A&O’s Fuse Calls For 4th Cohort Applications – Will Include New FinTech Stream

Fuse, Allen & Overy’s tech innovation space (AKA an incubator of sorts), is inviting companies to apply for a seat in its fourth cohort. The firm’s call follows that of Slaughter and May’s Collaborate incubator earlier this week and suggests there may be something of a battle now to attract the best tech startups and scaleups, given the increasing number of incubators.

For the first time, Fuse will also be running a separate FinTech stream. As part of a new initiative to promote increased collaboration with their clients in this area, A&O will work with a select group of financial sector clients to identify FinTech companies to join Fuse.

Applications will open on 13 January 2020 and applicants will be asked to describe their team and the problem(s) they are aiming to solve.

Applications are expected to close at the end of January 2020, with a pitch day to follow in February. 

Both early stage and more mature companies can apply to work in the specially designed area within A&O’s London offices and successful companies will be invited to work in Fuse from April 2020, they said.

Fuse has been a bit different to other incubators in that it’s always accepted very large and developed companies from day one, along with the obligatory start-ups that one would expect. They’ve also had a long term interest in FinTech, rather than purely legal tech, e.g. Nivaura.

And, unlike others, they have also allowed some companies to stay based there for a long time. For example, Avvoka was an early member of Fuse, but remained there after their cohort had finished.

One other difference to some innovation programmes is that A&O has created a special space, that is partly separated from the rest of the firm, but inside the main office in London. While the larger companies often only have one or two people hot-desking there, some of the startups effectively operate from the Fuse space. Some incubators don’t provide physical space for their members.

The third cohort

Shruti Ajitsaria, Partner and Head of Fuse, said: ‘It is always exciting when we open applications for companies to join Fuse, as it enables us to see the best in class technology during the process. This year, I am looking forward to seeing our ecosystem grow as we welcome nominated FinTech companies as well as successful LegalTech applicants to join us here in Fuse.’

More information about Fuse can be found here