THIRDFORT SECURES £1.5M TO RAMP UP PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
Leading digital entrepreneur Alex Chesterman among high profile names to have reinvested
Funding will support expansion in the legal and property sectors for the digital ID and anti money-laundering startup
Digital onboarding platform Thirdfort has secured £1.5m in its latest fund raising, as the Anti Money-Laundering (AML) and Know Your Client (KYC) specialist looks to ramp up product development and support its continued expansion in the legal and property markets. The ‘growth’ funding round was raised solely from existing investors, with the funds doubled via a convertible loan from the Government, as part of its Future Fund programme.
This latest round marks the third investment from Alex Chesterman OBE (founder of Cazoo, Zoopla and LoveFilm), regarded as one of Britain’s most successful serial digital entrepreneurs, as well as further backing from the likes of law firm Mishcon de Reya, Chris Marks (former CEO of Natwest Markets) and David Rutter (founder of R3), among others. It brings the company’s total funds raised to £4.2 million and will support product development and innovation, particularly in light of HM Land Registry’s recently introduced Digital ID Standard which, alongside other Government initiatives, is expected to drive the use of digital ID within conveyancing.
FCA regulated Thirdfort is a web and mobile app that combines Open Banking, document scanning and facial recognition technology, to streamline identity and source of funds checks carried out during legal and property transactions. Thirdfort lets lawyers and property professionals onboard their clients quickly, securely and entirely remotely.
The startup has grown rapidly over the past year, off the back of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent acceleration of law firm digitisation. Thirdfort’s tech is now used to remotely ‘onboard’ over 30,000 clients each month – a ten-fold increase on pre-pandemic numbers – on behalf of more than 500 law firms and property businesses. Between January 2020 and February 2021, the team’s headcount grew from 12 to 54, and the business is forecasting a further 65% increase by the end of this year, alongside sustainable profitability.
Off the back of its latest funding round, Thirdfort will ramp up investment in product development and innovation, building upon its proposition to become a one-stop solution for law firm KYC and AML compliance, in addition to expanding further into the property transaction arena, with a focus on estate agents, brokers and lenders who duplicate much of the lawyers’ KYC and AML.
Olly Thornton-Berry, co-founder and Managing Director:
“We’re using cutting edge technology to help lawyers and property professionals minimise fraud risk, whilst improving the client experience during life’s big moments. These tools have the backing of regulators, Government bodies and a growing number of firms, and our objective is for Thirdfort to become the new standard in legal security, as well as expanding into adjacent markets such as the estate agent and mortgage space. That means building better products and doing so faster than ever, and we’re delighted that some of the UK’s leading angel investors support this strategy.”
Alex Chesterman OBE, founder of Cazoo, Zoopla and LoveFilm:
“My passion in business is for solving problems, and the team at Thirdfort has developed a product that tackles an issue affecting hundreds of thousands of us each year – the cumbersome process of buying and selling homes. This hasn’t changed for decades and is ripe for transformation, particularly around the compliance aspects that affect not just consumers and their lawyers, but also agents, brokers and lenders. We also see huge scope to develop what the platform can offer to the wider legal profession, and I’m delighted to support the team as they continue to grow from strength to strength.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
o Thirdfort was founded by schoolfriends Olly Thornton-Berry and Jack Bidgood after a friend was defrauded out of £25,000 whilst buying a flat in London. With a strong desire to make home buying easier and rebuild trust between lawyers and clients, Thirdfort won a place on Mishcon de Reya’s prestigious MDR LAB programme. They worked closely with MDR’s top lawyers and advisors to understand the legal and conveyancing processes, identify the issues and build out Thirdfort’s proposition.
o Lawyers and property professionals initiate a check and monitor progress via a web app. Users carry out their onboarding checks via a mobile app.
o ID check: the user takes a photo of their identity document, a selfie and a short video. ID scanning and facial recognition technology authenticates the ID document and matches the person in the selfie/video to that document.
o Source of funds: for transactions involving large sums of money, lawyers must investigate where that money comes from to combat money laundering. This usually involves collecting bank statements and the client filling out a paper questionnaire. Thirdfort uses Open Banking technology to let the user securely connect to their online banking and retrieve digital bank statements. Thirdfort has also built a questionnaire into the app for the user to complete.
o Thirdfort is the only company in the legal space to combine an ID AND source of funds product to offer best in class AML.
o Alex Chesterman voted Thirdfort his startup of the year in the Times in Dec-19