Singapore has begun marketing itself to UK law firms wanting to access Asia’s lawtech start-up community, as well as UK start-ups wanting to expand beyond these shores, with what it says in south-east Asia’s first lawtech accelerator.
The Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) has launched a ‘future of law innovation programme’ (FLIP) that also includes pre-seed funding and government grants for companies basing themselves in the country.
SAL is a statutory body that promotes and develops the Singapore legal market, operating with a wider brief than the Law Society of Singapore.
Under FLIP, start-up law firms and tech businesses can operate out of a co-working space with shared services and facilities, and be part of a programme to help incubate their business ideas within a community of entrepreneurs, lawyers, mentors and investors.
It includes an accelerator phase for the more promising start-ups. They will have access to pre-seed funding of S$50,000 (£28,000) from SAL Ventures, a subsidiary of the academy, in return for equity, and may be eligible for grants from SPRING Singapore, a government agency that helps Singapore enterprises grow.
This will come alongside an “intensive 100-day programme to fast-track their business plans and get early traction with customers and investors”.
Paul Neo, SAL’s chief operating officer, told Legal Futures that he is already fielding interest from large UK law firms that want to collaborate with the academy to access the Asian start-up community.
He said: “We welcome start-ups and legal tech solutions providers in the UK to consider Singapore as a base from which they can foster innovations and test new models for the delivery of legal services in a digital age.
“FLIP is looking to create the first legal tech ecosystem in Asia to support start-ups in their access to mentors, funding and connections to the wider legal community.”