Founded in 2016 in London by three South African entrepreneurs, Libryo’s platform enables any person in any organisation to understand where they stand legally at any time. The company has today announced a $1 million seed round to expand its team with critical hires to further develop its product, manage customers and grow the business into new markets.
The Libryo Platform was built to overcome regulatory complexity. Its fundamental purpose is to empower organisations globally, to know, for sure, what they are required to do by law and regulation. The team has developed cutting-edge technology to answer the question “What does the law require me to do, here and now?” The legal tech software-as-a-service is designed for compliance professionals and in-house lawyers to answer the question immediately and accurately in an automated, efficient and cost-effective manner.
Investors included in this round include previous investors Europe’s Seedcamp and Nextlaw Labs, as part of the Seedcamp X Nextlaw Labs partnership for early investment into legaltech companies, of which Libryo was one of its first startups. The round also includes new investor Innogy’s UK Innovation Hub, a corporate investor from the German-based energy company, launched earlier this year. In addition, Libryo received the backing of Force Over Mass, an angel aggregation fund, and a complementary group of angel investors.
The Libryo co-founders are also supported by two key advisors, Steve Gledden (Angel investor and ex CEO of EML) and Chris Field (Partner at leading London Law firm), who also joined the round as investors. To date the company has raised a total of $1.2 million, 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 $1million seed round will help to expand the business further 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.
Libryo was co-founded by South African Chief Executive Peter Flynn, Chief Legal Officer Garth Watson and Chief Customer Officer Malcolm Gray. According to CLO Garth Watson, most regulatory law is not too complicated, but it is complexly organised with applicable obligations hidden across many legal instruments in reams of complicated legal text. To date, knowing what regulatory law requires of a specific operation has been a very manual and expensive process performed by lawyers and consultants. However, the problem is better solved by legal technology.
The co-founders recognised a need to create a platform that was efficient and cost-effective, offering multi-national companies a better way to know of and be updated with the regulations faced at each operation. Libryo gives its users, who need not be legally trained, an intuitive search, real-time updates and truly site- and context-specific regulatory information, anywhere, at any time. To begin with, Libryo’s legal domain focus is on environmental and occupational health and safety in terms of the prominent international standards, such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
Peter Flynn, Co-Founder and CEO of Libryo, commented: “At Libryo we serve customers across many countries by providing certainty and comfort, through our process of providing the right regulatory information for them, at the right time. For Lawyers, we’re helping to alleviate some of the legal research work, which their clients are often unwilling to pay for, so that they can focus on adding premium value to their clients in other areas. We’re already seeing a huge appetite for our service across Africa, particularly in the legal domains of environment and occupational health and safety, and are at a key moment for our business as we look to expand our offering even further across the world and into other legal domains.”
Customers already using the Libryo platform include large and listed companies in the telecoms, energy, infrastructure, mining, and oil and gas industries, among others. In its first year the company had an annual revenue of £150,000, which has already grown nearly threefold this year. The ambition is to reach a revenue of £2.5 million in the next 18-24 months.
On the seed investment, Flynn added: “To have received the backing of these notable investors and programmes is a real validation of our product and the service that we offer our customers, as well as the huge market opportunity we see. We feel privileged to have their support and expertise as we expand our team, service and customer base, and feel confident that we are well positioned to meet our goals over the coming 18 months.”
Tom Wilson, Investment Manager at Seedcamp, commented:“We've been really impressed with the Libryo team since our initial investment and are delighted to be following on in this round. We see a real demand in the market for their product as evidenced by their strong traction to date across a number of jurisdictions. We're excited to see the team take the business forward and are confident in their ability to execute on their vision."
Kate Jack, Head of UK Innovation Hub for Innogy, said: “We're delighted to be supporting the Libryo team as they move forward into the next phase of their growth. We believe in the team's strong strategic vision and are excited by the opportunities ahead. As the first major investment for the UK Innovation Hub, Libryo is a key moment in our own journey. They are a standout example for us, as we look to invest into the most promising scale-ups driving game-changing ideas, identifying and fostering new digital business models with the potential to revolutionise traditional industries.”
In addition to its investment to date, Libryo was awarded the Seal of Excellence by the EU Commission managing Horizon 2020 and has recently joined the Kickstart Accelerator, participating in an 11-week programme in Zurich.