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Acceleration: Mishcon de Reya aims to bring ‘propositions to life’ in second MDR LAB cohort

Mishcon de Reya has announced the second cohort of companies joining the firm’s incubation programme in London in the latest of a string of moves in the legal tech space.

The five new companies range from concept-stage to revenue generating, and will join the firm’s technology incubator programme over a 10-week period from today (8 May). ThirdFort, DealWIP, LitiGate, Digitory Legal and LawPanel were all selected following a pitch day at the firm’s London headquarters on 21 March, where a total of 16 companies presented their products and ideas.

ThirdFort was founded in September last year and is a property transaction product at the development stage; DealWIP was founded last June and has a user-stage product providing a platform for transactional lawyers; LitiGate is an AI tool for dispute resolution; Digitory Legal is a pricing prediction and management tool for litigators founded in 2016; and LawPanel, also founded in 2016, is an online trademark management platform.

Two of the companies are based in the UK, two in the US and one in Israel. The second cohort reflects a commitment to early stage start-ups, with lower-profile names making up the group.

MDR’s Chief Technology Officer and Direct of MDR LAB Nick West (pictured) commented: ‘The first year of MDR LAB really exceeded our expectations – as our ongoing relationships and investments in the 2017 cohort illustrate. We genuinely enjoy working with these early stage legal tech start-ups to help them bring their propositions to life.’

West told Legal Business the LAB’s focus was on early stage companies: ‘We want to go with companies right at the start of their journey. We go and get hold of interesting, early-stage technology and we will help them create a product we want to use.’

He added: ‘We’re always looking for a company trying to solve a real problem, and we recognise the pain points they want to solve. We want people with an interesting story and a good team that can work with us, and that’s what these companies have.’

The move follows banking giant Barclays announcing a legal tech iteration of its Eagle Labs initiative, while Allen & Overy revealed a shift in emphasis with a list featuring more well-established start-ups in its second cohort last month.

MRD LAB’s 10-week programme offers a more intensive approach to rival incubators as participants gain close proximity to the law firm’s experts and clients. MDR LAB was first launched in 2017, with Everchron, Orbital Witness, PING SaltDNA, Surukam analytics and making up the round. MDR has since invested six-figure sums in Ping and Everchron.

‘We’ve found this collaborative approach has accelerated the development of some incredible products and we’re proud of what all of the 2017 cohort have achieved’ West added.