Startups

Cyril Amarchand Renews Tech Incubator With Social Justice Focus – Law.com


Indian law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas’ second cohort of its tech incubator, Prarambh, has concluded after four months of incubation and development. 

Held virtually this year, the second cohort consisted of three ready-to-scale start-ups – Conduct, Presolv 360 and PropertyChek – selected out of 24 applications earlier this year.

The firm’s latest batch of participants went through a shorter period of incubation this time around – 16 weeks instead of the 26 weeks the first batch went through. According to Komal Gupta, Cyril Amarchand’s chief innovation officer, the shorter incubation period which was decided upon as part its learnings from its first cohort program, helped eliminate any sense of complacency and increased the speed of progress.  

“This time, the right decision was also to focus on development stage and ready to scale startups,” said Gupta. “One of the learnings from before was that we have to focus on whether or not the product is actually solving a problem, is it scalable and how serious are its founders and teams about their product and initiative,” she added.

While all three legal tech products have their commercial attributes, the ideations stemmed from personal experiences in dealing with some of India’s chronic issues, processes and systems, the founders said. The solutions, therefore, focus on increasing and equalising access to justice, improving and automating the legal system and processes, and solving social issues.  

Conduct is a tech solution that targets in-house teams at corporations, putting in place and automating policies and protocols around staff conduct and dealing with complaints including those of sexual allegations.

“Even though it’s mandatory that every company has an internal committee to deal with these internal complaints, there’s also a timeframe within which they have to resolves these matters and do a fair hearing and evaluation, it is quite neglected by companies,” said Pallavi Pareek, founder of Conduct. “Conduct is trying to convince the market that these issues are important, necessary, not one to ignore and avoid,” she explained. 

Presolv360 deals with the issue of inaccessibility to justice in the disputes space, particularly for small to mid-value commercial matters. Via a cloud-based and end-to-end platform, the tech solution helps facilitate and automate facets of the dispute resolution process.

“We realised there has to be a more a more innovative and tech-friendly approach to help people resolve disputes without actually having to go to court at the first instance,” said Namita Shah, co-founder at Presolv360.

“We started researching on how disputes are being resolved and we realised we can digitise each of those processes step by step. Now disputing parties have the luxury of actually participating and resolving their disputes from their homes, and it is done at a fraction of the time and costs of traditional methods,” she added. 

The final product, PropertyChek, works to digitise the title deeds and real estate checks system, providing a digital infrastructure and removing entirely the need to physically travel to registry offices, a requirement that created significant issues given the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

“All the data is currently owned by the government, and is provided only by written records,” said Uday Kiran Chakka, co-founder of PropertyChek. “There isn’t good regulatory support right now for that, so we are looking for federal regulatory support to make this more accessible by involving private parties like us,” he added. 

However, for these solutions to gain traction more widely and develop a level of gravitas in the market also means they need a level of commerciality, explained Gupta. Prarambh Cohort 2, therefore, focussed on helping the startups develop and improve their products, businesses cases, and business development and growth strategies, and build on foundations including governance, risk and compliance.  

Each startup was assigned four mentors from Cyril Amarchand: two partners from practice groups that are most relevant to their product, and two others from the firm’s innovation team. 

Cyril Amarchand is currently holding internal discussions regarding potential investments into the startups. 

“Most of the top law firm incubators will be focussing on products they can ultimately subscribe to, or investment, that is that goal,” said Gupta. “But for us it is about the industry how the industry benefits and the problem that these guys are trying to solve, does that impact the legal industry as a whole. If the by product is that CAM can benefit from these solutions, then sure, why not, but our focus has never been on how CAM benefits.”

Prarambh’s first cohort was launched in 2019, with three start-ups, namely JRTC Intern, Leegality, and LegalMind.



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