Legal Awards 2022

21 | Legal Awards 2022 Btomorrow Ventures (BTV) is the corporate venturing unit of BAT (British American Tobacco). Spearheading the legal and communications teams at BTV, Senior Legal Counsel, Peter Wozny is focused on transforming the business into a truly consumer-centric multi-category consumer packaged goods (CPG) company, for A Better Tomorrow™. In light of Peter’s excellent awards success in this issue of SME News, we got in touch with him to learn more about the company and his career. Btomorrow Ventures is dedicated to partnering with ambitious and passionate entrepreneurs to realise their vision by providing a platform to enhance innovation and accelerate growth. To do this, it invests in innovative start-ups that can help deliver on BAT’s vision of A Better Tomorrow™, while targeting areas where there is strategic value for both parties. It leverages BAT’s capabilities as a FTSE100 company to accelerate portfolio companies’ revenue growth and looks for sustainable business models with strong gross margins, and attractive unit economics. The BTV team is a pioneering and ambitious one, and even more so with BAT behind them. Each of the investments that are made require a strategic alignment with its corporate. BTV doesn’t just financially support these exciting start-ups, but it becomes one of their biggest commercial partners or customers! And none of the outstanding work that comes from the BTV team could be what it is without the friendly and open internal culture. Everyone one really cares about each other and has built great friendships – even with most team members having joined remotely in the middle of lockdown. Within the company, Peter Wozny’s role as Senior Legal Counsel is a complex and busy one, but he loves it. He tells us, “When working in-house in venture capital on the investor side, you need to be an all-round lawyer. Once companies are in your portfolio, they often reach out for legal support as they don’t have the capabilities internally to do this yet. “You become their de facto ‘general counsel’ supporting them on IP, disputes, regulatory, tax, HR, compliance, and other general commercial issues that arise from time to time, all alongside advising BTV with its investments, exits and day-to-day legal operations of the fund to ensure everything is running smoothly. With BAT sitting above us as our corporate, there is also senior stakeholder management and ensuring alignment with all the decisions we are making.” In less than two years, BTV has completed 18 investments and 2 exits, across different jurisdiction and industries at different stages of the companies’ lifecycles (from early stage to later stage funding). BTV usually leads the investment round alongside other investors, but also has BAT requesting certain terms and rights in the investment documentation which often makes the structuring and negotiation more complicated. This means that Peter has to juggle additional complexities such as regulatory issues arising from investing in the cannabis space as in some jurisdictions, including in the UK, certain cannabinoids are illegal for recreational use. But he is also quick to praise the support of the entire legal team, which also comprises Chris Voelker, Sarah Stapley and their current secondee, David Gee from Fletcher Day. “In order to keep BTV operating, it requires strong teamwork across the whole legal department,” says Peter. “It’s a huge team effort and we all get on, work well together and complement each other’s strengths.” Peter’s career spans over a decade, having acquired private practice experience from working in the corporate teams of both Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and Brown Rudnick LLP in their London and Moscow offices. He joined BTV in summer 2020 to offer his venture capital experience and to help lead both the legal and communication teams. Peter also sits on the board of B United (BAT’s LGBTQ+ employee network) and in his spare time, is a trustee and on the boards of numerous charities (LIFEbeat, Facing History and Ourselves, and The National HIV Story Trust). Looking forward, BTV will continue to support BAT and its existing portfolio but will also continue to grow and invest into exciting new spaces to help transform BAT, and to move it into new categories beyond nicotine… so watch this space! If you want to learn more about Btomorrow Ventures, visit their website, or follow them on LinkedIn and Instagram. Company: Btomorrow Ventures Contact: Peter Wozny Email: Website: Apr22366 Venture Capital In-House Counsel of the Year 2022: Peter Wozny