Today Mishcon de Reya announced the start of MDR LAB 2019, welcoming the third cohort in its legaltech incubator programme to the firm. Six early stage companies, ranging from concept through to early revenue-stage, have joined the 10-week programme to work alongside Mishcon de Reya lawyers and other business experts from inside and outside of the firm. The main focus of the programme is product development, aiming to help the companies deepen their understanding of the problems lawyers face in their day-to-day work, giving them the opportunity to test their products with real-life users to iterate new designs and features quickly.
Three of the selected companies are based in the UK, and the remaining are based in the US, Sweden and Ireland.
Here are the participating MDR LAB 2019 companies:
Based in London, Astroscreen was founded in 2018 to protect brands from harmful social media manipulation campaigns – also known as astroturfing.
Founded in 2016 and based in California, US, Index is a sales engagement platform that helps lawyers generate more business by building and maintaining relationships with new and existing clients
Founded in 2017 and based in Sweden, Donna is an AI-powered assistant for lawyers, that improves the speed and accuracy of legal contract reviews. Available as an easy to download Microsoft Word add-in, Donna is designed to work alongside lawyers to boost productivity and reduce risk. Donna is also training a Neuro-Linguistic Programming engine to power the future digitisation of legal contracts.
Founded in 2017, London-based litigation analytics start-up Solomonic launched its first product at the beginning of 2019. Their offering is centred around a simple premise – the right data, rigorously analysed, enhances the quality of decision-making. Their platform helps lawyers not just to predict outcomes but to improve them.
Courtdesk was founded in 2015. Based in Dublin, Ireland, they are a legal intelligence service who specialise in creating access to previously unavailable court reports and data for corporate and legal analysis. They were also named as the European Legal Start-up of 2017 at the StartUp Europe Awards.
Founded in 2016 and backed by HM Land Registry, Hipla’s Home Buyer Passport is a free to use, evidence based buyer qualification platform that improves transparency and helps make buyers transaction ready. Hipla are also developing a digital ‘Handshake’ – an insurance backed reservation agreement to reduce the number of house sales that fall through.
Mishcon de Reya’s Chief Strategy Officer and Director of MDR LAB, Nick West, said: “Now we’re in the third year of MDR LAB, we continue to focus our efforts on finding early-stage legaltech companies and working with them on their product-market fit. We’re passionate about delving into problems that need solving for the benefit of our clients and our business, rather than simply letting ourselves “fall in love with technology.” We have maintained strong, active relationships with the 11 companies from our previous cohorts, and cannot wait to broaden our MDR LAB portfolio and to welcome this year’s cohort to the firm. We’re also delighted to have added support from Microsoft, AWS and Hubspot to the programme this year, as we strive to give these companies the best chance of succeeding.”
About Mishcon de Reya
Based in London with offices in New York, Mishcon de Reya services an international community of clients and provides advice in situations where the constraints of geography often do not apply. The work it undertakes is cross-border, multi-jurisdictional and complex. The firm fiercely guards its clients’ interests, recognising the significant nexus between business affairs and personal affairs and the ways in which this affects clients. Mishcon de Reya appreciates the privilege of sitting alongside its clients as a trusted advisor. Building strong personal connections to clients and their businesses is important, and it is for these reasons it says: ‘It’s business. But it’s personal’.
About MDR LAB and update on prior LAB cohort
MDR LAB was launched in 2017 to enable Mishcon de Reya to work uniquely and exclusively with early stage technology start-ups in the legal space, including those at concept-stage, to help them prioritise efforts on their product-market fit and find the fastest path to revenue. The LAB also gives them the opportunity to take advantage of a range of benefits, including free cloud credits and on–demand technical support.
This year, the firm will welcome their third MDR LAB cohort. The 2017 cohort comprised Ping, Everchron, SaltDNA, synergist.io, Surukam Analytics and Orbital Witness. The 2018 cohort comprised dealWIP, Digitory Legal, LawPanel, LitiGate and Thirdfort.
To date, the firm has invested in three LAB companies:
Thirdfort, an MDR LAB 2018 participant, connecting home movers with estate agents and lawyers to carry out anti-money laundering checks and securely hold money during property transactions. Over the past year, aside from participating in MDR LAB, Thirdfort has been authorised by the FCA and has been awarded £50,000 from the NEXT GENERATION SERVICES fund and has raised £540k in seed funding, led by Alex Chesterman, Zoopla. In April 2019, Thirdfort launched a ‘Source of Funds’ product which uses Open Banking technology to allow lawyers and their clients to verify the legitimacy of money used to purchase property quickly and reliably;
Ping, an MDR LAB 2017 participant, which automates time recording and is now in use across the firm under a commercial licence. In 2018, PING closed a Seed Round, led by First Round Capital, followed by Initialized, BoxGroup and Ulu Ventures to accelerate its sales and product effort;
Everchron, an MDR LAB 2017 participant, which provides litigation case management software and is now used under a commercial firm-wide licence across the Family, Employment, Private and Litigation departments of the firm.
The firm has also continued to work closely, under commercial agreements, with other LAB companies:
Orbital Witness, a LegalTech startup developing an on-demand service for profiling legal risk in property transactions by combining property data and user-driven analysis, is used across the Real Estate department as a due diligence tool, helping lawyers to spend more of their time providing useful, clear advice to their clients. The company has won over half a million pounds of grant funding for research and product development, including through Innovate UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund aimed at transforming legal services;
SaltDNA, a leader in ultra-secure enterprise comms, is used by Mishcon de Reya across the firm for matters requiring ultra-secure communications;
DealWIP, is a project management software for transactional lawyers and deal professionals which enables deal teams to conduct due diligence faster, more securely and with greater transparency. Mishcon de Reya announced that it was piloting the software in its Real Estate and Corporate practices in April 2019.