International law firm Allen & Overy is now taking applications from tech companies to form part of the second cohort in Fuse, an innovation space where they will work with Allen & Overy and its clients to explore, develop and test tech-enabled solutions.
Fuse opened its doors in September 2017 and for the first cohort – consisting of eight companies – the results have been impressive. The companies are tackling a range of challenges, from dramatically improving efficiencies in traditional legal processes to assisting asylum seekers in gaining access to pro bono legal representation and advice.
David Howorth, co-founder of contract creation, workflow and analytics tool Avvoka, commented: “Fuse has been a fantastic experience for us. The level of engagement from forward-thinking lawyers, and clients, has been incredible and really allowed us to enhance our product.”
Since opening, Fuse has welcomed over 2800 visitors – from Allen & Overy, clients and beyond – and also played host to the successful issuance from cohort member Nivaura of the world’s first fully automated cryptocurrency-denominated bond on a public blockchain infrastructure. What’s more, numerous client and internal product pilots have been launched in the tech innovation space since September.
Both early stage and more mature companies can apply online to work in a specially-designed area within Allen & Overy’s London offices on the boundary of Shoreditch and the City of London. They will be invited to work in the space for approximately five months. Once again, Allen & Overy plans to select a diverse range of legaltech, regtech and dealtech focussed businesses.
The application form asks applicants to describe their team, their company and the problem they are aiming to solve. Applications close on 16 February and a pitch day will take place in March, before successful companies move into the space in April 2018. The programme includes a lecture series in topics of interest to the cohort and the assignment of external mentors, as well as a designated Allen & Overy partner sponsor.
Fuse is being led by Jonathan Brayne, Fuse Chairman, and Shruti Ajitsaria, Head of Fuse.
Jonathan commented: “Fuse acts as a remarkable radar, enabling us to understand what’s out there in terms of technology-driven solutions to the challenges that we and our clients face every day. It has been fascinating to witness the practical application of some of the technologies created by the companies in the first cohort.”
Shruti added: “It’s clear that our first cohort achieved some quite extraordinary things in a very short space of time, so we’re excited about what Cohort 2 may bring. We look forward to receiving applications from innovative businesses with brilliant ideas.”