The UK-based prop + legal tech pioneer, Thirdfort, has bagged £400,000 in a pre-seed funding round led by the founder of Zoopla, Alex Chesterman and also Lawyer Checker, a legal anti-fraud specialist.
The funding will be used principally to grow the team to develop the platform ahead of a future product roll-out. Other investors in this funding round include a range of successful entrepreneurs and proptech angel investors, said the company, which previously was part of the MDR Lab incubator and is building a new platform to make property conveyancing safe and easy.
The core of the idea is that Thirdfort becomes an all-in-one platform for property deals, removing the need for lawyers to hold funds, and which handles the deal from start to finish. Parties jump onto the platform to complete the deal, keeping things in one place and hopefully far less likely to suffer from conveyancing fraud.
Thirdfort was founded in September 2017 by Olly Thornton-Berry and Jack Bidgood (pictured above) after a friend was defrauded out of £25,000 whilst buying a flat in London – see profile in Artificial Lawyer here.
Thirdfort is also now an FCA regulated business – a key step in its development as this will allow it to hold client funds rather than them having to be held in escrow by law firms. Their use of the latest ID and KYC checking tech also speeds up the client onboarding process.
The company added that they will do a pilot with Mishcon de Reya before the end of the year and that Thirdfort is in discussions with several other law firms that have expressed interest to trial the initial version ahead of a product release in Q1, 2019.
Thirdfort has also been selected to work with the HM Land Registry in their Geovation Hub, receiving technical support, desk space and £20,000 of grant funding. Thirdfort also continues to work closely with leading mortgage lenders in developing their product.
All in all a great success, and one that promises to really change the world of conveyancing…….if it catches on, which Artificial Lawyer certainly hopes so as the market absolutely needs to change to become more efficient – and safer.
Chris Harris, MD of Lawyer Checker, said: ‘Moving home and conveyancing is one of the most stressful processes someone can go through. The technological revolution means that this should become significantly easier and we are excited to have invested in Thirdfort to improve the process and ultimately reduce risk for homemovers and their lawyers.’
Olly Thornton-Berry, co-founder of Thirdfort, added: ‘Property lawyers are weighed down by onerous and manually intensive processes to verify a client’s identity and source of funds, and then handle their client’s funds. These activities are deeply interlinked and are a cause of significant stress and delay in property exchange, which now takes an average of 16 weeks in the UK.’
Well done, guys!