Probably the first clue that this wasn’t your senior partner’s CBA Legal Conference event was the disco ball and the dance music booming out of the doors at The Pitch the CBA’s first-ever legal innovation startup competition, hosted with LegalX.
Beagle Inc. was the judges’ choice after a fast-paced hour of presentations and questions about the latest in legal technology, winning a two-week residency at LegalX in Toronto.
Loom Analytics won the Peoples’ Choice Award, voted on by audience members after the event, winning a prize sponsored by Gowling WLG.
All five finalists are guaranteed an interview with the Chinese Angels Mentor Program (CAMP) where, if selected (and pending due diligence), they will receive an equity investment of no less than $200,000.
“In each of the pitches there was something to connect with the audience, whether they were the target audience or not,” said judge Chris Bentley, Executive Director of the Legal Innovation Zone and Law Practice Program at Ryerson University. “There was something they could all use in their practices.”
The Friday afternoon event brought together a shortlist of five legal tech innovators, who had seven minutes to present their ideas to a panel of judges: Bentley; Loik Amis, CEO of LexisNexis; Monica Bay, a fellow at Codex, The Stanford Centre for Legal Informatics; Jane Maguire, Executive Search at Shopify and Ottawa co-lead of Ladies Learning Code; and Alan Yang, Vice-President of China Canada Angels Alliance.
“It’s great to see all of these young people who will maybe be my competitors,” said Amis. “You’re on my radar.”
He congratulated the competitors on a good job, but said if there was anything missing in their presentations it had to do with information about the business model.
Aaron Solomon and Jason Moyse, co-founders of LegalX and veterans of many a legal tech pitch event, co-hosted The Pitch, and successful innovator Shelby Austin opened the event with Fred Headon, Chair of the CBA Legal Futures Initiative.
The shortlist was drawn from a total of 32 applicants by five online judges. A draw on Thursday evening determined the order of presentation.
Mona Datt of Loom Analytics kicked off the presentations, taking the stage in front of a full house of lawyers and potential investors, followed by Adam LaFrance of Knomos, Ben Alarie of blue J Legal, Colin Lachance of Rangefindr, and Cian O’Sullivan of Beagle Inc. All five delivered strong presentations both during their presentations and the 10 minutes of questioning by the judges. Austin awaited them as they left the stage, asking one or two softball questions about their experience which were broadcast to the audience while the next presenter was queued up.
“We’re trying to help equip you, our members, with the kind of tools you need in your practice,” said Headon in his closing remarks. “That’s the thinking behind today. Stick around when we’re done, chat with these folks, ask them about what about their proposal will work for you.”