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Award-winning British law firm, Mishcon de Reya, is putting its faith in technology since launching the MDR LAB programme for startups. In this, its second year, the programme will enable six companies to work alongside Mishcon de Reya’s legal and business operations teams for 10 weeks. The companies will gain access to the law firm’s business and legal expertise, whilst the law firm gains access to cutting-edge technology.

This year, a real estate category has been added to the programme, sponsored by two companies in the property sector. Derwent London, which owns one of the largest portfolios of commercial properties in central London, and Coyote, which is a property software platform for managing data. These two companies will be mentoring the real estate startups joining this year’s programme. This will enable the sponsored companies to get insight from working alongside Mishcon’s professionals, as well as direct input from the end users. MDR LAB director and Mishcon’s chief technology officer, Nick West, said that Derwent London’s and Coyote’s real estate expertise will be a perfect complement to their legal knowledge and experience. Mishcon said it is looking forward to working alongside this year’s intake, as the firm’s continued support for technology and innovation is key to improving the industry.

In a statement, Mishcon de Reya said it recognises the way that proptech is transforming the way the built-up environment is designed, planned, built, marketed and sold. It recognises that technology can be a minefield for people in the industry such as developers, landlords and property agents. However, it has the capacity to improve efficiency and bring new business opportunities to the property sector. Although challenging, proptech can change the whole planning, building and selling processes for the better.

As an idea of what can be achieved through this programme, last year’s sponsored firms are already making significant inroads. Orbital Witness was part of last year’s MDR LAB intake. It provides historic satellite images along with data regarding property, land and ownership to help lawyers in the process of real estate due diligence. Orbital Witness has won a place on Geovation, which helps to tackle social, environmental and economic issues by its use of location data. The Geovation programme is being run by Ordnance Survey and HM Land Registry. Moreover, Orbital Witness has won European Space Agency funding and an Airbus Defence & Space international award.

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