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FinTech courted with law firm startup funds

Addleshaw Goddard at the start of November became the latest major law firm to launch a programme (in this case a fairly whopping £500,000) to support FinTech growth in the UK. Who’s next?

city-of-london-view-1225398-639x430Addleshaw Goddard at the start of November became the latest major law firm to launch a programme (in this case a fairly whopping £500,000) to support FinTech growth in the UK.

The programme is designed to support FinTech start ups and scale ups over a 12 month period. ‘AG Elevate’, which will launch at an event in London on the 17th November, provides a package of free legal advice alongside a mentoring programme.

An initial cohort of 16 FinTechs will be able to access a legal mentor drawn from AG’s most experienced FinTech lawyers, who will help them position themselves for growth.

Fiona Ghosh, head of AG’s FinTech Group, commented: “We don’t just want to jump on the FinTech bandwagon and entice firms with a bit of free legal advice. We want to be at the heart of helping firms we work with to be a success. FinTechs often come to market quickly and need nimble advisers that they can work collaboratively with, who are responsive, as well as people they can talk to, who can offer guidance and support, rather than just providers of hard edged legal advice.”

The application process and the criteria for selection will be announced at Addleshaw’s launch event on the 17th of November 2016.

That date is also, coincidentally and slightly unfortunately, the date of the launch of Slaughter and May’s £300,000 FinTech startup fund, which was announced on 31 October and will see the elite City firm give free advice and support to up to ten UK-based new and emerging businesses.

The FinTech Fast Forward programme is being led by Slaughter and May’s head of technology and outsourcing Rob Sumroy and financial institutions partner Ben Kingsley in tandem with a panel of leading legal and industry professionals.

Any UK-based start-up or scale-up business operating in FinTech and similar fields, including insurtech, regtech, datatech and blockchain/distributed ledger technology may apply. Each business accepted into the programme will be eligible to receive £30,000 of value add services such as legal advice and guidance from experts at the firm, access to model legal documentation, as well as network access and tailored one-to-one coaching on topics such as pitching, presentations, people management, communications and negotiation.

Further down the track is Simmons & Simmons, which in mid-October announced the names of the first startups to receive free support from its new FinTech Fund, which include blockchain invoicing provider Tallysticks.

The £100,000 fund was launched in May 2016. We’re expecting the next startup fund to hit £1m, who’s in?

This article first appeared in the October/November Legal IT Insider newsletter