The Link App: Lauren Riley
The former Apprentice contestant discusses proving her business concept, raising finance and why her app will revolutionise the way law firms communicate
Name: Lauren Riley
Company name: The Link App
Location: Greater London
Date launched: 13/08/14
Tell us what your business does:
The Link App is the ultimate communication tool for busy law firms looking to thrive in an increasingly competitive market, improve customer service, and save time and money.
Ultimately, it serves to increase productivity across the working day, by keeping clients ‘in the loop’ without the need for back and forth communication, freeing up valuable time.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I am a qualified solicitor and the amount of time spent on keeping everyone ‘in the loop’ came as something of a shock. It was a daily battle to keep up with the constant emails, phone calls, even letters going back and forth.
I was convinced there must be a better way for lawyers to communicate with their clients. After listening to the continued grumblings of my colleagues I had my eureka moment and business idea was born.
How did you know there was a market for it?
Well in its most basic form, there is an app for everything. Why should law be any different but beyond that many law firms are struggling to be competitive on price and customer service.
In terms of research, I have had clients in law firms who are frustrated with the lack of communications and cost of the service they receive. I knew that any product that could address these major issues would have a market.
What were you doing before starting up?
I was working in full time employment as a solicitor, save for a brief spell filming the Apprentice.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
The thought of running a business has always appealed to me but if I had not had the idea for The Link App organically then it is not something I would have pursued for the sake of it.
How did you raise the money?
I self-funded to begin the company and I am now in talks with investors to really scale the business.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
The Link App is free for clients of law firms to download and use; but is sold directly to law firms at an affordable price. Save for a nominal annual fee, the law firm pays on a per case basis meaning law firms of all sizes can utilise this revolutionary tool.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Having a revolutionary idea was great but in order to attain funding you have to be able to prove the concept, its not like I'm replicating and existing product.
Therefore obtaining even enough funding to prove the concept was the initial challenge.
What was your first big breakthrough
For me it was when the business started to get noticed publically and the feedback was all so positive. I have written several articles for legal publications and created a media buzz for the company.
I received similar validation at recent investment meeting, when a serious business professional believes in your dream then it all seems worthwhile.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
If this is your first venture, stick to what you know. I went into tech, which isn't my field but it was entirely based around a product for the legal industry. People take me seriously because I am a lawyer and I have been able to create a bespoke product on that basis too. Always be true to yourself!
Where do you want to be in five years' time?
In five years I would like my app to be a household name globally and the communication tool of choice.