Afriwise, which is a bit like Thomson Reuters’ Practical Law, but for Africa, has gained a €1m investment from a pair of angel investors. This is good to see, as we don’t hear enough about legal tech investments related to Africa.
The company was founded by former South African lawyer, Steven De Backer, who is now based in Belgium, but previously worked at leading firm Webber Wentzel. De Backer also spent some time at Freshfields as an associate in Brussels back in the early 2000s.
It’s not the only legal research platform focused on Africa. There is also the tri-lingual Legal Doctrine group based out of Algeria, which offers legal information across Africa in English, French and Arabic.
The angel investors in Afriwise were Jacques Emsens and Christophe de Limburg Stirum, both also from Belgium. The investment will be used to add more relevant content for users, accelerate growth into new countries, and further develop the platform’s technology. At present, Deloitte, Vodafone, Roche and DHL, among other major companies, are all listed as users of the system.
As noted, Afriwise has a lot of similarities to Practical Law and offers a wide range of legal information and useful guidance on a variety of countries and sectors across the African continent. Local law firms and legal experts also contribute content to build out the library.
Is this a big deal? The first thing to say is that this looks to be at least partly about inward investment, but, even that being the case the development of another pan-Africa legal information site is a positive step.
Moreover, the majority of the contributors to its many pages of content are from African law firms across multiple countries.
The company said: ‘By joining forces with, and fully integrating, the African legal sector into its platform, Afriwise further contributes to …. accelerate progress in the legal and justice space.
‘Afriwise works with over 100 law firms across Africa to provide the in-depth practical legal guidance available on the platform, making it the largest collaborative effort ever undertaken in the African professional services sector.‘
Its founder, De Backer, added: ‘We are still at the beginning of our journey, however, this announcement of a significant capital injection by European investors is a sign that people are seeing possibilities for Afriwise to become a very big company.
‘I feel immensely proud at reaching this milestone, made possible by our dedicated team and the collaborations we have forged with law firms across Africa. Our success depends on them.’