Business Day

Libryo raises $1m to expand globally

- Thabiso Mochiko Deputy Companies Editor

Technology start-up Libryo has raised $1m to expand its business. Started by three South African entreprene­urs, Libryo’s platform enables any person in any organisati­on to understand where they stand legally — at any time.

The Libryo platform was built to overcome regulatory complexity with the fundamenta­l purpose of empowering organisati­ons globally so that they knew and understood what they were required to do by law and regulation, the company said.

Libryo’s legal domain focus is on environmen­tal and occupation­al health and safety.

To date, the company has raised a total of $1.2m including its pre-seed round.

In the past year, the business has expanded from five to 50 countries, 45 of which are across sub-Saharan Africa.

The latest funding will help to expand the business across four continents — Africa, Europe, North America and Australia — in the next 18 to 24 months.

“A critical part of this expansion will involve strategic hires across product, operations and customer relations,” it said.

Libryo’s chief legal officer, Garth Watson, said most regulatory law “is not that complicate­d, but it is terribly organised with applicable obligation­s hidden across many legal instrument­s in reams of complicate­d legal text”.

He said that knowing what regulatory law required of a specific operation had been a complicate­d and expensive process performed by lawyers and consultant­s. However, the “problem is better solved by legal technology”, he said. Libryo’s customers include large and listed companies in the telecoms, energy, infrastruc­ture, mining and oil and gas industries. In its first year, the London- and Cape Town-based company had an annual revenue of £150,000, which had already grown nearly threefold in 2017, it said. It is targeting revenue of £2.5m in the next 1824 months.

In July, Bloemfonte­in-based technology start-up Xineoh raised $2m in venture capital funding. The company specialise­s in artificial intelligen­ce and machine leaning.

Start-ups, mainly in technology, have sprung up in recent years due to greater availabili­ty of bandwidth.

Fintech enterprise­s — aimed at making banking easier and more accessible — have had the biggest growth.

In 2016, $5.5bn of venture capital investment went into payment start-ups. This represente­d 22% of global fintech investment activity.

 ?? /Supplied ?? Innovators: Garth Watson, Malcolm Gray and Peter Flynn, the South African founders of legal-tech platform Libryo.
/Supplied Innovators: Garth Watson, Malcolm Gray and Peter Flynn, the South African founders of legal-tech platform Libryo.

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