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Herbert Smith Freehills’ private equity and venture capital team has advised Fortiro on its acquisition of the Protect software-as-a-service platform from PwC and its AUD$3.5 million Series Seed capital raising led by OIF Ventures (OIF).

Protect is a SaaS platform that offers document fraud detection and automation services to enterprises, particularly in the financial services industry and government sector, that will now operate as an independent venture-backed business to facilitate its continued growth and expansion. 

The Herbert Smith Freehills team was led by Co-Head of Venture Capital (Australia) Elizabeth Henderson, solicitors Taseen Rafi and Katherine Duong, and senior associate Candice Heggelund, supported by partner and Co-Head of Venture Capital (Australia) Clayton James. The team worked with lawyers from across the firm's Sydney and Melbourne offices including Tess Mierendorff, Rommo Pandit and Samuel Gonski, and partner Peter Jones and solicitor Kosta Hountalas who advised on the technology, IP and software agreements. HSF worked with associated tax practice Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills, led by partner Toby Eggleston.

Elizabeth Henderson said, “We were very pleased to have the opportunity to work with Fortiro’s co-founders CEO Sean Quagliani, COO and CFO David Weber, and CTO Amir Dastjerdi on the acquisition of the Protect platform and their Series Seed capital raise. Navigating entrepreneurs through these transactions and seeing new businesses emerge and take off is one of the reasons we all love working with founders so much.”

Taseen Rafi and Katherine Duong said, “Congratulations to the Fortiro team on these milestone transactions. It’s not every day that we have the opportunity to advise on a concurrent acquisition and series seed process and see a team become founders virtually overnight. We thoroughly enjoyed working with Sean, David and Amir and look forward to watching the business grow.”

Fortiro COO and CFO David Weber said, “Fortunately for us, PwC was very supportive of our efforts to acquire Protect, and the team at Herbert Smith Freehills was able to help us navigate through all aspects of the transaction with combined capital raise from start to finish.”

This deal is another example of Herbert Smith Freehills’ market-leading work in Australian venture capital raisings. Other recent examples include:

  • Dovetail Research on its US$63 million Series A capital raise
  • Mr Yum on its A$89 million Series A capital raise
  • Who Gives a Crap on its A$41.5 million Series A capital raise
  • SafetyCulture on its A$90 million Series C2 capital raise
  • Culture Amp on its A$120 million Series E capital raise and A$135 million Series F capital raise and secondary sale

Key contacts

Elizabeth Henderson photo

Elizabeth Henderson

Partner, Co-Head of Venture Capital (Australia), Sydney

Elizabeth Henderson
Clayton James photo

Clayton James

Partner, Sydney

Clayton James