How is your company disrupting a part of the economy?
SeedLegals launched in the UK. However, in the same way that Transferwise brings you borderless banking, imagine borderless legals. Imagine being able to invest in a French company; you don’t speak French, but you can see all the deal terms normalised in the same interface along with with your UK investments, your Irish investments, and other investments.
It’s going to change everything in the way that people are able to raise investment from foreign investors and invest in other countries, including even getting SEIS and EIS in foreign countries. So, we launched in the UK before launching in France and Ireland with other countries in Europe and beyond to follow.
Why did you feel that London was a good place to disrupt your industry?
SeedLegals is based in Holborn in the heart of the legal district in London, which is ironic and coincidental. But, London is the beating heart of startups in the UK.
The UK legal system is fantastic and it’s a world-leader. Wonderfully – between companies house, HMRC tax incentives for investors and for founders, and the UK legal system that allows legal innovation such as provided by Seedlegals to flourish – we found ourselves and the UK and London at the Nexus of what is possible to disrupt an existing industry. But of course, disrupting the industry is never a goal. The goal is to provide a fantastic new solution to companies who have a pain point, and that is what we do. And the UK is a great place to be for that.
What does your company do?
We connect retail investors to listed companies raising capital. Retail investors are a vital constituent of the stock market and represent ~20% of public equity ownership in the UK, yet they are unable to access equity offerings conducted by listed companies.
Indeed, public companies want to access retail for better deal outcomes, improved trading liquidity and to maintain best-in-class governance standards.
Unfortunately, investment banks cannot access retail investors on a deal because it is fragmented, deals are time-sensitive and there is an administrative burden.
Why did you choose to base your company in London?
Several reasons. First, its strong regulation culture and rule of law makes it very exportable. Also, there are Innovation initiatives like the FCA Sandbox which has allowed fintech companies to innovate safely and thoughtfully in a highly regulated environment.
Added to that, there are major initiatives such as Tech Nation which are helping bring fintech to new markets, and there is a fantastic talent pool of financial and technical people. Finally, there is a huge market to launch a product in here.
What problem is your business solving/addressing?
Over the last 15 years, unprecedented flooding, hurricanes and heat waves have caused mass-scale destruction both for cities and rural areas. Climatic and extreme weather events are increasing in frequency and severity—fuelling costs for economies and ecosystems.
Climate volatility is a macro problem. But if we want a fighting chance to mitigate the impact of the changing climate, accountability needs to be broken down to each business, policymaker, producer and farmer. But most organisations don’t understand the personal exposure, impact and cost that climate presents to them. That’s the issue we’re tackling. Being located in an attractive place to work—the UK tech hub—is vital in maintaining the high standard of mission-led employees we attract.
Why did you choose to base your company in your place or region?
Cervest is based in Old Street, the heart of London’s Tech City. This is home to some of the most innovative, forward-thinking and exciting companies in the world — so it was a natural fit. The area has benefited from the support of tech giants such as Google and Facebook, but there are also numerous academic partners with companies in the area too. Imperial College is one of those and is of great importance to Cervest.
Currently, we have thirteen nationalities working at Cervest. And it is important that we continue to build our multicultural team. We’re proud to have world-leading statistical, climate and machine learning scientists from universities including, Cambridge, Harvard and The Alan Turing Institute form our team.