Three startups join MDR Lab’s summer programme

Mishcon de Reya today (1 June) announces the addition of three early-stage startups to its product-focused MDR Lab programme. Over the coming 12 weeks, the companies will get the opportunity to work closely with lawyers and other stakeholders across the UK top 50 law firm’s finance, residential property, and dispute resolution teams. Those are by design the teams most isolated from the flux surrounding Mishcon’s very recent merger with Taylor Vinters.

The three companies joining the latest cohort are: 

  1. Ayora a CFO toolkit that leverages advanced data analytics and AI to drive better outcomes across cash and working capital management. 
  1. Martello – a digital platform that is building the first live property search database to help speed up the home buying process. 
  1. ApprentAI – GenAI document review platform which helps litigators find insights within their cases.  

Head of MDR Lab, Dan Sinclair told Legal IT Insider: “We normally put out focus areas or problems and scout against them but historically haven’t had thematic programmes – the startups work with different teams across Mishcon. We had to be careful this time because there is so much flux post-merger with Taylor Vinters. We’re bringing two sets of people and systems together and it may not be the right time for some to be bringing in emerging technology. We wanted to avoid brain overload for lawyers in the process of integration and picked teams that are reasonably isolated.” 

Mishcon will engage Ayora across its finance and business operations teams and will also be engaging fee-earners to validate how, and if, it works as they hope. Sinclair said: “Anyone that has worked in professional services will know that cash is king and that reducing lock-up can be a tremendous source of value for an organisation. We look forward to working with Ayora to get a more granular understanding of our lock-up data and cash-conversion-cycles across different parts of the firm.”

MDR Lab, which runs two programmes a year, typically works with very early-stage companies, and Sinclair said: “We like working with companies that are early stage – we very much like to roll our sleeves up and work with the product to help them find the right solution and product fit.” 

Martello, Sinclair says, are “redefining the conveyancing process,” and he told us: “As part of the conveyancing process, your solicitor would have to send off searches on your target property, so for example, is it near a river, and what is the flood risk? Those reports sit with local authorities or other governing bodies, and it takes ages to get the search results back, which is one contributing factor as to why the process is so slow. You can’t move forward until you get the searches back.  

“At the moment it’s all manually done, but Martello is building a smart indexing service that will compress the time it takes to get the search data, which it will have live and ready in an automated fashion in a way that plugs into the conveyancer’s workflow.”

Mishcon habitually looks for the missing pieces in the legal process and one of their earliest MDR startups was Thirdfort, which very recently announced that it has hit a one million user milestone since launching four years ago. Mischon is an investor in Thirdfort. Other companies at the intersection of law and property that have been part of the Lab include Orbital Witness, Get Least, as well as the HMLR Digital Street project.

ApprentAI, meanwhile, sits in the generative AI space and helps litigators find insights within their cases, but Sinclair says it “is not tethered around large language models.” He told us: “ApprentAI are taking an algorithmic approach that we thought was neat.” The onramp for data can be from the document management system through to an eDiscovery platform, where ApprentAI will help to cluster and classify the data. Sinclair said: “It can do company individuals identification; work out who is involved and to what degree; and it can see how funds flow and apply different lenses such as what is happening and who is involved. They say they can surface evidence directly linked to the legal issue, so for example you might need an anti-cartel tool and it will surface supporting evidence. We’re testing to see if it does. We’ve not used it on any live evidence yet, but we’ll find a secure case and hope to build some momentum around it.” 

Mishcon has signed commercial agreements with nine MDR Lab companies, and invested in four of the businesses: Time by PingEverchronThirdfort ,and DraftWise. 

In the startup cohort announced in June last year included Version Story, which announced in December that it had signed Mishcon up as a client.  

Find out more about MDR Lab here and learn about its programmes here.