Seven startups have joined Auctus, the incubator/accelerator of Linklaters’ Australian ally, Allens. The companies joining the firm’s very first cohort include some that are likely already known to Artificial Lawyer readers, such as Avvoka, Summize and Syntheia – (see below).
Auctus – Allens Legal Accelerator, to use its full name, received more than 120 applications from legal tech and reg tech startups around the world for the eight-week virtual programme, the firm said.
The final seven were chosen from a shortlist of 15 who virtually pitched their offering to a panel of expert judges from Allens and Collective Campus, a company that has been engaged to help attract and source potential accelerator candidates.
The startups from four countries will now work with mentors and get feedback on their products. The firm added that it’s open to keep working with some of the companies, and also potentially to invest in them as well. We shall see….
The full cohort includes:
Avvoka: a next-generation document automation, negotiation and analytics tool for in-house legal, law firms and business teams. Probably the most well-known of the group, having launched in 2015 and it has been a long-running member of Allen & Overy’s FUSE tech and innovation programme. In fact, not really a startup at all any longer.
Summize: an assistant to the contract lifecycle which creates instant, easy-to-read summaries of uploaded contracts;
BuildSort: a smart legal contract platform initially targeting the construction sector;
Hutly: a smart contract platform that is simplifying contract management with a way for general tenancy agreements to be completed, issued, tracked, and digitally signed in minutes;
Inpact: an AI-powered enterprise software platform that turns contracts into structured, easily-analysable data to uncover new business insights;
Wage Buddy: a legal technology platform that simplifies Australian Fair Work Awards by analysing, interpreting and codifying Awards to facilitate automated reasoning.
Commenting on the launch, Penelope Barr, Allens’ Head of Legal Product Lab, said: ‘Our first cohort of startups blew us away with the potentially transformative solutions they’re building to some of the most pressing issues faced by our firm and our clients.
‘We are excited by the potential of our first group of startups to not only add to our own legal tech offering, but to meaningfully contribute to the Australian legal landscape more broadly.’
All in all, further proof that incubator programmes are steadily spreading around the world. And why are they catching on…? The answer: because they work, (usually).
They help law firms to really get hands-on with a group of companies, to understand their vision and products, and in turn to give valuable feedback on what the lawyers want, which can help iterate those products to become more finely tuned to sometimes very hard to surface real-world needs. They also help to inspire the lawyers to think differently about how they work, to question how efficient their current processes are, and to generally rethink what they are doing in a positive and creative way.
Of course, there are incubators and there are incubators….The ones that do really achieve something are those that focus on the two-way street mentioned above, i.e. both the product-makers and the potential users of that product focus on communication and learning, and the lawyers at the firm give significant time to the project and don’t just let it run in a vacuum separate from their working lives, or see it as just a chance for the lawyers to say: ‘Yep, I like that; nope, I don’t like that one.’ The learning has to go in both directions, otherwise the whole thing really misses its potential. If it just goes in one direction – and this site has seen scenarios like this – then it turns into a rather expensive ‘petting zoo’.
Artificial Lawyer looks forward to hearing how this new incubator goes.