The forces driving demand for and supply of private capital are changing. More companies across sectors are staying private for longer, and as a result, there has been a significant rise in larger, later-stage deals being funded by the growth equity market. In response to this evolving market, Lazard has formed a new team in its UK office.

Called Lazard Venture and Growth Banking, the team of 10 will be led by Garri Jones and Nick James, who were hired on as managing directors in its UK Investment Banking business. Jones and James are moving to Lazard from Numis, where they ran a successful venture practice. The team will consist of experienced entrepreneurs, bankers, data scientists, and engineers.

The Venture and Growth Banking team will focus on the private growth equity and venture capital markets, connecting growth businesses with its large global investor base. The investor base for large, later-stage deals is global, highly fragmented, and requires intermediation to provide the best outcomes for all stakeholders, so the Venture and Growth Banking team’s expertise will be used to connect growth businesses with its large global investor base.

“The team will build on Lazard’s established public equity franchise and leverage Lazard’s global network to provide companies with greater access to capital markets and financial advisory advice throughout their life cycle,” said Lazard UK Chairman William Rucker. “Garri and Nick will bring a different perspective and set of relationships that will broaden the firm’s access to global capital providers and compliment and strengthen our global advisory capability.”

This effort is just part of Lazard’s efforts to keep pace with Rothschild, its main European rival. Under the leadership of financial advisory CEO Peter Orszag, Lazard will roll out industry sector teams in Europe, rather than relying on country coverage as it has done in the past. Orszag believes Lazard’s competitive position in Europe will be helped by the decline of European banks on the global stage, leaving the firm with fewer competitors.

“We are the only global independent advisory firm,” Orszag said, noting that Lazard recently completed deals in Peru, Chile, and China.

The Lazard Venture and Growth Banking team believes that there is a lot of untapped growth potential beyond the more “typical” VC sectors like consumer, SaaS, and fintech. Instead, the opportunities the team sees are in fields such as AI, life sciences, and “clean tech”—areas that require a deep understanding of technology and engineering to understand and evaluate properly.

The Venture and Growth Banking Team’s first task is to focus on connecting 100 selected high-growth European companies across different sectors and stages of business development with 400 active global investors. In April 2020, the team will host a three-day conference where they will bring together leading companies and global investors together through a series of panel discussions and “bespoke investor and company meetings.”

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