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Pepper Hamilton LLP today announced that the firm served as legal counsel to seed-stage capital provider Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania in its formation of the Global Opportunity Philadelphia Fund (GO Philly Fund). The regional venture fund will allow private investors to invest in early-stage technology-focused enterprises in the Greater Philadelphia region.
The GO Philly Fund will operate as a co-investment fund with Ben Franklin, with the fund investing alongside Ben Franklin in early-stage companies. The fund will seek to make initial investments of between $50,000 and $500,000, and follow-on investments up to $3 million. Pepper Hamilton is advising on all U.S. legal matters relating to the organization, management and offering of interests in the fund.
Partner Christopher A. Rossi, who co-chairs Pepper’s Funds Services Group and leads the team advising on the GO Philly Fund, said, “This is an exciting new venture for Ben Franklin Technology Partners. They have always been at the forefront of innovation in the Greater Philadelphia region, and with the GO Philly Fund, they will be able to work with even more groundbreaking startups. We are proud to advise them on this new fund.”
The GO Philly Fund is anchored by lead investor EPAM Systems — a global product development and digital platform engineering services company headquartered in the Philadelphia area — and is now open to accredited investors. Following its initial close, the GO Philly Fund will seek to leverage blockchain technology as part of its fundraising and capital management strategy, in part by facilitating the issuance of GO Philly Fund tokens. The tokens will represent the GO Philly Fund’s limited partnership interests tracked on the Ethereum blockchain. “This is a terrific example of how securities can be represented on the Ethereum blockchain to help streamline investor participation,” said Joseph C. Guagliardo, partner and chair of the firm’s Blockchain Practice.
“At Pepper Hamilton, we are committed to supporting and expanding the Philadelphia region’s vibrant startup and early-stage technology community,” said Thomas P. Dwyer, partner and co-chair of the firm’s Emerging Growth Group. “Our longstanding relationship with Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania is evidence of that commitment, and we were thrilled to work with them as they launch this innovative new fund.”
Pepper Hamilton regularly advises entrepreneurs and emerging-growth businesses across a wide range of industries. Through the firm’s program for startup and early-stage entrepreneurial development — Pepper SEED™ — the firm’s attorneys have worked with hundreds of emerging companies to provide a solid and affordable legal foundation. In 2018, the firm assisted more than 15 SEED Program clients in obtaining financing. Pepper attorneys also worked on more than 35 venture financings for startup and early-stage clients in 2018, with combined transaction values exceeding $178 million.