A&O puts its name to fourth Fuse start-up in new licensing deal

Allen & Overy (A&O) is set to license and roll out globally the technology developed by one of the start-ups that is part of Fuse, its core innovation space in London.

The start-up, Avvoka, was created in 2016 by David Howorth and Eliot Benzecrit, who developed a digital platform to allow businesses to automatically create, e-sign and store contracts online. The duo joined Fuse in September 2017 and recently extended their stay at the firm to further develop their product. 

“Document automation and collaboration technologies are not new to the legal industry but Avvoka have looked at the challenges faced by lawyers and their clients and have designed a product that manages the contract lifecycle in a holistic way,” Kevin Oliver, head of advanced delivery for technology at the firm, said in a statement.
As the firm involves start-ups on a non-exclusive basis, Avvoka has also taken part in Barclays’ Eagle Lab, a law tech incubator launched in Notting Hill last April and supported by magic circle firm Clifford Chance and academic partners such as UCL Faculty of Laws and UCL Engineering.
“Fuse’s primary purpose is to allow our lawyers to engage meaningfully with new technologies. Our decision to license Avvoka’s technology is driven by A&O lawyer demand, which shows the enthusiasm that our lawyers have for working in a client-centric way”, head of Fuse Shruti Ajitsaria added. 
Avvoka co-founder David Howorth said that working with the firm has given the start-up “a distinctive advantage” and the ability to “test and create products with lawyer input.”
“Having Avvoka in Fuse has given our lawyers a glimpse of the art of the possible,” Oliver told The Lawyer. “This has inspired them to want to try different ways of working.”
Earlier this week, Fuse announced teams from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Bank of England would enter the incubator in a bid to make regulatory reporting more accurate through the use of technology.
In the past, the firm has licensed the technology of three other Fuse participants – Legatics, Kira Systems and RAVN Systems – which was acquired by US document management specialist iManage in 2017.

In July, one of the participants, Bloomsbury AI, was acquired by Facebook for around $30m which left a space in the incubator for a new entrant.

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