After a pandemic-driven pause earlier this year, Mishcon de Reya’s MDR LAB is back with three programmes rather than just one. They will also work in collaboration with accelerator group Founders Factory. The multiple streams of activity will allow the firm to invest more in startups, work more with founders who are still at the ideation phase, and be much more flexible around bringing legal tech companies into the firm, rather than just once a year.
Overall the new triple format will operate like this:
Launch: For early stage business ideas.
Through the collaboration with Founders Factory, they will walk entrepreneurs through a venture building curriculum. MDR LAB will help validate the idea and business model, and provide pre-seed funding so that the founders can focus on what really matters: building a great product.
Improve: For existing businesses wanting to improve and develop their product. It will be activated at anytime during the year.
Most similar to the previous LAB offering, this 12-week programme will give entrepreneurs the opportunity to work within their target market, to pilot and improve products, to gain a better understanding of how legal services are provided, and to understand where lawyers – and their clients – would benefit from new technologies.
Sell: For businesses looking to build revenue and sell direct to Mishcon after a tailored software testing inside the firm.
This two-week programme provides a structured approach to corporate/start-up engagement. This programme is problem/opportunity led and is designed for companies that are product-ready, with traction in the market.
Dan Sinclair, Head of MDR LAB, told Artificial Lawyer that the Launch stream would also be open to staff at Mishcon and would allow them to explore ideas without having to leave the firm. The firm will also pay a stipend for the first couple of months to founders who join the launch stream to help them to focus on the business idea.
With regard to the Improve stream – which is basically the previous MDR LAB but operating on a continuous and ‘as needed’ basis – Sinclair said they wanted to attract a wide range of companies and allow them to slot into the firm whenever works for all involved. They will also work with more developed companies and scale-ups, not just early stage startups.
The Sell stream is where MDR LAB will find users inside the firm who may want to try out a new piece of legal tech. The group will ring fence data and help the lawyers to test it out with a focus on the firm coming to a decision in a few weeks on whether to purchase it. This should help companies to know if they’ve got a deal or not fairly rapidly, and also help Mishcon to reduce the time to purchase for software it actually wants.
All well and good, but why do this?
Sinclair said: ‘We want to make sure we maintain our innovation pipeline and we want to support entrepreneurialism. We also want to empower people to launch a legal tech business.’
Nick Le Fevre, Head of Business Development, Founders Factory, added: ‘We’re excited to be working together with the great team at the MDR LAB to pool our expertise and to help the next generation of LawTech founders build for a better future.’
All in all good news for the legal tech community. MDR LAB has seen several well-known startups pass through its gates and go onto to be great successes, such as Ping and ThirdFort, to name a couple.
With the pandemic slowing things down some had feared MDR LAB was no more, but as seen above, they’ve in fact expanded their aims significantly. Artificial Lawyer looks forward to seeing what comes out of the three streams.
Applications for all stages are open now – click here to find more details.
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