Allen & Overy’s Fuse innovation hub has announced members of its sixth cohort, and with 16 businesses tapped to join the Hub’s ranks, this year marks the largest cohort in Fuse’s history.
Shruti Ajitsaria, Allen & Overy partner and head of Fuse, explains that the quality of applicants from over 25 countries was immensely high, and expects that the talent that comes from this cohort will continue to provide valuable solutions not only for Allen & Overy, but for the firm’s financial services clients into the future.
“Fuse started off looking strictly at LegalTech, but we’ve always had the great privilege of speaking with people in banks’ strategic investment teams, or innovative areas such as their digital assets, crypto or blockchain focuses. As a result, what we have realised is that all of these areas are raising new and interesting questions that we, Allen & Overy, need to be at the forefront of, because our clients are investigating these concepts.”
In addition to an open application process, Fuse also welcomes a selection of applications nominated by a handful of Allen & Overy’s clients. Ajitsaria notes that “as legal advisors, we need to learn alongside our clients and learn at the same pace with the same access to information, so that when they ask to understand their ability to use new technologies, we can provide legal advice that is grounded in reality and experiential practice.”
Ajitsaria furthers that while the “all-star selection committee” boasts a formidable group of external members from the likes of Goldman Sachs, Microsoft Ventures, Meta, and BT, the vital factor in the selection process is ensuring that there is strong upfront buy-in from Allen & Overy partners. “The partners need to know that the businesses we invest time and effort in, are going to make a difference to their work.”
The innovation hub boasts an impressive portfolio of alumni, notable members including Avvoka, Draftwise, Definely, and the sustainable finance tech platform, Greenomy.
Greenomy will be returning to Fuse for a second year as an alumni member in 2022, explains Anna Blake, sustainability analyst at the company.
The Belgium-based firm is a 2021 Fuse alumni and has since won the 2021 G20 Techsprint for the ‘Data collection, verification and sharing’ category, was admitted to the FCA’s Digital Sandbox, and also received (an undisclosed) investment from Euroclear earlier this year.
Blake comments: “Over the past year, the Fuse innovation hub has provided Greenomy with excellent training and growth opportunities, including administering advice on how to create and execute a successful pitch and holding conversations around the most effective ways in which to refine, develop, and promote our solution to the UK market.”
Blake elaborates that as sustainable finance regulation is booming, there is a regulatory demand for corporates and financial market participants to fulfil more and more disclosure requirements. “Considering its excellent market knowledge, A&O is the best partner to understand this new segment, and Fuse offers us an experimental haven to help develop and promote solutions to corporates, asset managers, and credit institutions that are facing these new reporting burdens.”
Greenomy is currently working on updating their solution to incorporate the UK Taxonomy, with the objective of introducing it to the UK market one month after the introduction of legislation, which is currently being drafted. “The fuse innovation hub has given us the exposure to trial our pilot solution with UK customers and to ensure it is ready for them to navigate the maze of the new UK Taxonomy once it is released.”
From over 130 applicants, the new LegalTech companies selected to join Fuse include:
- CUBE - Helps regulated institutions by using AI to capture, track and analyse complex, multijurisdictional and multilingual regulatory data.
- Eperoto - Helps dispute resolution teams to perform risk-value assessments by utilising decision theory. It clearly shows the risks and rewards of legal proceedings compared with a negotiated settlement.
- Everchron - Helps litigation and arbitration teams to collaborate on matters via use of a centralised platform.
- Legalme - Helps claimants and their lawyers automate housing disrepair claims, improving resolution outcomes and allowing timely and effective client support. Automation provides increased access to legal aid and allows lawyers to increase capacity and focus on high complexity cases.
- neopolis - Helps lawyers draft documents in a collaborative manner by supporting simultaneous co-authoring and transparent version control. Its software can be integrated directly into Microsoft Word or accessed via a web interface.
Companies chosen in collaboration with Allen & Overy clients for this cohort are:
- CoorpID - Helps companies to gather, manage and exchange KYC documentation via a collaborative portal.
- Crowdz - Helps SMEs to improve their cash flow by providing access to a blockchain-based global invoice exchange and marketplace, which reduces obstacles in sending, paying and selling invoices.
- Genesis - Helps institutions quickly to build, customise and integrate software and technology platforms using low code software.
- Logical Construct - Helps legal and business teams extract and use the data contained in contracts using automated data extraction software and by linking the underlying contracts with the processes and systems driven by it.
- One Creation - Helps law firms and companies to track access to and protect unstructured data, using encryption software.
- Scribestar - Helps lawyers and issuers automate manual and repetitive tasks involved in issuing and maintaining securities. Its collaboration suite includes tools to assist with verification management and regulatory checklisting.
- SparkChange - Helps investors to meet specific decarbonisation objectives by integrating the global finance industry directly with carbon markets. Its specialist carbon investment products and data allows both financial returns and positive environmental impact.