Programme:Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund
Summize, the developer and provider of intelligent software for the legal sector, bolstered team growth, product development and cross-border expansion plans as a result of a £500,000 investment from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, with additional capital from tech investor Charles Sharland.
The Manchester-based firm has created a platform, driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, to meet customer demand for digital transformation in the legal sector.
The software gives legal teams the ability to upload multiple contracts and summarise their key points instantly in an easy-to-read summary. It also has a function for users to build bespoke clauses, making contract reviews more flexible and applicable to each legal team’s needs. The platform has been created to automate a previously time-intensive manual process, saving those operating in the legal space both time and money.
Summize’s innovative platform supports both in-house and private practice legal teams, focusing primarily on the corporate, commercial, employment and intellectual property departments. It is also suitable for corporate organisations with no legal function.
NPIF – Maven Equity Finance, managed by Maven Capital Partners and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund invested in Summize in 2019.
The impact on the company has been two-fold – firstly increasing staffing by taking the team from two co-founders to 13 employees. Two of these hires included a Chief Technology Officer and a Head of Strategy, with additional recruits to the technical, sales and marketing functions.
The capital has also allowed the company to develop its prototype and bring the platform to market 10 months ahead of schedule, by building its technical infrastructure and investing in more technology. AI and machine learning are now built into the functionality of the product, meaning contract summaries can be created more quickly and efficiently, eliminating the risk of human error.
Summize has short-term plans in place for the next six to nine months to scale its UK customer base and take its headcount to 20. Its two-year plan is to expand into the US and more than triple its headcount to 50 plus employees.
Backed by a highly skilled management team, CEO and co-founder Tom Dunlop is an experienced commercial and technology lawyer, having previously held a position as global legal director for UX insights company UserZoom. He is supported by CDO and co-founder Dave Smith and CTO Richard Somerfield, who previously worked at AppSense as Senior Software Engineer and Principal Software Engineer respectively.
Tom Dunlop, founder and CEO of Summize, said: “We have a truly unique tech product that is set to transform the legal industry, so it has been excellent to have had the support from NPIF and Maven to recruit the expertise we need to bring the product to market quicker. It is already generating a buzz within the legal tech space, so the Summize platform is well-equipped for a busy 2020, with a new team and more software features. We are excited to see where it takes us!”
Grant Peggie, Director at the British Business Bank, said: “NPIF is all about helping businesses like Summize to help commercialise a prototype into a commercial product, but also to recruit the team they need to bring it to market. This investment demonstrates how this funding can make a real and measurable difference to growing innovative businesses across the Northern Powerhouse region, which helps create a more prosperous regional economy.”
Jeremy Thompson, Investment Director of Maven, said: “Summize has developed a platform with a large addressable market set to grow further as more businesses digitise their processes. The team is highly experienced with a range of knowledge across technology and legal sectors. We look forward to working with Tom and the team as they enhance the software and expand customer reach in the UK and overseas.”
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union, using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.
Maven Capital Partners UK LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Firm Reference Number 495929
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