ALN Kenya | Anjarwalla & Khanna (A&K) in partnership with Microsoft launched a dedicated Legal Tech Incubator that would cater to the specific needs of the African market. The tech incubator seeks to develop and promote innovative technology-based solutions to legal challenges and efficiently leverage technology to enhance law and legal practice in the continent.
Following the launch of the Incubator, start-ups and individuals with innovative ideas seeking to disrupt the legal industry were invited to make applications to be hosted by the Tech incubator as they develop their ideas. Over 70 applicants entered the contest which served as a resounding validation of the entire initiative. The shortlisted applicants made a 10-minute pitch to a ‘Shark Tank’ panel of expert judges comprised of systems engineering, corporate law, information technology, legal tech economics and informatics. The judges pre-qualified five finalists to present at the final round.
According to A&K partner in charge of innovation Dominic Rebelo, ‘the initiative aims to help budding entrepreneurs translate their ideas into viable applications for the African market and ensure access to justice. We’re honoured that Microsoft saw the value proposition and came on board as a partner and we look forward to leveraging our respective skills to help the start-ups’.
The finalists featured cutting edge innovations including a blockchain-driven platform helping founders raise capital for their start-ups, an e-commerce platform allowing users geo-located access to lawyers, Chabot capabilities, automated calculation of legal pricing, legal assurance, and legal jobs.
With disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, A&K together with Microsoft put in place a robust startup stimulus package fit for remote work in line with social distancing requirements. This included mentorship programmes, legal advice, business operations insights, and enrolment onto the A&K Mini-MBA program. Microsoft availed the Microsoft4Afrika Initiative; Microsoft Myskills4afrika; the Microsoft VILT Programs; Microsoft 4Startups; Microsoft Learn; and Microsoft Skills Lab. These opportunities focused on developing key skills, legal knowledge, targeted networking, and profile-raising during this difficult time.
A&K Legal Tech incubator is officially opening the doors of ALN House to the first cohort of three diverse start-ups after an extensive selection process. The start-ups will have access to state of-the-art technology provided by Microsoft, access to advocates, business services teams and a Pan-African and Global network of clients and potential customers, as they develop their ideas and their businesses.
The program will run annually for 6 months with Demo Days at regular intervals. A&K will leverage its continent-wide network to deliver a live market sandbox to the cohort.