The business processes in some sectors are easier to automate than others. Where binary data such as customer information or sales figures are central then automation can be relatively straightforward. However, the legal world is far more complex with potentially ambiguous legal interpretations, national variances and unique client requirements requiring a more nuanced approach to using technology in decision making.
London-based Libryo is adopting an interesting hybrid approach to helping organisations better understand the legal requirements of operating in different jurisdictions. In this interview with Libryo’s co-founder and CFO, Malcolm Gray, we get a glimpse into how the company is using algorithmic decision making combined with human expertise to streamline the legal workflows of clients. Malcolm talks about how they achieve this balance, their API and partner network as well as their pricing approach for this hybrid model.
Could you give us a brief overview of what Libryo does, why it was founded and what types of customers you have?
Libryo is an automated, cloud-based platform that helps organisations know the EHS law that applies to their business, in every jurisdiction. Law is poorly organised, changes regularly, it’s not searchable and is written in complicated phrases. Libryo liberates the compliance team from tracking law and maintaining it in spreadsheets, bringing a truly powerful time and cost saving content and updating platform to SHEQ and EHS teams. Libryo operates all over the world helping thousands of users to navigate their compliance. We work with a wide range of industries from energy, mining, FMCG and waste recycling to name a few, but pretty much anyone looking to manage their EHS legal compliance across one or multiple sites will find Libryo helpful.
How does Libryo differ from other legal register providers?
Standardising global regulatory data is very complex and we are yet to come across another organisation that is doing this the way we do – so it’s pretty unique in that sense. Then you’ve got the core platform that we’ve built and is being iterated all of the time to cope with this mammoth task we’re trying to solve. Compiling legal registers is painstaking, customizing them, and tracking them for updates is even harder and Libryo is bringing a powerful tool to SHEQ and EHS team adding bells and whistles on top of all this.
Libryo’s platform is interesting as it offers elements of SaaS to help clients with legal and compliance issues. How do you see the platform developing in terms of applying technologies such as AI and automated decision-making algorithms to your offerings?
Libryo will always have a human element to it. We automate what we can to become more efficient and this enables us to scale faster, but machines cannot learn how to perform some legal tasks, no matter the programming. For instance we have legal engineers, who always do a quality check before anything is published on the platform and apply meta-data tags to enable easy search. This is a highly skilled, complex job that no machine could learn and produce 100% accuracy. AI is actually a term we like to avoid at Libryo as it is easily misunderstood.
Traditional SaaS offerings use subscription models while legal services are often charged for on an hourly basis. As Libryo combines automated SaaS elements with advice from legal experts how does the company manage its pricing?
Libryo’s pricing is structured to meet your specific legal and compliance needs. The pricing is an annual subscription based upon several factors:
- the number of different operations in which your business is engaged
- the legal jurisdictions in which you operate
- the types of business activities
- the range of regulations and/or laws applicable to your organisation
- the scope of professional services you are seeking
Using this information we will determine the number of Libryo Streams (customised and tracked legal registers) needed for your business, plus any supplementary content/data and professional services necessary to solve your requirement. We have legal experts and consultants on hand to support legal questions, but we don’t offer legal advice. This is something best left to lawyers or in-house counsel.
The Libryo platform works with third party partners to delivers aspects of your service offerings. What do these partners do and what is their incentive for being on the platform?
Our partner network is growing as the need for companies to identify their local law is a complicated, time consuming task for most organisations (small or big). Partners often reach out just needing access to our regulatory database for their customers, however then they learn about all of the other functionality Libryo has to offer – which makes the solution far more powerful and whole for their customers actual needs. Libryo is a very niche and specialized product, and our API has been developed knowing this and making it easy to integrate with larger systems. Ultimately Libryo and our partners want to offer customers an easy-to-use, whole solution. We can see partners in all industries wanting to integrate with Libryo as it offers their customer’s everything in one place. We even see what could be described as “competitor” products partnering with Libryo, because of the legal database and infrastructure that we’re building.
The legal profession is often criticised for being slow to adopt new technologies and working practices. How do you see the sector developing over the coming decade and where will Libryo fit within that?
The legal industry is indeed going to go through a lot of change, or modifications. We think that trends like remote work, offshoring certain tasks, software enabled solutions and even self-service will change the way the profession operates. As far as Libryo’s role in this transition is concerned, we are focused on enabling the delivery of a time and cost-efficient legal, and other obligations, data set to customers, so that they know what to do to comply with the law and manage and improve their reputations. We see the Libryo ecosystem enabling a broad community of software and services to be delivered to the customer in their moment of relevance, aggregating around the Libryo legal data platform.
Through a funding round you recently raised £1.35m. How do you plan to use this investment to grow the business?
The recent funding will mostly be used to grow our team and our technology capabilities. We’ve come a long way, but have still got quite a journey ahead of us if we want to build the world’s regulatory database. The world is a big place! Watch this space 🙂