Applications opening for Fuse, A&O’s tech innovation hub
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There are two application streams – a LegalTech stream open to any company and a separate stream chosen from nominations from A&O clients (which, like the cohort in 2023, will focus on digital assets and other uses of distributed ledger technology, including NFTs, payment and security tokens, and smart contracts).
Companies at any stage of development, or in any geographical location, can apply so long as their work is directly applicable to A&O’s lawyers and/or clients.
Investment in legal tech was a bright light in 2023, defying a wider slump. The sector raised around USD600m last year, according to Dealroom, with other high profile raises closing before the year’s end. Last year, of course, also witnessed a revolution in generative AI, with A&O at the forefront.
Many companies who have been part of Fuse are now incorporated into business-as-usual use within A&O. The A&O LegalTech Toolkit currently comprises 12 tools, 8 of which have been through Fuse. During 2023, Legatics, a transaction management platform, was used on around 400 client matters, and Definely had over 1300 unique users across A&O’s global offices. Last year Fuse received over 220 applications to fill four available spaces.
Past Fuse cohort members have gone on to great success in the legal tech market. For example during 2023:
- ArteriaAI raised USD30m in a Series B funding round, and were named in the 2023 CB Insights AI 100 ranking, recognising the most promising private AI companies around the world.
- Definely was ranked 23rd overall in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 of fastest technology companies in the UK and was the only legal tech company on the list.
- Legatics and Orbital Witness closed Series A funding rounds or GBP4m and GBP7.5m, respectively.
In 2023 we had more applications for Fuse than ever before, and our past cohort members had amazing success in their funding rounds and gaining wider recognition as legal tech. 2024 has all the ingredients for the year when use of legal tech really starts to become pervasive in law firms. Given the upcoming merger with Shearman & Sterling, I am particularly excited to have the opportunity to shape who we engage with this year through Fuse.
Shruti Ajitsaria, Partner and Head of Fuse
Applications will be accepted from 15 January 2024 to 5 February 2024, with final selection days to take place in March 2024. The new cohort is set to launch on 7 May 2024.
Fuse was the first permanent – and still unrivalled – space of its kind in any international law firm. Since opening in September 2017, it has hosted 60 technology companies, each resident for 6-9 months. Cohort members are supported in all aspects of business and product development to help them improve their business readiness and path to success. They gain access to A&O’s unrivalled network of lawyers, clients, and resources across the globe to help them scale at speed. In addition, companies can use Fuse’s physical office space in London and/or San Francisco during the programme. More information about Fuse’s last cohort is available here.