Thirdfort secures £1.5 million Series A investment from high profile investors including Alex Chesterman

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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

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Safiya Marzook

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