Stephan advises asset managers, institutional investors and investment funds on all matters relating to collective investment schemes, including fund formation and ongoing operational matters, co-investments, carried interest arrangements and internal reorganizations. In addition, Stephan advises sponsors and investors on secondary transactions, including recapitalizations and restructurings.

As a second focus, Stephan's practice includes venture capital and M&A transactions as well as general corporate law. In particular, Stephan advises and represents domestic and foreign institutional and strategic investors and corporations on all matters related to financing rounds, corporate acquisitions, joint ventures, investments in portfolio companies and exit transactions.

The JUVE Handbook of German Commercial Law Firms lists Stephan as a "frequently recommended lawyer" for venture capital and Germany's leading economic magazine WirtschaftsWoche ranks Stephan as a top lawyer for M&A.

The Legal 500 Germany 2020 mentions Stephan as a key lawyer for investment funds and for venture capital, and Best Lawyers® recognizes Stephan as one of the top lawyers in Germany for private funds and for venture capital law.

Education and Career

Stephan studied law in Cologne and at University College London. Before co-founding SMP, he was an Associated Partner at Flick Gocke Schaumburg. Prior thereto, Stephan was a Senior Associate for several years in the M&A and corporate team of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton at the firm’s Cologne, Frankfurt and New York offices.

Stephan is a co-editor of and contributor to the practitioners’ handbook “Venture Capital Agreements in Germany” and frequently publishes on matters related to venture capital, M&A and general corporate law. 


Stephan’s recent work highlights include advising:

  • on the formation of its fifth and sixth generation of venture capital funds and on the formation of its co-investment fund with the European Investment Fund, as well as on all financing rounds in Germany and Europe (including Blinks Labs, Deposit Solutions and Asanayoga)
  • Allianz/AV8 Ventures on the formation of a captive fund with Allianz SE as sole investor.
  • The founders and investors of Data Artisans on the sale of the company to Alibaba
  • Cherry Ventures on the formation of its second and third generation of venture capital funds
  • BlueYard/BY Capital on the formation of its first and second generation of venture capital funds and on several financing rounds, including Pitch and deepstream hub
  • Greycroft on various financing rounds, including Blinks Labs, Viorama and Deposit Solutions
  • Cooperativa/PropTech1Ventures on the formation of the first German PropTech venture capital fund
  • Coya on all of its financing rounds and all corporate law issues
  • Rasa on its Series A financing round and all corporate law issues
  • Information Asymmetry – Sense and Nonsense of Guarantees, Milestones and MAC Provisions in VC Investment Agreements
    in: Venture Capital, Investment Agreements and related Legal Issues – results of the 3rd Leipzig Conference on Mergers & Acquisitions in 2017 from May 19th to 20th, C.H. Beck, 2018 (forthcoming) - (in German)
  • Venture Capital Agreements in Germany
    C.H. Beck, 2017 (together with Peter Möllmann) - (forthcoming)
  • Confidentiality Obligations of Board Members in Case of Multiple Board Membership
    NZG 2013, 801-806 - (in German)
  • The Prohibition on Insider Trading in M&A Transactions
    NZG 2012, 1337-1342 - (in German)
  • Legal Issues Concerning the Cooperation of Insurance Companies
    VersR 2012, 270-278 (together with Jürgen Sieger) - (in German)
  • Control Mechanisms for Founders of Foundations under German Civil Law
    NZG 2010, 641-646 (together with Jürgen Sieger) - (in German)
  • The UK LLP – An Attractive Business Entity for German Law Firms?
    BB-Spezial 2010, 4 et seq. - (in German)
  • The LLP in Practice
    C.H. Beck, 2008 (together with Helder Schnittker) - (in German)
  • The British Limited Liability Partnership: An Attractive Business Entity for Professionals?
    Duncker & Humblot, 2007 - (in German)
  • Limits of Post-Contractual Non-Compete Undertakings
    LMK 2005, 163409 (together with Martin Henssler) - (in German)
  • Corporate Liability under the German Federal Soil Protection Act
    DB 1999, 417-420 (together with Wolfgang Schmitz-Rode) - (in German)