Apperio offers a cloud-based software-as-service platform aimed at giving businesses and law firms a better insight into their legal spending.
The firm does this by tracking legal fees directly from law firms' time recording systems.
Apperio was founded in February 2013 by former lawyer Nicholas d'Adhemar and former enterprise sales specialist Sophie Carter, and evolved from a startup known as Legal Tender, which provided a marketplace for legal services, into developing the legal expenditure tracking service.
Apperio has since grown to employ seven people in a shared office in Moorgate, London.
V3 put d'Adhemar under our Startup Spotlight to hear more about his company and the cloud platform.
If you want to take part in the V3 Startup Spotlight contact Roland Moore-Colyer.
Previous startups under the spotlight have ranged from fintech firm Ormsby Street, and cloud-based background checking service Onfido, to gaming social platform gamesGRABR and London restaurant discovery app firm Uncover.
Why did you develop Apperio?
Having worked as a lawyer and on the client side, I experienced some of the frustrations first hand that come from antiquated technology and what has been perceived as a traditionally opaque industry.
The industry was ripe for technology disruption. You wouldn't believe how much time, energy and money is lost between companies and their law firms not communicating.
Law firms write off millions of pounds every year due to poor communication, and in-house legal teams are unable to budget effectively and regularly with bills that exceed the original quotes.
Tell us how you got Apperio off the ground.
I spent a long time building the idea and talking to customers, and eventually quit the day job in February 2013 to focus full time on the business. The first step was to raise a small friends and family round of funding that enabled me to build a minimum viable product.
We then got our first customers and first law firms on the platform. But it was Seedcamp (a London-based startup accelerator) that really cemented us into the startup ecosystem and provided us with a strong network.
What technology do you use?
A mixture of MacBooks, Lenovo and iPhones. On the service side we use Slack for team collaboration, Pipedrive for customer relationship management, Xero for accounting and Amazon Web Services for hosting. Apperio, the product, is a cloud platform built on Python and Django.
Are you based in an incubator or startup centre?
Not anymore, but we spent a year working from Seedcamp's offices at Google Campus.
What level of funding have you received so far?
So far it's been angel funding to the tune of £550,000. Our investors include Jan Reichelt, founder of Mendeley, Andy Phillips, chairman of Reevoo and founder of Active Hotels, and Stephen Chandler, managing director at Notion Capital.
What challenges have you encountered to date?
The initial challenge was building a technology service in a conservative industry that is notoriously resistant to change.
In order to overcome this we have been very transparent with them about what we are building and we have spent considerable time designing and building a product that even the most technophobic people can understand.
What's been the biggest highlight of your business to date?
Within a few months of launching the platform, we signed Octopus Investments as one of our early adopters.
But really for us the main highlight has been seeing the rapid take up of our product. It's been available for less than a year and we are growing at 80 percent month on month. We've formed partnerships with 17 of the 100 top UK law firms, and we've already monitored over £8m in legal fees through the platform.
What does your company do to relax or have fun after a busy day?
Take advantage of the free WeWork beer or pop out to a local pub.
What did you do before starting Apperio?
I spent six years as a lawyer at CMS Cameron McKenna LLP and, after completing an MBA at INSEAD, went on to work in private equity for two years as an investment manager.
What are your favourite and worst things about running your own startup?
For me, best of all is knowing that the work I now do makes a material difference to driving the business forward and that the product we have developed is one that our customers truly need and actively use. Equally, I enjoy finding creative and clever ways to maximise our limited resources.
The worst, and I guess this is the same for all founders of rapidly growing startups, is not having an off switch. There is always something that is important and that needs to be done and at this stage it is very hard to let go.
Do you work remotely, in a shared environment or have your own office space?
We have our own office but are located in a building with a number of other startups, so there is a good network and atmosphere.
Smart or casual?
Smarter than most startups but more casual than most lawyers.
Coffee shop of choice?
Beverage of choice?
A nice chilled glass of sauvignon blanc.
BikeBays. It helps locate scooter parking across London when running to and from meetings.
Do you benefit from startup communities and related networking?
The Seedcamp network provides fantastic access to mentors and a wide range of complementary support mechanisms, while the WeWork community keeps us close to a raft of other startups in our own office, across London and in the US.
Could the government and technology industry do more to support UK startups?
The government has done a great job with SEIS/EIS incentives that have helped many early stage startups get funding that they might not otherwise have had.
There is a gap, though, between early seed rounds of funding and the traditional Series A led by a venture capitalist in the £500,000 to £1m range.
Tax breaks on National Insurance or other employee related costs would be very welcome as they would enable our money to go further and to hire more people. In other words, it would help us get to where we want to go faster.
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