Law firm launches next tech business accelerator programme

Carly Gulliver and Pete Mills

International law firm Addleshaw Goddard, which has a base in Leeds, has launched its search for the best high-growth tech businesses to join its AG Elevate programme – an accelerator for those looking to scale up.

AG Elevate is a fast-track 10-month programme designed to advance tech businesses in all sectors of the economy through legal challenges that arise as they grow.

Since it launched in 2017, the programme has supported almost 50 high-growth businesses, including Yorkshire tech business Crysp.

Back in 2021, Crysp was one of nine businesses selected to join AG Elevate.

It supports businesses, educational institutions, construction and commercial property businesses with both digital and physical solutions, including document management, compliance tracking, e-learning and physical property audits.

Under the guidance of co-founders Pete Mills and Stuart Harlow, Crysp had a clear vision and a plan for how it would achieve its goals.

Each year, the AG Elevate programme, a fast-track legal mentoring scheme for early-stage businesses designed and delivered by lawyers at Addleshaw Goddard, selects a cohort to be assigned a legal mentor and a package of legal support over a 10-month period.

The businesses which come through the application process also get access to professional industry networks, bespoke resources designed by AG, access to a collaborative online Hub and the chance to work alongside like-minded people in the tech ecosystem.

Crysp was selected by an independent panel as one of 11 businesses in the 2021/2022 cohort and was assigned AG corporate partner Carly Gulliver as its mentor.

The business then secured strategic investment from Twinkl, a global digital educational platform founded by Jonathan Seaton in Sheffield – a deal that Gulliver advised on – so benefited from the support of both organisations.

Mills said: “I’m a firm believer that growing a successful business is all about building authentic relationships and having Carly act on the investment deal, having known her for so long, was really cool. But it is so much more than that.

“Being part of the AG Elevate programme helped us to accelerate our growth and get smarter legal insight.

“It gave us such a strong framework and a way of easily accessing the information we needed as a firm on our growth trajectory.”

Gulliver said: “Helping Pete and the team has been a great experience. We have a local approach linked to the national initiative, which allows us to make connections for businesses using our national footprint.

“It’s not just the business side of things but the access to wider relationships that it brings and opening doors that might otherwise remain closed. Along with Crysp, we’ve worked with local and national businesses and its brilliant to be part of their journey.”

Elvan Hussein, co-lead of the AG Elevate programme and the Addleshaw Goddard Partner, added: “Our team of legal mentors have a comprehensive understanding of the priorities and potential obstacles that fast-growing and scaling tech businesses encounter which provide substantial benefits to AG Elevate members beyond just legal input.

“Our mentors also possess a thorough understanding of the perspectives and motivations of technology investors and acquirers, which enables us to assist the businesses in achieving their commercial objectives.”

The application process for businesses that would like to be considered for the 2023 AG Elevate programme is open and can be found on the Addleshaw Goddard website.

To qualify for consideration for a place on the programme, businesses need to have existing plans for high-growth and have received external funding.