Investors back conveyancing network and managed account provider

Salmons: We can connect multiple existing systems to each other

A blockchain network that connects conveyancers with estate agents and mortgage lenders has received a £6m funding boost.

Coadjute, a decentralised system which works by integrating parties’ different software systems, said it would use the money to roll out its network across the UK.

The first property transaction handled by Coadjute, the sale of a four-bedroom bungalow in Kent, went live this summer and completed in nine weeks. It also announced a trial of a crypto-currency to replace the traditional transfer of money between banks and conveyancers.

Coadjute raised £1m in funding in 2019 and £3m last year. The latest round was led by Praetura Ventures, a Manchester-based venture capital firm specialising early-stage, high-growth UK businesses.

Colin Greene, operational partner at Praetura and a former chief executive of Apple Korea, is joining Coadjute’s board as non-executive director.

Funding has also come from the US with existing crypto-focused New York investor Collab + Currency, The LegalTech Fund and Miami-based fintech investor Rocket One Capital.

Dan Salmons, chief executive of Coadjute, said: “Whilst there have been many attempts to improve the property process, at heart the challenge is that the many systems involved are not interoperable.

“Adding yet more platforms, more hubs, more databases just doesn’t solve that. Coadjute have shown we can now connect multiple existing systems to each other, securely, in real-time, and since our first transaction in July the demand has been phenomenal.”

Meanwhile UK-based fintech group SPG, owner of payment processor Shieldpay, has raised £25m in funding, from Mastercard among others.

Shieldpay’s digital escrow facility took the place of conveyancers in the first fully digital mortgage settlement in 2018 and it has since been used by law firms in the fields of mergers and acquisitions, commercial rent deposits, claims management, probate and class actions.

The company has also been active in encouraging law firms to set up third-party managed accounts, although the Solicitors Regulation Authority revealed recently that only 33 firms were currently operating such accounts, around half of the number a year ago.

Peter Janes, founder and chief executive of SPG, said: “Last year we saw particular demand from the legal sector as firms embraced new technologies and ways of working.

“Lawyers no longer want or have the time to take on the administrative and regulatory burden of processing payments internally and running client accounts.”

The company said it worked with “a range of clients, from top 100 law firms and sole practitioners to lenders and technology companies”.

SPG’s latest business, Paycast, is described as “a payment engine for marketplaces, ecommerce and platforms that specialises in facilitating and protecting high-value and time-sensitive transactions”.

SPG said it had “experienced a surge in business during the pandemic” that saw revenues grow by over 360% in the last year.

“The fresh capital into SPG will scale Shieldpay to fully capitalise on the demand in the professional services market, and also fuel Paycast in its early stage of growth in bringing our payments platform to a consumer audience.”

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