Dentons-backed legal compliance start-up raises $1m for expansion

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29 September 2017

Jansen: Libryo has global potential

A law tech start-up that provides companies with tailored regulatory compliance advice, has raised just over $1m (£740,000) in a seed funding round that included investment from global law firm Dentons’ business accelerator, Nextlaw Labs.

London and Cape Town-based Libryo was one of two companies chosen from a global field of 80 applicants last year for backing by Nextlaw Labs and start-up funder Seedcamp. Both funders were also investors in the latest round.

Founded in 2016, Libryo – using software-as-a-service technology that does not need to be installed locally – sets out to answer a compliance question posed by the employee of a multinational company: ‘What does the law require me to do here and now?’.

Its publicity said: “Libryo’s platform enables any person in any organisation to understand where they stand legally at any time.”

It already has clients in the telecoms, energy, infrastructure, mining, and oil and gas industries, and in its first year had revenue of £150,000. It reported this had trebled in 2017 and it hoped “to reach a revenue of £2.5 million in the next 18-24 months”.

So far, the business said it had raised total funding of $1.2m. The latest round will be used to “expand its team with critical hires to further develop its product, manage customers and grow the business into new markets”.

In the past year Libryo – co-founded by South African chief executive Peter Flynn, chief legal officer Garth Watson and chief customer officer Malcolm Gray – has expanded from five to 50 countries, including 45 across sub-Saharan Africa.

The business plans to expand further across Africa, Europe, North America and Australia in the next 18-24 months.

Dan Jansen, chief executive of Nextlaw Labs, said: “We are very excited about the way that Libryo is tackling the legaltech space. The use cases that Libryo is focused on have global potential and we are thrilled to see how their product is resonating with the market.”

Mr Watson said: “Most regulatory law is not that complicated, but it is terribly organised with applicable obligations hidden across many legal instruments in reams of complicated legal text.

“To date, knowing what regulatory law requires of a specific operation has been a very manual and expensive process performed by lawyers and consultants. However, the problem is better solved by legal technology.”

Mr Flynn said: “For lawyers, we’re helping to alleviate some of the legal research work, which their clients are often unwilling to pay for, so that they can focus on adding premium value to their clients in other areas.

“We’re already seeing a huge appetite for our service across Africa, particularly in the legal domains of environment and occupational health and safety.”

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