NextLaw adds ‘smart contracts’ pioneer to start-ups portfolio

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18 October 2016


Beyond the Web: Internet of Things enabling data-driven contracts

Beyond the Web: Internet of Things enabling data-driven contracts

A company building contracts that automatically monitor enforcement and another producing software that simplifies legal compliance, are among the latest investments to be added to the portfolio of NextLaw Labs, the legal tech subsidiary of global law firm Dentons.

The Dentons business accelerator, along with start-up funder Seedcamp, has selected the pair to receive investment after a global hunt for promising legal start-ups.

Libryo helps employees in any organisation understand their legal obligations. Clause uses the data receivers and transmitters built into everyday objects – the so-called Internet of Things – to build ‘smart’ contracts,

The two companies were chosen from 80 applicants who responded to a ‘callout’ for lawtech innovations. A panel of judges from NextLaw Labs, Dentons and Seedcamp made the selection. The winners will receive mentoring from Dentons lawyers.

The global chairman of NexLaw, John Fernandez, said: “Libryo harmonises legal compliance… in ways that allow lawyers in any sector to navigate regulatory hurdles with greater finesse; and… Clause will revolutionise the way law firms and businesses handle contractual relationships.”

Explaining “dynamic, autonomous contracts” on its website, Clause said the sensors, software, and networking capabilities of modern components produced a variety of data that enabled automated contracts.

It described itself as “a revolutionary new contracting paradigm that uses proprietary technology developed over the last year to enable commercial contracts to ‘come alive’ and autonomously manage themselves in response to the state of the physical world.”

For example: “A data-connected contract knows the status of its terms, for example about whether goods are in stock, have been shipped, are in production, meet quality and transportation specifications, were delivered on time (or returned), are experiencing a defect covered by warranty, or were paid.”

Libryo is legal software that attempts to make easier regulatory compliance for companies and is currently in use in the fields of environment and health and safety, and social and corporate governance law.

It is based around “an intuitive dashboard which lists all legal obligations per the needs of its customers, enabling any person, working in any organisation to understand the legal obligations in any situation”.

Seedcamp’s investment manager, Tom Wilson, said: “We’ve been on the lookout for disruption in the legal tech space and for companies to bring the sector into the 21st century and believe both Libryo and Clause have massive potential to be real market leaders.”

Peter Flynn, Libryo’s co-founder and chief executive, said the company had already enjoyed “access to some of the top thinkers in the start-up world at the moment – not just theorists but guys who’ve actually done the stuff”.

At the end of last month we reported that Dentons, via NextLaw, was trialing software that helps to predict the likely course, cost, length and outcome of litigation,

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