Innovation acceleration: A&O announces Fuse line-up and LexisNexis calls for next round of startups

Allen & Overy has confirmed the eight companies which will work in its tech innovation space Fuse – with RAVN Systems (now iManage) confirmed as one of those companies – as  LexisNexis yesterday (24 August) announced a call for a new round of applicants interested in participating in its second legal accelerator program in Silicon Valley.
Fuse, which is based in A&O’s London office, is intended to create a space where A&O lawyers, technologists and clients will collaborate to explore, develop and test legal, regulatory and deal-related solutions.
The first company invited by Allen & Overy to join Fuse was Nivaura, which is developing an automated and vertically integrated cloud based service for the issue and administration of financial instruments by small and medium-sized issuers.  As entrepreneurs-in-residence, Nivaura team members will help to guide the tech companies selected to work in the space by sharing advice and business experiences whilst continuing to develop their own business.
Seven other companies have been selected to move into Fuse in September:

Avvoka – a digital platform incorporating a contract creation, workflow and analytics tool.
Corlytics – a business providing regulatory risk intelligence, using forensic analysis and forecasting of fines and sentencing globally.
iManage – previously known as RAVN, a business developing natural language processing and machine learning technology to organise, discover and summarise documents.
Ithaca – a charitable not-for-profit enterprise aiming to create a mobile-responsive online technology platform to assist asylum seekers in gaining access to pro bono legal representation and advice.
Legatics – a company that turns ‘paper and email’ based legal processes into simple and innovative software.
Opus 2 International – founded in 2008, Ooriginally a developer of litigation and transcript management software, now developing a tool to support lawyers with the prospectus verification process.
Vable – founded in 2004, Vable is a provider of content aggregation, automation and intelligence software.

iManage stands out among a group where 40% are at the prototype phase and 14% are still at concept stage and need the assistance of Fuse for business development or marketing, product development and testing.
A&O selected iManage as its document management system this year – having made the decision before iManage acquired RAVN – but plans to explore how RAVN’s machine learning-based software can extract value from A&O’s own data.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider about the business model behind Fuse at its launch in April, chairman Jonathan Brayne said: “We’re not going to charge companies for having a desk, there is no rental charge and investing in equity isn’t the price of coming. Investing in these companies is something we may do but we don’t view this as primarily an investment opportunity for A&O. We may invest if we find a business that has a particularly comfortable fit with what A&O does. But what we hope to do is to identify areas where technology can enable solutions to client challenges. That may come through these early stage companies or more mature ones coming in, but it may also come where clients bring us a challenge and technology can be part of the solution. That could be a revenue generating opportunity, whether a client engagement or some other structure.”
The companies were asked to present to the inaugural Fuse selection committee which included J.P. Morgan’s Oli Harris, Funding Circle’s Robert Kerrigan, Amazon’s Alex Wong and Balderton’s Sam Myers as well as Allen & Overy participants.
Shruti Ajitsaria, Head of Fuse at Allen & Overy, added: “This is an impressive roster of companies, which span a variety of technologies and departments. We chose the successful applicants based on whom we feel we have natural synergies with. We’re now preparing for Fuse to open so that we can begin to explore, test and develop the solutions that these companies offer.”
The news comes as LexisNexis yesterday announced completion of its first 12-week accelerator program for startups and called for a new round of applicants interested in participating in its second legal accelerator program. The new program begins on September 15, 2017.
Based in the Menlo Park, CA offices of Lex Machina, the accelerator program was conceived as a vehicle to give startups a leg up in the rapidly expanding legal tech industry. Participants have access to the content resources and expertise of LexisNexis and Lex Machina, with the programme led out of Lex Machina’s offices by CEO Josh Becker (pictured) with support from LexisNexis’ chief technology officer, Jeff Reihl; chief product officer, Jamie Buckley; vice president of US Product Management, Jeff Pfeifer; and Lex Machina chief evangelist, Owen Byrd.
The call comes on the heels of the successful completion of the inaugural accelerator program that began in April 2017. The inaugural accelerator participants – Visabot, TagDox,, Ping, and JuriLytics – were selected from a list of 40+ promising startups for the innovative nature of their businesses and their unique use of technology in the legal space.
“Our vision for the tech accelerator program was to identify some of the best and brightest legal tech startups, contribute to their early success, and then watch as their innovative technologies and vision transform the way law is practiced,” said Josh Becker, CEO of Lex Machina. “After observing the deep engagement and intense collaboration between participants and mentors, I’m pleased to say the program has exceeded expectations so far, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to select a new group of participants in the near future. We look forward to watching these dynamic organizations grow, prosper and make important contributions to the legal industry in the months and years to come.”