Thomson Reuters Starts Incubator, Legal Tech + AI Key Areas

Thomson Reuters has launched an incubator via its Thomson Reuters Labs in Switzerland. The Incubator will host early-stage entrepreneurs building next-generation products in advanced analytics, blockchain and AI.

The six to twelve month programme will seek to attract and then support new companies from the legal tech, fin tech, reg tech and other key sectors such as ‘news tech’, with frontier technologies such as AI seen as one of the key areas of interest that the global information giant is keen to foster.

As part of the official program startups will receive access to Thomson Reuters world-class data and content sets, mentoring from experienced executives and networking opportunities for investment and commercialisation. The data angle is especially relevant to any legal AI companies, which can sometimes find it expensive and hard to find the legal information needed to perfect their applications. Thomson Reuters, like other giant legal publishers, has a huge amount of legal data on hand.

Thomson Reuters was also keen to point out that the Incubator is not seeking to take equity in the start-ups that join (at least not immediately or as part of the programme), which can be a tricky point for some young companies that do not want to hand over chunks of equity at such an early stage, even for mentoring and access to advice or training data.

The move follows a series of law firms and other organisations, including global rival, LexisNexis, setting up either accelerators and/or incubators for legal tech, fin tech and reg tech companies. LexisNexis in December 2016 launched its own accelerator, while Allen & Overy and Mishcon de Reya were among the law firms to set up ventures to attract and support start-ups.

The Incubator is seen as a significant investment in the Thomson Reuters Labs network, which already has locations in innovation ecosystems around the globe, though is not exploring just legal tech, but a wide range of new technology areas.

Mona Vernon, Chief Technology Officer for Thomson Reuters Labs, said: ‘Technology is evolving at an unprecedented rate and corporations need to keep pace.  Partnering with startups and other market disruptors is essential for us to be agile and responsive to our customers. The Incubator will become an essential part of our corporate strategy to drive organic growth through innovation.’

Måns Olof-Ors, Head of Thomson Reuters Labs, Zurich Region and of the Incubator, added: ‘Our ultimate goal is to help our entrepreneurs realize their vision and get their solutions to market. In turn, we gain valuable insight, working with creative disruptors to identify new opportunities and ensure we are providing our clients with the most up to date trends impacting their professional markets.’

The team is currently reviewing a pipeline of applicants for the six month program. Applications can be submitted direct through the online website here.    

And, to give you a short preview of what is on offer, Thomson Reuters has set out the following benefits:

-Free office space, meeting rooms and connectivity
-Free access to Thomson Reuters data and tools
-Interaction with our network of well established customers and investors
-Free mentorship, training and extensive domain expertise
-Opportunity to participate in joint initiatives with Thomson Reuters Labs, other startups, and university partners

Our focus areas:

The following innovation clusters within the FinTech, RegTech and LegalTech markets are the focus areas that Thomson Reuters seek start-up partnership opportunities for:

-Artificial intelligence/machine learning
-Cognitive computing
-Distributed ledgers
-Big data
-Social sentiment
-Advanced analytics
-Machine readable news (watch out journalists…..)
-Automated data collection & analysis

Who should apply:

We’re looking for disruptors that collaborate. We want innovators to bring incredible product ideas, a top-tier technical team, a solid business plan and the passion to build something that will transform our industry.

The Incubator, hosted in Thomson Reuters Labs Zurich region, will connect you with the resources and experts to help make your product vision a reality.