Third-party litigation funding has started to receive greater attention in the United States and the United Kingdom, but Hugh McLernon has no doubt about where it all began. “It started right here, right in this building,” says the co-founder and managing director of IMF (Australia) Ltd., meeting with a reporter in the company’s offices in Perth. “It started right where you’re sitting.”

IMF pioneered the litigation-funding business in Australia, the only country in the world where it truly has become an industry. Focusing mostly on class actions, IMF has funded cases in the past decade that have resulted in settlements and awards totaling almost $900 million. It currently has around $1.7 billion in active claims under management.