Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM), one of India’s largest corporate law firms has launched the second batch of its legal-tech startup incubator- Prarambh, senior executives at the firm said.
The firm plans to pick 3-5 startups and mentor them over a 10 week period to develop solutions that align with the practical requirements of law firms, corporate legal departments, judiciary and independent practitioners.
It is inviting applications for the second batch from October 12-25, and expects to shortlist the final candidates by mid-November.
Areas that CAM is looking for these startups to tap into include improving access to justice, making transactions more efficient, improving law firm operations, litigation competencies, accessing government programs and reforms and enabling remote workforce operations.
Unlike typical startup incubator or accelerator programs, CAM does not invest money upfront. “We will keep the option to invest later, depending on how these companies turn out. We can take a small stake, 5%, or even consider acquiring later on. The focus is on providing intellectual support now,” said Rishabh Shroff, partner at CAM.
In its first batch in February 2019, the law firm received applications from pre-product and idea-stage startups, as well as more mature startups which had a product. However this time around, CAM is looking for more mature startups- at least with a product, Komal Gupta, head of Innovation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the firm said.
Its winners from the first batch were Leegality- which automates documentation needs such as e-signature and stamping; LegalMind- which uses AI to break down legal judgements and provide analytics; and JRTC Intern- which provides a standardized test to for law students to know whether they are ready for an internship.
This time Prarambh will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sometimes for incubator programs, working virtually can be a challenge when young founders expect some mentorship, hand-holding and in-person interactions.
“Conducting the program virtually this time is not an issue. We have been closing billion dollar deals virtually, with no hiccups. Having a virtual cohort here makes it very easy for startups across India, even globally, to participate in Prarambh,” Shroff said.
The law firm is also working to ensure post-program support for the startups. “This time we are also focusing on what to do after the program ends. We can still help them with growth, finding investors, vendors and connecting them to general counsels and banks,” Gupta said.