London-based Thirdfort, a legaltech startup specialising in identity and source of funds checks for conveyancers, has raised around €1.1 million from a group of high-profile investors including the co-founders of Funding Circle. ThirdFort plans to use the funds to capitalise on increasing demand, after increasing the number of law firms it works with from 100 to 450 in just a few months.
The startup was founded in 2017 by school friends Olly Thornton-Berry and Jack Bidgood, who come from private equity and banking backgrounds. Already frustrated at the antiquated processes of buying a property, the real trigger was that a friend of theirs lost around €28K to a fraudster who posed as a lawyer. “We came across many people who had heard of experiences like that,” Thornton-Berry explained.
Thirdfort is a user-friendly app, whereby users upload photos of their documents, as well as photos and videos of themselves, to verify identity. For money laundering checks, the app uses open banking technology to let the user connect to their online banking and retrieve bank statements. There is also a questionnaire in the app for the user to complete.
The new seed-plus investment round means the company has now raised around €3 million in all. James Meekings and Andy Mullinger (co-founders of Funding Circle), and David Rutter (founder of R3), were among the new investors, with London law firm Mishcon de Reya increasing its original backing for the business.
Managing director Olly Thornton-Berry commented that the team expects to have won 1,000 law firm clients in a year’s time. During lockdown the team grew from 15 to 25 across London and Manchester, and is expected to grow to 35 by the end of the year, demonstrating that for this team the lockdown accelerated change in a way that was “transformational”.
“We’re excited about shaping the industry and helping lawyers compete in a very challenging landscape,” he added. “We want our product to be more than a conveyancing solution. We want it to be a new standard in the legal industry.”