A Manchester solicitor who has developed an app to help law firms communicate more effectively with clients has closed a £344,000 investment round backed by NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, as well as existing and new angel investors.
Lauren Riley, a former BBC The Apprentice star, founded The Link App in 2014 after working in a law firm and becoming frustrated at outdated working practices, including having to send sensitive documents by email and post. The latest funding round brings the total invested into the business to over £500,000.
The Link App provides a secure and paperless way for firms to communicate with clients via an app or web portal. Lawyers can send updates and forms directly to the client’s smartphone, while the client can fill them in and submit signatures instantly using the mobile app. It also allows clients to stay up-to-date with the progress of their case while saving lawyers’ time. The Link App can be used by itself or integrated with existing case management systems.
The Link App was recommended as a secure alternative to email in a book published by The Law Society and also has the backing of Sir Nigel Knowles, the former global Co-Chair of DLA Piper and now Chair of DWF, who is an investor and Chairman of the business. The company was selected as one of the top five UK firms in the 2018 KPMG Best British Startup programme.
The investment will allow Lauren to expand the team and add further features to the system, including the ability to provide clients with milestones to monitor the progress of their case and upload documents, including their ID, directly from their mobile phone.
Lauren Riley, CEO of the business, said: “This latest round of investment will allow The Link App to expand our talented team and innovative product. The backing of Mercia and other experienced investors is recognition of our progress to date and we are all excited about the innovation on the horizon.”
Will Clark, Fund Principal at Mercia Fund Managers, added: “Lauren has found a way to apply emerging communications technology to the legal sector to improve the information flow with its clients. The Link App has been commended by professionals at the highest level in the industry. This funding will allow her to further develop the product and establish a firm foothold in the fast-growing legal technology market.”
Grant Peggie, Director at British Business Bank, said: “It is great to see that NPIF is supporting innovation in the professional services sector. Going ‘paperless’ is an example of this, and it is a growing trend we’re seeing in the corporate space. The Link App is supporting this, and as well as reducing the amount of waste paper corporates use, it also provides its clients with a platform in which sensitive information cannot be accessed or stolen.“
Caroline Walker and Gareth Saynor of CMS provided legal advice to Mercia while Jensons Solutions provided fundraising advice to the business.
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.