Robin AI, an ALSP that uses NLP to improve contract review, has been invited to join the SoftBank-led Emerge accelerator. Its founder, Richard Robinson, also told Artificial Lawyer that they are ‘in talks’ about a potential investment from SoftBank.
It’s another example of SoftBank showing an interest in the legal sector. Recently, the giant Japanese conglomerate took part in a $115m investment in CLM business ContractPodAi, as well as funding IP startup, MarqVision.
The Emerge accelerator that Robin AI is joining was created by the SoftBank Vision Fund in partnership with Speedinvest. Its aim is to promote diversity in tech and entrepreneurship by ‘partnering underrepresented founders with the capital, tools, and network they need to scale their business’.
This year’s programme is open to European founders, with participation from some of Europe’s leading seed investors: Breega, Kindred, Cherry Ventures, and firstminute Capital.
Emerge provides training and support for the startups and also opens the possibility for funding.
Catherine Lenson, Managing Partner and Head of Social Impact at SoftBank Investment Advisers, said: ‘We were thrilled by the volume and quality of the applications received from a wide variety of inspiring founders. This reinforces our view that there’s a wealth of under-represented talent fighting for opportunities. I’m looking forward to working with every founder and can’t wait to get started.’
Robinson (pictured above) told Artificial Lawyer: ‘Getting on the Emerge Accelerator is a huge vote of confidence from an extremely ambitious investor that we’re on the right path. It’s also huge validation of all the work we’ve been doing to build one of Europe’s most diverse software companies – and Softbank’s support will help us to achieve that ambition.
‘We’re still a Seed stage business, but it’s fair to say we’re firing on all cylinders. We’ve been overwhelmed by customer demand and job applicants in recent months, so we want to kick on and accelerate.
‘We’re officially at 20 people now, up from 6 earlier this year. We hope to finish the year at 25 if we can find people who share our mission and values.’
And in terms of the funding, he added that ‘we’re in talks with SoftBank and others’. If they did receive funding then it would be the third legal tech / legal sector company to get backing from the giant in just a few weeks.