International law firm CMS is pleased to announce that CMS equIP – the firm’s award-winning tech startup programme – has hit an exciting new milestone. This week, CMS equIP welcomed female-founded Evrelab to the programme, bringing equIP’s London membership to 100 for the first time. This takes equIP’s UK membership up to 112, including businesses across London, North East England and Scotland.
Co-founded in London in 2015 by CMS partners Anthony Waller and Sarah Wright, CMS equIP is the only international programme driven by a law firm that is focused on the development and nurturing of tech start-ups worldwide. It is designed to give scale-ups and entrepreneurs the tools they need to grow and succeed, offering members access to mentoring, training and industry introductions as well as discounted legal advice to help accelerate their growth potential.
Since its UK launch, CMS has expanded the programme internationally, with coverage in over 20 countries across the Europe, Middle East, Asia and Legal America. equIP serves some of the world’s best new businesses including Appyparking, Akoni, Behavox, BorrowmyDoggy and Passle – with the success of the programme and its members demonstrated by the significant fundraisings and exits secured by members since enlisting onto equIP. Key transactions include:
- Behavox – In February 2020, CMS advised Behavox Ltd on its $100 million Series B investment from SoftBank Vision Fund 2.1, a fund specialising in growth-stage technology companies.
- Crowdicity – In October 2019, CMS advised Crowdicity on its sale to Medallia, a global leader in experience management.
- Apperio - In September 2018, CMS supported UK-based LegalTech start-up Apperio Limited on its £7.5 million cash injection in a fundraise round led by Draper Esprit. The Series A round also received support from existing investors Notion, IQ Capital and various angel investors.
- RAVN – In May 2017, CMS advised the founders of artificial intelligence (AI) expert RAVN Systems on its sale to iManage, a US-based provider of Work Product Management solutions.
Sarah Wright, Head of Intellectual Property at CMS and co-head of CMS equIP, comments: “Tony and I are thrilled to welcome our 100th London member to CMS equIP. The programme has developed a remarkable track record of supporting some of London’s brightest new businesses to lay critical foundations and set them up for success. Year-on-year London’s tech start-up market is demonstrating considerable and consistent growth and we have every expectation that equIP will follow this trend. Through equIP, we are nurturing the tech unicorns of tomorrow, equipping them with the tools and support they need to thrive in this increasingly competitive market.”
equIP welcomes Evrelab in response to #LeadHers initiative
Since CMS equIP’s foundation, there have been a disproportionate number of applications from male led businesses. This finding is in line with a report undertaken by the British Business Bank which revealed that for every £1 of VC investment in the UK, all-female founder teams receive less than 1p and mixed gender teams 10p. To help address this discrepancy, in April 2019 CMS launched the #LeadHers campaign to encourage more female led businesses to apply to the equIP programme.
Katie Nagy de Nagybaczon, Corporate partner at CMS and head of the #LeadHers campaign, comments: “At CMS we’re passionate about championing diversity. Our #LeadHers initiative is designed to confront the challenges that female founders face and to make it clear that CMS is here to support them and their businesses. Although we are thrilled to welcome every new member, we are excited that Evrelab have helped us hit this exciting milestone, pushing CMS equIP’s London membership into triple digits. We now have 15 talented female-founded businesses on the programme – a number we are confident will rise year-on-year.”
Female-founded Evrelab is partnering with leading beauty retailers and tapping into one of the fastest growing trends in beauty – ingredient transparency. Evrelab’s platform offers brands and retailers a simple plug and play option which can be integrated with their e-commerce sites, helping make complex ingredient information simple to understand. The tool allows customers to hover over individual ingredients on a product page and receive an explanation of the ingredient type and a scientific summary of its potential benefits.
Charlotte Morris and Jo Osborne, Co-Founders of Evrelab, comment: “Top tier law firms are often out-of-reach for startups and yet, the legal challenges startups face are often no less complex than more established businesses, especially when it comes to investment agreements, international scaling and risk mitigation around new, disruptive and untested technology. Lawyers now need to be business partners who understand not just you and your business, but the wider startup landscape and the bootstrapping that goes with it. CMS equIP program delivers this to us in spades. We’re delighted to be the 100th startup to be accepted onto this program which makes top tier legal advice accessible and affordable to startups and gives us the strong legal foundations we need to grow as a business so we can concentrate instead on building our products and commercial opportunities.”