Solicitor entrepreneur Lauren Riley has described how she has met venture capitalists and tech companies interested in her legal app after appearing in the BBC1 show The Apprentice.
The family law specialist said the companies involved ranged from venture capitalists with investments in law firms to ‘angel’ investors which specialised in funding start-ups.
“I was able to showcase myself on The Apprentice, and the feedback I received on how I conducted myself was very favourable,” Ms Riley told Legal Futures. “The level of response has been fantastic. I’m overwhelmed, but securing investment is a time-consuming process and I want to get it right.”
Ms Riley, who was fired by Lord Sugar last month after Week Seven’s advertising task in New York, said she even managed to plug The Link App during the accompanying ‘You’re Fired’ programme on BBC2.
The app is designed to enable law firms to update clients on cases quickly, using a pre-populated list of standard case updates, or tailoring messages to suit individual needs.
Clients are given a log-in which allows them to check the progress of their case, or, if they want to talk to their lawyer, they can request a call-back. The aim is to clients updated without the need for back and forth communication, freeing up lawyers’ time.
Ms Riley said she worked on a freelance basis for Labrums Solicitors in St Albans to allow herself time to develop her website, www.thelinkapp.co.uk. She said she has had to invest her own money into developing the product, and buying in tech support.
“It’s been difficult, but now investors can see it’s not just an idea, but a real product which is very appealing. I’ve put blood, sweat and tears into it, but now I’m in a strong position.”
Ms Riley said she had made applications to be listed on Apple’s App Store and Google Play, and hoped to get these approved before Christmas. The next step is for law firms to buy it and make it available it to their clients.
“I had always planned to be an actress or a barrister,” Ms Riley said. “Growing up, I chose to be a solicitor because of the client contact. The idea had always appealed to me of helping people and making a difference.”
Ms Riley studied law at Lancaster University before joining Enterprise car hire as a graduate trainee and qualifying as a management assistant. While working, she saved money to fund her LPC course.
“Law firms are businesses, and a lot of the time they are struggling. I am very fortunate to have had that experience at Enterprise and it helped me get a training contract.”
Ms Riley added that she hoped to secure external investment in the “near future” in The Link App and had “many exciting plans on where we can take it”.