By John Reynolds on Monday 9 December 2019
Sparqa Legal will offer Starling business customers expert legal advice on employment contracts.
Starling Bank has teamed up with a legal service, as it expands its Business Marketplace offering by offering its business customers legal help and guidance which the digital bank says will help them cut costs.
The deal between the digital bank and Sparqa Legal comes as a report over the weekend questions whether Starling can reach an ambitious loan target to small businesses.
Sparqa Legal joins nine other partners in Starling's Business Marketplace, which provides access to various third-party apps and services within its own app.
Starling, which has 88,000 small business customers, believes that integrating other apps and services within its own app via its APIs will woo small businesses who want a quick and efficient service.
Starling customers can sign up to Sparqa Legal, which has been designed by barristers and solicitors, via the Starling app, offering them expert help and guidance which could help businesses cut costs by reducing a reliance on traditional legal help, said Starling.
Starling customers will get access to 350 templates, which will allow them to create and tailor bespoke legal contracts, policies and documents.
Customers will also be given access to legal guidance on day-to-day issues they may face.
The legal service can offer advice on employment contracts, commercial agreements and trademark applications and, according to Starling, is particularly suited to the needs of start-up and small businesses.
Andrew Thornton, CEO of Sparqa Legal and a barrister at Erskine Chambers said: “At Sparqa Legal, we passionately believe that, armed with the right tools and resources, smart business managers can produce many of the simple legal documents they require. They can also find out about their rights, obligations and the best course to take.”
Starling CEO and founder, Anne Boden, said: “It’s important that businesses safely navigate themselves through the legal obligations relevant to them and their specific industries.”
“But increasingly businesses are looking to technology to help them solve old problems in new, innovative and cost-effective ways, which is why Sparqa Legal is a very welcome addition to the Starling Marketplace.”
Sparqa Legal is the tenth partner to join the Starling Business Marketplace, joining the likes of accountancy software company Xero, invoice insurance specialist Nimbla and cyber security company CyberSmart.
Separately, a report in the Sunday Times yesterday (Sunday) raised questions over whether Starling can meet ambitious loan targets.
Starling is committed to sanctioning nearly £1bn of loans within five years as a condition of winning £100m funding from a £775m pot set aside by Royal Bank of Scotland following its state bailout in 2008.
The Sunday Times says that figures reveal Starling has only lent £782,000 to small businesses since scooping the funds in February, meaning it could struggle to reach the target of £913m by 2023.
A spokesperson for Starling said: “We’ve already made great strides towards delivering the public commitments we set out at the beginning of this process."
“We've launched a web portal to help our 88,500 business and sole trader customers better manage their Starling account on their desktop or laptop as well as direct from their smartphone."
“We’ve launched multi-owner business accounts and euro business accounts and we've added several new players to our Marketplace for business customers.”