The latest corporate to join the ranks of those launching accelerator programs in a boost to bid their tech and innovation efforts is national law firm Mills Oakley, partnering with Collective Campus to find entrepreneurs working on concepts for new technologies or processes that will improve the way the firm operates or delivers its services.
Shortlisted applicants will be invited to take part in a three day bootcamp in Melbourne in October, during which they will receive advice from mentors and get the opportunity to present, test, and refine their ideas before a pitch night. The selected teams will then take part in the accelerator, which kicks off in January.
The firm will invest up to $500,000 in the participating teams, with the decisions around the distribution of this funding to be made on a team by team basis.
Mills Oakley will retain 7 percent equity in each team, with the potential for both follow-on funding at the conclusion of the accelerator and the opportunity for the firm to enter into commercial arrangements for the products or services created.
John Nerurker, chief executive of Mills Oakley, said, “New technologies and better processes are revolutionising the way law firms work. The best firms are actively seeking out innovations to deliver even better results for clients, which is why we are excited to announce the innovation accelerator.”
Participants – which can be teams or solo entrepreneurs – will receive a weekly stipend of $500 per person, travel costs, mentorship, and access to legal and startup networks.
Steve Glaveski, CEO and cofounder of Collective Campus, said the organisation is excited to partner with a “progressive” legal firm.
“Existing business model innovations and emerging technologies such as automation, artificial intelligence and blockchain promise to make the next decade one of great upheaval for many industries, not least legal services,” he said.
Mentors in the program include Mills Oakley partner Martin Checketts, head of operations at Blackbird Ventures and founder of CapacityHQ Samantha Wong, Law Advisor founder Brennan Ong, and CoinJar cofounder and CEO Asher Tan.
Contrary to the stereotype of the legal space being stodgy and set in its ways, a number of Australian legal startups have managed to make significant inroads in the industry over the last few years, winning support from established firms.
Sydney legal startup LegalVision, which gives customers access to hundreds of standardised legal documents and free legal quotes, earlier this month announced it had raised $4.2 million in a Series B round to continue its growth in the Australian online legal market and explore machine learning.
The funding round was led by commercial law firm Gilbert + Tobin, who had made a strategic investment into LegalVision last November. In just over three years the startup reports that it has assisted more than 15,000 business around the country.
Competitor LawPath also earlier this year partnered with global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright to offer startups and small businesses fixed-price packages through its online platform, while Law Advisor earlier this month announced it had raised funding from Google Maps cofounder and former Facebook exec Lars Rasmussen.
You can learn more about the Mills Oakley accelerator here.