DIFC invests in UK-based LegalTech start-up Clara

Investment was made through the Dubai-based financial free zone's $100m FinTech fund

The Dubai International Financial Centre has invested in the UK-based legal technology start-up Clara as part of its strategy to help innovative start-ups expand in the Middle East.

The financial free zone invested in Clara through its $100 million DIFC FinTech Fund that was formed in 2017 to help establish, grow and upscale start-up and growth-stage companies seeking access to markets in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, it said on Monday.

The DIFC did not disclose the amount it invested in the company.

“The DIFC continues to be a catalyst for innovation in the region by investing in businesses that can help transform the finance industry,” said Arif Amiri, chief executive of DIFC Authority.

“We are therefore delighted to announce investment from DIFC’s FinTech Fund in Clara, a rapidly growing LegalTech start-up that will make doing business easier for early stage companies and other businesses that form part of the region’s largest financial services ecosystem.”

Clara’s platform automates many of the tasks currently performed by lawyers for start-ups, such as forming companies and drafting agreements. The company is led by a team of lawyers and experts in technology.

"Start-ups are looking for a new approach to help them overcome the pain and complexity of dealing with legal matters,” said Patrick Rogers, chief executive and co-founder of Clara.

“We are thrilled to be setting up in the DIFC, which will allow us to completely streamline the customer experience of incorporating DIFC entities – adding further value to the Clara platform, which digitises and automates start-up legals.”

Clara has so far raised $3.5m in seed financing from institutional investors, including 500 Startups and Techstars.

The new investment from the DIFC comes as start-ups in the Mena region continue to secure record amounts of funding.

These start-ups received investment worth $1.2 billion in the first half of 2021, up 64 per cent compared to the same period last year, according to the latest report from data platform Magnitt.

The number of new companies operating within the DIFC grew by 20 per cent to 2,919 last year despite the coronavirus pandemic, it said in March.

FinTech companies setting up at the free zone more than doubled to 303 during the period.

Updated: July 26th 2021, 9:42 AM