A former solicitor has raised £344,000 in a round backed by NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed my Mercia Fund Managers and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

The round also drew the support of existing and new Angel investors.

Manchester-based Lauren Riley, who previously featured on The Apprentice, set up The Link App in 2014 after working in a law firm and becoming frustrated with having to send confidential documents by email and post.

With the latest round, Riley has brought the total amount raised for the business to more than £500,000.

The app seeks to provide a safe and paperless way for law firms to communicate with customers via a portal. As a result, lawyers are able to send updates and forms directly to a client’s smartphone, while the client can fill them in and submit signatures using the mobile app.

With the money, Riley wants to expand the team and add further features to the system, including the ability to provide clients with milestones to monitor the progress of their case and upload documents, including their ID, directly from their mobile phone.

“This latest round of investment will allow The Link App to expand our talented team and innovative product. The backing of Mercia and other experienced investors is key recognition of our progress to date and we are all excited about the innovation on the horizon,” Riley commented.

Will Clark, fund principal at Mercia Fund Managers, added: “Lauren has found a way to apply emerging communications technology to the legal sector to improve the information flow with its clients. The Link App has been commended by professionals at the highest level in the industry. This funding will allow her to further develop the product and establish a firm foothold in the fast-growing legal technology market.”

Grant Peggie, director at British Business Bank, said: “It is great to see that NPIF is supporting innovation in the professional services sector. Going ‘paperless’ is an example of this, and it is a growing trend we’re seeing in the corporate space. The Link App is supporting this, and as well as reducing the amount of waste paper corporates use, it also provides its clients with a platform in which sensitive information cannot be accessed or stolen.“