations, on the formation of various growth funds, focus funds and follow-on funds, on fund secondary transactions as well as on numerous financing rounds in Germany and Europe
- Allianz/AV8 Ventures on the formation of two captive funds with Allianz SE as sole investor
- The founders and investors of Data Artisans on the sale of the company to Alibaba
- Cherry Ventures on the formation of all of its horizontal venture capital fund generations
- BlueYard/BY Capital on the formation of its first and second generation of venture capital funds and on several financing rounds, including Pitch and deepstream hub
- Greycroft on various financing rounds, including Blinks Labs, Viorama and Deposit Solutions
- Cooperativa/PropTech1Ventures on the formation of the first German PropTech venture capital fund
- Coya on all of its financing rounds and all corporate law issues
- Rasa on its Series A financing round and all corporate law issues
- German qualified attorney (Rechtsanwalt)
- Ph.D. in law (Dr. iur.) (Cologne University)
- LL.M. (University College London)
- Attribution of Knowledge and Contract Drafting
in: Liability, Duty to Inform, Attribution of Knowledge and Conduct in M&A Transactions – results of the 4th Leipzig Conference on Mergers & Acquisitions in 2018 from May 19th to 20th, C.H. Beck, 2020, 93 – 124 (in German)
- Information Asymmetry – Sense and Nonsense of Guarantees, Milestones and MAC Provisions in VC Investment Agreements
in: Venture Capital, Investment Agreements and related Legal Issues – results of the 3rd Leipzig Conference on Mergers & Acquisitions in 2017 from May 19th to 20th, C.H. Beck, 2018, 117 – 142 (in German)
- Venture Capital Agreements in Germany
C.H. Beck, 2017 (together with Peter Möllmann)
- Confidentiality Obligations of Board Members in Case of Multiple Board Membership
NZG 2013, 801-806 - (in German)
- The Prohibition on Insider Trading in M&A Transactions
NZG 2012, 1337-1342 - (in German)
- Legal Issues Concerning the Cooperation of Insurance Companies
VersR 2012, 270-278 (together with Jürgen Sieger) - (in German)
- Control Mechanisms for Founders of Foundations under German Civil Law
NZG 2010, 641-646 (together with Jürgen Sieger) - (in German)
- The UK LLP – An Attractive Business Entity for German Law Firms?
BB-Spezial 2010, 4 et seq. - (in German)
- The LLP in Practice
C.H. Beck, 2008 (together with Helder Schnittker) - (in German)
- The British Limited Liability Partnership: An Attractive Business Entity for Professionals?
Duncker & Humblot, 2007 - (in German)
- Limits of Post-Contractual Non-Compete Undertakings
LMK 2005, 163409 (together with Martin Henssler) - (in German)
- Corporate Liability under the German Federal Soil Protection Act
DB 1999, 417-420 (together with Wolfgang Schmitz-Rode) - (in German)