Addleshaws chooses seven tech startups to receive free legal advice

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Addleshaw Goddard has selected seven financial technology startups to receive free legal advice from the firm as part of a year-long programme dubbed ‘AG Elevate’.

The scheme, which was launched in November, saw more than 30 companies apply, with seven accepted onto the scheme.

Criteria assessed during the selection process included the type of business, the stage they are at in their evolution, as well as their clarity of ambition, legal needs, business plan and cultural fit with Addleshaws.

The companies selected will received 20 to 40 hours of legal advice, depending on whether they are early-stage startups with less than £1m in funding or more mature companies with more than £1m.

The successful companies are: compliance technology company Comply Advantage; money management service Mobillity; online savings and credit company Moneyfellows; startup banking company Penta; currency conversion payments service Valoot; Pace Invoice, described as “a multi-currency invoicing platform”; and Delio – “a white label platform solution for private assets”.

The seven companies have been assigned mentors from the firm, with partners, legal directors and associates from Addleshaws’ fintech, funds and technology teams taking part.

Key partners include the firm’s head of fintech Fiona Ghosh (pictured above), payments partner William James, head of financial services, Amanda Hulme, corporate finance partner Elvan Hussein and commercial partner Damon Rosamond-Lanzetta.

According to Ghosh, the companies on the programme have so far been most interested in advice around areas such as funding, open banking and data.

Ghosh said the firm has retained contact with some of the unsuccessful candidates, some of which were judged too mature for the mentoring programme, and others that had not yet built a clear enough business case for them to receive the full benefit of the scheme.

She added that although the firm does hope to have ongoing relationships with the startups involved in the scheme, its primary purpose was not to find the next big technology giant in its infancy.

“You don’t know when you are kissing a unicorn,” she said, referring to the term used to describe startup companies valued at more than $1bn.

Ghosh said the scheme was aimed at increasing the firm’s knowledge of the fintech market, to enable it improve its advice to its large financial institution clients interested in the sector, and also to provide increased access to a potential pool of new clients in the fintech space.

“There is a huge amount of experience we have picked up over the last six to 12 months – it has opened doors and broadened our knowledge,” she said, adding: “We have been able to relay that back to our existing client base as well as gain access to a new client culture as well.”

Slaughter and May and Simmons & Simmons have also recently launched similar schemes, with Slaughters selecting five companies to receive free legal advice and Simmons set to hand out £100,000 of free advice to four startups.