Google’s Black Founders Fund has awarded grants to two legal tech companies – Define, the drafting tool, and Robin AI, the contract analysis startup. They are part of a group of 30 businesses in Europe to win grants.
The grants can be up to $100,000 in equity-free cash, paired with up to $220,000 per startup in Google Ad Grants and Cloud credits. Google is also providing support from experienced Startup Partner Managers.
And, just the fact that a company as significant as Google is recognising these businesses will no doubt help them to gain future investments to support their growth.
Commenting on the awards Google stated: ‘If we want technology to work for everyone, it needs to be built by everyone. Today, with less than 0.5% of venture capital (VC) funding going to Black-led startups, and Black people making up less than 3% of the VC community, Black founders in Europe disproportionately lack access to the networks and capital needed to grow their businesses.’
Artificial Lawyer caught up with Nnamdi Emelifeonwu, CEO and co-founder of Define, to ask him about the grant.
What does this mean to you?
It is an incredible achievement for the whole team and an honour personally that Google for Startups Black Founders Fund has selected Define as one of 30 startups from nearly 800 applicants across Europe. As a young company, we are particularly looking forward to receiving mentoring from the Google community as we continue to grow our business.
It is also a win for legal tech as a whole to have a company like Google associated with a young legal tech company. I hope it encourages other legal tech startups!
What will the grant be used for?
It’s a really exciting time for Define. As a startup, we’re thrilled to receive a non-dilutive cash award as well as Google ad and cloud credits. The award has come at a very opportune time as we continue to grow our team and launch our B2SME strategy.
And more generally, how is the company doing now?
We’re so pleased with the positive feedback we receive from our customers and we’ve continued to see increased adoption overall which has been very encouraging. One major milestone we recently hit was to bring onboard a global financial institution as a customer which shows the need for software like Define outside of traditional law firms. In addition to growing our team, we’re also looking forward to releasing exciting new products in the next few months and we’re hoping to expand outside of the UK in the near future!
And, this site also caught up with Richard Robinson, the CEO and founder of Robin AI, who commented: ‘We are so thrilled that Google believe in our vision that technology can help to fundamentally change the legal industry. Google have been supporting us for over 9 months now, giving us access to their sales, marketing, infrastructure and engineering teams – and we’ve put that support right back into the business.’
‘We’re excited about what’s to come. And I’m especially pleased to see another black founder in the legal technology industry, Nnamdi at Define, being given the same recognition – I hope next year there will be more of us in the space,’ Robinson added.
And, while readers have probably heard a fair bit about Define – see AL TV Product Walk Through – Robinson said this about himself and his company: ‘[In my] early career as a corporate lawyer, (Clifford Chance and Boies Schiller Flexner), I identified that much of my workload was relatively simple, repetitive work, and there was no technology in the industry to do the work cheaper, faster and more accurately.
‘Robin AI is a company that seeks to revolutionise the world of legal contracts by combining machine learning and human intelligence to automate legal work. It helps businesses and law firms cut costs and save time by reviewing high volume legal contracts on their behalf. Some firms using Robin AI include: Hayfin Capital Management, Clifford Chance and Pizza Hut owner, Yum Foods.’
Congrats to the founders at Define and Robin AI.