By Denise Matthews

As the approach of the new season lingers on the horizon, businesses get back into the full swing of activity as they prepared throughout the inevitably slower summer months to get the most out of the remaining year.

At the end of July, tech giants hit the headlines in the Financial Times: “Google parent Alphabet overtakes Apple to become the new king of cash”. For a decade Apple was the company with the biggest financial reserves at a peak of $163bn in 2017, but being dethroned does not come without serious controversy for Google’s parent company, especially within the seriously sensitive political times around the globe. Increasingly, the US Government and European Union are exerting more control over the tech giants to stifle their plans for world domination and the implication that they can influence or change the course of the mass population’s understanding and opinion of current world affairs.

For the not so well-known Alphabet, what are the implications and what is it the company does? Launched in 2015, the mission is to keep growing and investing in innovation varying in anything from health to self-driven cars claiming this company will help make the world a better place. CEO Larry Page made his shift to Alphabet, mainly a group of different companies with the biggest of course being Google. By December 2016, Alphabet had acquired over 200 companies, with the largest acquisition being the purchase of Motorola Mobility, the mobile device manufacturing company, for $12.5 billion. This was by no means a profitable move – they sold back a few years later at a fraction of the price – but the good news for developers and entrepreneurs is that these tech giants have plenty of cash to spare.

This was by no means a profitable move.

There is more; some of the biggest tech acquisitions and mergers of all time came from the likes of Amazon acquiring Whole Foods supermarkets for $13.7 billion or smart doorbell Ring for just over $1 billion. In these mega billion deals you would know that Facebook snapped up WhatsApp and Instagram, with Microsoft also acquiring LinkedIn. In conclusion, the art of building a product, application and scaling your business model to millions of users can nowadays result in unimaginable wealth.

For our September event the guest speakers Peter Howitt and Fiona Young are going to share the journey with our audience at a local scale and how building a legal firm focused on innovation and positive core values resulted in a successful acquisition for them by the Global Law Firm Ince Gordan Dadds (now rebranded as Ince). Peter Howitt, founded the start-up law firm Ramparts in 2012, following his move to Gibraltar from London to work within the gaming industry. His vision was to found a law firm that provided niche and specialist expertise to clients in the Finance and Gaming sectors. With his extensive experience in online gaming and e-money, Peter saw the law firm as an opportunity to focus on emerging areas of legal and regulatory work within an increasingly tech driven jurisdiction. The firm attracted a number of highly skilled legal practitioners each with extensive expertise in their relevant fields helping to grow the client base and enabling Ramparts to quickly find its place within the local legal community.

It was important for the firm to build up a team of lawyers and support staff that worked well together, share a passion for pragmatism and personable service and were consistently inspired and motivated by their work. Office yoga, team building, staff lunches, flexible working, support for working parents and dynamic communication systems are just a few of the methods that as a start-up they were able to ensure have a place to provide a positive and friendly working environment.

In November 2018, Fiona Young, a local employment lawyer and mediator who specialises in facilitating positive working relationships, joined the team to assist with developing dynamic and positive working practices within Ramparts and for their clients. Key to the vision was a law firm that was able to turn legal theory in practical and pragmatic solutions for his client base. In particular, the legal team primarily had equal amounts of large law firm experience coupled with in-house expertise. This meant that they could not only find legal solutions to their clients’ problems, but could relate to the practical needs of the clients and the various challenges faced by their clients in their respective traditional and technology industries.

Office yoga, team building, staff lunches, flexible working are just a few of the methods.

With now 13 international offices as part of their expansion, Ince saw in Ramparts a reflection of their own core values and shared the vision of pragmatic and practical support for clients extending beyond traditional legal advice. Having set their sights on Gibraltar amidst uncertain times can only signal continued growth. Peter Howitt will continue to head up Ince locally and the team continues to work in the pragmatic, practical and realistic advice and guidance to a niche and ever-growing sector in what they feel is an exciting Jurisdiction.

Join us on 12th September at World Trade Center for their Fireside Chat. For more information go to startupgrind.com/Gibraltar.