Prop tech startup Thirdfort has raised a seed round of £700,000 ($855,000) led by Mishcon de Reya and a personal investment from Chris Marks, CEO of NatWest Markets, with support from all existing investors including Alex Chesterman and Lawyer Checker. This is the second investment that Mishcon has made in the company, following an earlier round in November 2018.
It brings the company’s total investment raised to £1.3 million and will be used to accelerate product development and grow its team. They were previously part of the MDR Lab’s 2nd cohort.
Artificial Lawyer has been following the team since the start. Its platform has a web and mobile app which combines document scanning and facial recognition technology with Open Banking to streamline identity and source of funds checks carried out by lawyers in property transactions.
Thirdfort said since it launched its product to the conveyancing market, it has been achieving well over 1,000 app downloads per month, grown its team to 11 permanent employees and partnered with mortgage brokers, Altura Finance Limited and The Mortgage Brain.
When the startup initially launched, a key part of its offering was planned to include its own escrow account service. This was to help buyers avoid losing money due to fraudsters targeting unwary law firms’ escrow accounts that were handling large sums of money for property purchases. Some law firms however like to offer this escrow service for clients, despite the risks, as it can provide a small, but notable stream of income from bank interest payments.
A spokesperson for Mishcon said Thirdfort still has this capability, but the ‘ID and Source of Funds part seemed to be a far greater and more immediate challenge. So that is the focus for now’.
Thirdfort’s MD and Co-founder, Olly Thornton-Berry (pictured above left with co-founder Jack Bidgood on right ), said: ‘With this new funding, we can scale Thirdfort to relieve more conveyancers of this burden by helping them onboard clients in minutes not weeks. This funding will also help us expand into the mortgage broking market in which the same ID and source of funds checks are just as manual and yet duplicated. We recently took our first step having partnered with Altura Financial Services and The Mortgage Brain.’
Nick West, Chief Strategy Officer at Mishcon de Reya added: ‘Over the past year, Olly, Jack and the team have built a fantastic product that is transforming client onboarding – enabling law firms to offer their clients a modern, streamlined, tech-enabled experience. Thirdfort’s commercial success over the past 6 months is a testament to how hard they’ve worked with all market participants – consumers, law firms, regulators, mortgage brokers and banks – to deliver something that works for everyone.’