Lawtech start-up incubator closes 2018 pitch round with applications up

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19 February 2018

West: smart contracts focus of interest

Applications were up in the latest round of an accelerator programme for lawtech start-ups run by a London law firm, with smart contracts among technologies of particular interest, it has emerged.

Mishcon de Reya’s MDR Lab incubator, jointly with tech investor L Marks, invited applications from start-ups for the chance to pitch for a place on its 10-week programme later in the year.

Successful pitches will lead to a chance for six companies “at concept through to revenue-generating stage” to work with the firm’s lawyers and business advisers.

Nick West, Mishcon’s chief strategy officer, told Legal Futures this week that the success of last year’s programme had encouraged applications this year.

He continued: “We are looking for start-ups that are directly appropriate to our business and can have an impact on the way Mishcon de Reya works.

“There are particular technologies we are interested in – document automation, smart contracts, early case assessment tools amongst others – and so focus our scouting accordingly, and definitely have some interesting applications already.”

He reported the firm had kept contact with participants in the 2017 programme: “We have continued to develop relationships with all of the 2017 participating companies.”

In November, Mishcon announced it had invested in two start-ups that took part in last year’s programme – collaborative litigation management software developer, Everchron, and automated timekeeping and data analysis software company, Ping.

MDR Lab has also recently put together an international advisory board, comprising legal technologists, investors, senior law firm innovation chiefs, and academics.

They include Noah Weisberg, co-founder and CEO of technology company Kira Systems; Liam Brown, founder and executive chairman of US ‘law company’ Elevate – which recently began working with south-east law firm asb law; and occasional Legal Futures contributor Ken Grady, former head of pioneering US law firm offshoot SeyfarthLean Consulting.

It said: “[They] will enable us to know more about what’s happening on the ground in some key tech hubs, and better understand how to attract the most innovative companies to come and work with us.”


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