Slaughter and May expands scope of its technology entrepreneurs programme

Leading law firm Slaughter and May has today opened its technology entrepreneurs programme, Fast Forward, for a third round of applications and announced that the scheme has this time been expanded to include a broader range of emerging technology businesses.

Fast Forward is the firm’s legal incubation programme, supporting the work of early and growth-phase technology businesses. Each business accepted into the programme receives £30,000 of value add legal and related support services.

The first two cohorts of the programme, originally named Fintech Fast Forward, focussed on UK-based start-up and high growth companies operating in the fintech sector, including paymentstech, insurtech, regtech, data analytics and AI. Under its new name, Fast Forward, the programme will be expanded to cover young companies operating in a diverse range of emerging technology sectors including IOT, cryptography, cyber, robotics, machine learning and DLT, as well as fintech.

The firm hopes to include one or more businesses with a sustainability or greentech focus in its third cohort and particularly encourages businesses with strong environmental credentials to apply. The application round for this third cohort closes on 22 November.

Ben Kingsley, partner at Slaughter and May, said: “The main aim of our programme is to support some fantastic young businesses by giving access to the first class legal support that our firm can provide; but it also helps us to gain knowledge and experience that we can use to better our offering to all our clients. Emerging technologies are touching clients across all sectors and so opening up Fast Forward outside the fintech space is a totally logical step at this point.”

“Since we launched the programme in 2016 we have had the enjoyable opportunity to work with some really brilliant and motivated people through the programme. The expansion of Fast Forward beyond fintech is a natural evolution which reflects both the evolving interest in cutting edge tech among our diverse client base, and the thriving demand for high quality legal support in the UK tech sector” added Rob Sumroy, partner at Slaughter and May.

James Blackham, Founder and CEO of By Miles, a member of the first Fast Forward cohort and winner of the Fast Forward Demo Day, said: “We have hugely enjoyed and benefitted from our time in Slaughter and May’s Fast Forward programme. They have really understood our needs and have helped us with many of the key legal challenges we’ve faced. I would recommend the Fast Forward programme to any ambitious start-up.”