08 February 2023

Lawtech Sandbox Diaries: Validient

We spoke to founder, Ieuan Leigh, about Validient’s Lawtech Sandbox experience, what they learnt and life after the programme.

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The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the demand for digital customer experiences. To keep pace, law firms and regulated businesses had to take their operations online. However, the rapid rise in digital activity created new opportunities for fraudsters, increasing the risk of fraud, identity theft and data breaches.

Ieuan Leigh, founder of early-stage start-up Validient identified that the biggest challenge for businesses was reliably identifying people online–whether someone really was who they said they were. “It is easy to fake an ID for online use, and challenging for organisations to establish whether it is real or fake.” said Leigh.

He saw the need for a digital client onboarding system that provided identity verification, screening and monitoring for regulatory compliance, enhanced due diligence, and prevented money laundering and fraud. Leigh founded Validient to enable firms to conduct multi-layered validation checks and biometric identity confirmation. Ieuan Leigh explains how LawtechUK’s latest Sandbox helped Validient develop its identity and extend its reach.

What Validient gained from the Lawtech Sandbox

  • A targeted 5-year roadmap

  • Pitch review and strengthening

  • 1-2-1 mentorship with expert mentor

  • Connections to major law firms and other target markets.

Wales-based Validient, joined the Lawtech Sandbox for help expanding into the rest of the UK and making relevant connections in the legal sector. Leigh was matched with mentor, Adam Bird, CEO & Co-founder of Cronofy, who helped him develop a 5-year roadmap for Validient. “It was useful having a mentor with a strong entrepreneurial background,” says Leigh. “We started off with a massive roadmap, and our mentor helped us narrow down our ideas and find the best way forward.”

The Sandbox experience led Leigh and his team to make two key changes. The first was around approaching potential customers. “We thought about the language that we use and what people really wanted to hear about. They don’t need to know that we are using cutting edge-tech; they want results,” he explains. “So we changed our pitch to focus on what the product can do, rather than its technical features.” Secondly, the Sandbox experience identified the need for integration with other software and systems.

The Sandbox experience enabled Validient to showcase their system in London and gain more interactions with law firms and other target markets. Including an introduction to the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, who are working with Validient to create opportunities for CLC members to test the software.

Since the Lawtech Sandbox

Leigh is working with his mentor to develop an API (application programming interface) to allow integration with other software and systems, alongside building out a compliance management system for money laundering reporting officers.

Validient is preparing for a second funding round, which they hope to close around October 2023. “Our mentor has broadened our fundraising strategy,” says Leigh. “Our meetings opened up the idea of other types of capital beyond equity funding, both in Wales and further afield. We are starting early to ensure we get a deal that works for our investors and us.”

Leigh's mentor also benefitted from the Lawtech Sandbox, “Supporting founders through mentoring is immensely rewarding for both parties. The challenge of asking the right questions in order to explore lines of thinking with the mentee forces a lot of personal reflection and thus self improvement." said Bird. "Ieuan’s natural curiosity and drive made him a joy to work with and I’m sure will translate into much success.”

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