Linklaters + Deloitte Join £0.5m FinTech Financial Inclusion Project

Global law firm, Linklaters and Big Four firm, Deloitte, are teaming up together along with Green Shores Capital and Crowdcube for a new project to support fintech startups that help to improve financial inclusion.

The Thrive for Fintech project will see £500,000 ($638,000) invested in pre-Series A and Series A Fintech businesses, with Linklaters providing legal advice and Deloitte, via its Propel group, providing accounting services.

However, companies will need to have completed a crowdfunding with Crowdcube to gain the prestigious package of cash and top level advice. They’ll also have to impress a panel of judges from the four businesses (see below).

Green Shores Capital will invest the money in the top three applicants, while Linklaters will focus on helping the winners with legal issues such as company structure, employment and incentives, data and IP.

Deloitte will help with issues such as raising investment and also financial strategy. Winners will also get a free, bespoke online accounting package and customised analytics dashboard.

Now, you might ask: what’s this got to do with legal tech? Well, one key point is that the line between fintech and legal tech is a blurry one, especially when it comes down to financial contracts, e.g. consumer loans. Moreover, we have seen fintech companies joining legal tech incubators/innovation spaces, such as Allen & Overy’s FUSE welcoming in Nivaura.

And finally, anytime a law firm gets involved in cutting edge tech, that experience is not necessarily isolated by sector and can be utilised across the firm, i.e. partners who get involved in fintech can leverage that experience to better engage with legal tech as well.

Also, if you’re wondering if financial ‘inclusion’ is something that needs to be addressed in the UK, then check out this national data provided by 11FS earlier last year. It makes grim reading and it’s clear solutions need to be found:

  • 1 in 5 people (in the UK) can’t understand a bank statement
  • 2 in 5 have only £100 in savings
  • 1 in 6 are experiencing serious consequences as a result of debt
  • 2 million British people don’t have a bank account….(yes, I thought that was incredible as well…)

The UK may technically be an ‘advanced nation’ economically, but clearly when it comes to financial inclusion we have some way to go yet. It also sounds like there may be big opportunities for a fintech version of legal design to play a role here too in terms of making financial documents easier to understand.

Nicola Rabson, a partner at Linklaters, said: ‘We are thrilled to be teaming up with Crowdcube to support this initiative. At Linklaters, we are passionate about engaging with fintech companies and we are excited to be involved in investing in their early stages of development and future growth.’

Luke Lang, co-founder of Crowdcube, commented: ‘The Fintech sector as a whole is making significant strides in tackling the challenge of financial inclusion and capability. We are particularly excited about what this programme can achieve in driving positive change in financial services.’

>>> Thrive for Fintech: Criteria

If you would like to get involved check out the details below. Applicants need to be:

  • Financial inclusion companies (companies that make financial services more accessible)
  • UK Limited Company
  • Post-revenue UK limited businesses
  • Aiming to close investment on Crowdcube prior to March 31st 2019
  • And, give a pitch deck submission and have a screening call with Green Shores Capital

The panel of judges which decide who will win the investment and advice package includes: Crowdcube CEO, Darren Westlake; Global Co-head of Fintech, Linklaters, Finn Griggs; Partner Lead for Propel by Deloitte, Mark Doleman; and Green Shores Capital partner, Arunkumar Krishnakumar.

Check out the link here if you’d like to know more: Thrive.