Law firm and top entrepreneur ramp up Thirdfort backing

Chesterman: Thirdfort tackles an issue affecting hundreds of thousands each year

Digital onboarding platform Thirdfort has secured £1.5m in its latest fundraising, with further backing from Zoopla entrepreneur Alex Chesterman and London law firm Mishcon de Reya.

The anti-money-laundering (AML) and ‘know your client’ (KYC) specialist said the ‘growth’ funding round was raised solely from existing investors, with the funds doubled via a convertible loan from the government, as part of its Future Fund programme.

It has now raised £4.2m in total, with Mr Chesterman, the serial digital entrepreneur who also founded Cazoo and LoveFilm, investing for a third time.

Thirdfort only raised £1m last August, with Mishcon de Reya increasing its original £100,000 backing for the business, which was a member of its MDR LAB legal tech accelerator in 2018.

Other investors topping up their backing this time round included Chris Marks, the former chief executive of Natwest Markets, and David Rutter, the founder of R3.

The company said the cash would support product development and innovation, “particularly in light of HM Land Registry’s recently introduced Digital ID Standard which, alongside other government initiatives, is expected to drive the use of digital ID within conveyancing”.

Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Thirdfort combines Open Banking, document scanning and facial recognition technology, to streamline identity and source of funds checks.

With its growth accelerated by the pandemic, Thirdfort’s technology is now used to ‘onboard’ over 30,000 clients each month – a 10-fold increase on pre-pandemic numbers – on behalf of more than 500 law firms and property businesses.

Between January 2020 and February 2021, the team’s headcount grew from 12 to 54, and the business is forecasting a further 65% increase by the end of this year, alongside sustainable profitability.

In addition to its ambition to become the “one-stop solution for law firm KYC and AML compliance”, the company is also pushing into other parts of the property transaction, such as estate agents, brokers and lenders who duplicate much of the lawyers’ KYC and AML.

Olly Thornton-Berry, co-founder and managing director, said: “Our objective is for Thirdfort to become the new standard in legal security, as well as expanding into adjacent markets such as the estate agent and mortgage space.”

Mr Chesterman said: “My passion in business is for solving problems, and the team at Thirdfort has developed a product that tackles an issue affecting hundreds of thousands of us each year – the cumbersome process of buying and selling homes.

“This hasn’t changed for decades and is ripe for transformation, particularly around the compliance aspects that affect not just consumers and their lawyers, but also agents, brokers and lenders. We also see huge scope to develop what the platform can offer to the wider legal profession.”

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