Slaughter and May has invested in artificial intelligence (AI) platform Luminance as part of a $10 million funding round that values the London-based company at $50 million.
The investment was led by early-stage venture firm Talis Capital, with Invoke Capital Partners, a technology investment business started by former Autonomy Corp. co-founder Mike Lynch, also contributing.
The funds will be used by Luminance, which launched in September 2016, to support its newly opened headquarters in Chicago, further expand its operations in the U.S. and open a new base in the Asia Pacific region.
Slaughter and May, a London-based legal giant that began working with Luminance last year, has also reportedly taken a 5 percent equity stake in the business in return for the company’s help in developing its own AI software.
Luminance declined to provide details of its current stake, as well as that of Invoke and Talis. Slaughter and May did not respond to a request for comment about its financial stake in the business, although the firm did discuss its decision to invest.
“The knowledge we have gained through piloting, testing and using the software on live transactions gives us real confidence in what we consider to be a highly differentiated due diligence tool,” said Slaughter and May corporate partner Sally Wokes. “Our decision to invest in this latest funding round reflects our belief in Luminance and our commitment to harnessing innovation for the benefit of our clients.”
Luminance CEO Emily Foges told Legal Week the need for funding was driven in particular by customer demand for a global service.
“It’s really just about having enough people to meet the demand. We’re not operationally heavy, but our customers want a relationship with the Luminance team no matter where they are,” Foges said. “We’ve opened Chicago with [a] view to boosting that presence In the U.S. and we are scouting out a presence in the APAC region. Singapore would make sense in terms of access to the U.S. West Coast. We will send a scouting party to Singapore in January.”
This summer, Cravath, Swaine & Moore, a firm that frequently works with Slaughter and May on cross-border deals, said that it would adopt Luminance’s technology for transactional work. Chapman Tripp, a leading law firm from New Zealand, announced earlier this month that it had selected Luminance to assist on document review and due diligence work on domestic and international M&A deals.
Other firms already using Luminance’s technology include Australia’s Gilbert + Tobin and leading Iberian firm Uría Menéndez. Richard Susskind, a futurist who has a new book out about the future of the legal profession, has said that the advent of AI will eventually lead to robots assuming tasks traditionally handled by lawyers.