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6 October, 2021 - 17:33 By Tony Quested

Lex Academic a success in any language

Born out of adversity, Lex Academic has grown into an international success story.

The company has supported thousands of academics and global institutions with proofreading, copy editing, substantive editing, translation, and associated services – allowing scholars to optimise the full power of their research to a worldwide audience. CEO, Louise Chapman, fashioned the company out of what she calls “quite unhappy circumstances”. 

“My husband was diagnosed with cancer during my first year at Cambridge University”, she says. “So, I decided I needed a plan for my longer-term financial security.”

“While he was undergoing aggressive treatment at Addenbrooke’s, Lex Academic was born. My husband is now in remission, and I’m just entering my fourth-year at Cambridge. I hope to eventually give back to Cambridge in some capacity.”

She is being modest: Lex Academic is already giving back to Cambridge. It has grown to a team of 120+ international freelancers (copy editors and translators), and five permanent employees in the UK. Lex is also looking for new talent to join the team – within and beyond Cambridge.

Lex Academic onboarded its first angel investor – Peter Redhead, the former MD of JPMorgan – in August, corroborating the business’ value in the millions.

Chapman said: “We are open to going to venture capitalists next year, depending upon the personnel needs of the company and whether we need to invest in any tech infrastructure to expedite our operations.

“In one year, the company has already grown from £3,000 monthly profits, to just over £36,000. Being very profitable, we are not inclined to dilute our shareholdings without due warrant, and we are grateful that our business model is so lean.

“We are nevertheless open-minded about going to a VC round next year. I am already in contact with the Cambridge Angels group, having been mentored by Dr Richard Parmee through my Cambridge college, but we’re setting our sights on London VC firms with a special emphasis on EdTech.

“We are currently working with the former MD of JPMorgan Hong Kong – now Lex’s Chairman – to penetrate the east Asian market. We have also hired an east Asia marketing specialist who is undertaking market research in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.”

Chapman is a fourth-year PhD student in Philosophy at Pembroke College, Cambridge. She started the business in her first year, providing proofreading, indexing, and translation to international academics. 

With thousands of clients globally, Lex Academic has revenues of around £46,000 per month and gross profit margins around 75 per cent. Chapman shares that the company has a value in the millions based on current business and financial projections.

Chapman says: “We appreciate the challenges encountered by academics in the hyper-competitive publishing space, especially those who are not native speakers of English.

“While our editing service may be considered a competitive advantage in gaining entry to the top journals, it also helps to level the playing field for those who might otherwise be held back by writing in their second or third language. Language should never be a barrier to publication.

“We are proudly staffed by editors with PhDs from the world’s most illustrious institutions; all work is scrupulously scrutinised before being reunited with its author.”

Lex Academic’s author service ensures work is submission-ready with a tailored menu of proofreading, editing, and consulting services that promote publication success. 

Their support extends to editing grant funding applications (e.g., European Research Council, Leverhulme, British Academy, Wellcome Trust, and AHRC/ESRC), academic job applications (including teaching philosophies, CVs, and impact cases), and PhD dossiers. Lex Academic’s mission is to get any academic career off to a flying start.

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