A virtual assistant that can ‘read, reason and communicate’, and machine learning technology for document review are two developments that could be born out of the latest cohort of start-ups to join magic circle firm Allen & Overy’s ‘innovation incubator’. The firm announced today that five new companies will be moving into its Fuse space in May. 

Fuse was set up last year as a space where technology companies, lawyers and clients ‘collaborate to explore, develop and test legal, regulatory and deal-related solutions.’ Applications to join the second cohort opened in January; more than 80 ventures applied.

The successful candidates are;

  • Bloomsbury AI – an early stage company that uses natural language understanding, cognitive capabilities and machine learning to create virtual assistants that can be taught to read, reason and communicate;
  • Kira Systems – which provides machine learning technology for document review and analysis;
  • Neota Logic - a provider of software enabling professionals to build and deploy applications that automate legal expertise, processes and documents;
  • Regnosys - a ‘fintech’ company which aims to deliver ‘machine executable regulation’ and drive change in the financial industry’s approach to compliance;
  • Signal Media – an AI-powered intelligence firm ‘turning information into accessible, actionable business knowledge’.

Three companies from the previous cohort – Avvoka, Legatics and Nivaura – are staying on.

Jonathan Brayne, chairman of Fuse and A&O partner, said: ‘This cohort’s focus is very different to that of the first – there’s a strong AI theme here – but there’s the same sense of anticipation as when we opened our doors last September.’

Shruti Ajitsaria, head of Fuse and counsel at the firm, added: ‘Opening for the second cohort has enabled us to keep abreast of the constantly changing legaltech ecosystem and we’re really pleased with the standard of the companies joining us next month.’