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Allen & Overy chooses eight companies to move in with firm for tech startup initiative

Allen & Overy has selected eight companies to be part of the firm's new tech startup initiative, called Fuse.

The companies, which include artificial intelligence software provider iManage, will move into a specially designed space within A&O's London headquarters next month.

They will work alongside A&O lawyers, technologists and clients to develop legal, regulatory and deal-related solutions. The companies will receive assistance in a range of areas, including business development, marketing, product development and testing.

A spokeswoman for A&O told The American Lawyer that there is no cost to the companies for joining the initiative, or for working out of the magic circle firm's offices. The firm has also not received stakes in the businesses. A&O partner and Fuse chair Jonathan Brayne said that equity is not the price of joining.

A&O received applications from more than 80 companies to join Fuse after opening the pitch process in May. The candidates were whittled down over the summer by a selection committee comprising senior figures from A&O, Amazon, JPMorgan, venture capital firm Balderton and peer-to-peer lending marketplace Funding Circle.

Fuse head Shruti Ajitsaria, a credit derivatives counsel in A&O's London office, said that the successful applicants were chosen based on whom we feel we have natural synergies with.

A&O already has direct links to iManage, as a user of its machine learning software. The company, which previously operated as RAVN, also counts a number of other law firms as customers, including Baker Botts, Dentons, DLA Piper, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters, Norton Rose Fulbright and Weil Gotshal & Manges. It won the Supplier Innovation: Technology category at last year's Legal Week Innovation Awards.

A number of other UK law firms have launched similar initiates over the past 18 months in an attempt to tap into the fast-growing financial technology market.

Addleshaw Goddard, Simmons & Simmons, and Slaughter and May are among those to have established funds to provide free legal and other services to so-called 'fintech' startups.

Fuse: The Grateful Eight

  • Avvoka: Digital platform incorporating a contract creation, workflow and analytics tool.

  • Corlytics: Provides regulatory risk intelligence, using forensic analysis and forecasting of fines and sentencing globally.

  • IManage (previously RAVN): Develops natural language processing and machine learning technology to organize, discover and summarise documents.

  • Ithaca: 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: Turns 'paper and email' based legal processes into simple and innovative software.

  • Nivaura: Developing an automated and vertically integrated cloud-based service for the issue and administration of financial instruments by small and medium-sized issuers.

  • Opus 2 International: Originally a developer of litigation and transcript management software, now developing a tool to support lawyers with the prospectus verification process.

  • Vable: Provider of content aggregation, automation and intelligence software.