RiskTech: Will This Save The Legal Industry?

RiskTech: Will This Save The Legal Industry? 1920 975 Raymond Blyd

Since 2016, the only sector impacting the legal industry which showed measurable growth of new ventures and funding is RiskTech. So is this the new “LegalTech”?

What is RiskTech?

RiskTech is technology that is helping you avoid prosecution from the government, litigation from anyone or bankruptcy by stupidity. We’ll get to the stupidity in a bit.

Originally the term RiskTech is derived from the more broad sector term RegTech which stands for Regulation Technology. RegTech was used to describe the companies and technologies that assisted FinTech companies in implementing financial regulations. How did RegTech become an industry in itself? I once studied the number of laws per sector in the Netherlands and the financial sector was a clear winner with the most number of rules.

We quickly realized that RegTech wasn’t limited to the financial sector during the analysis of profiles. We discovered a breed of technology companies managing risk and regulations in heavily scrutinized areas like Cannabis and Health. Recently Snoop Dogg backed Metrc raised $50 million to track weed. Other popular topics companies are tackling are Identity, KYC (Know Your Customer), Fraud and Privacy.

Not only the companies that prevent risk but also the ones that are insuring against it are considered RiskTech. While a lawyer may offer a legal product, like a contract, to cover a defined set of risks. Insurance companies use complex calculations on data to issue you a blanket coverage on the same set. Therefore almost everyone regularly pays for some kind of insurance policy but few have a legal counsel on speed dial.

Last but probably the first RegTech in human history is Tax. Everyone needs to pay taxes and not paying them puts you on a likely path towards bankruptcy.

There are over 170 unique labels we managed to put on RegTech companies in the Legalpioneer dataset. Here’s how we aim to make sense of the landscape:

SectorMarketAnd they do?
LegalLegalTechdoes legal work
 Lawfind legal work
RegTechRiskTechavoid legal work
 FinTechcomply with regulations
 WealthTecha (rich) FinTech subset
 CivicTechinfluence the law

Why is RiskTech growing?

First, we were digging for gold, then we were drilling for oil, now its hoarding Data. Tim Cook’s blistering attack on the ‘data industrial complex’ wasn’t just an indictment of “free” services such as Google and Facebook. It actually was the best marketing for the RiskTech industry.

This simple dynamic of danger in data has driven the growth and there is a metric that revealed this: Valuation. The average valuation based on our data set is calculated by taking the total number of companies in each sector and dividing them by total dollars raised in their sector. The horizontal ax shows the year a company was founded. By this measure, RegTech companies started in 2010-11 are now hitting full stride and for “as little as 14 million dollars in the bank, you have a fair shot in this market.

[chart id=”4881″]

How does RiskTech work?

Just like your email spam filter, RiskTech uses smart technologies to filter risk in data. A straightforward way to achieve risk-free data is to anonymize it. The latest 2018 funding dashboard featured two FinTech companies that offer to process payments anonymously in crypto or cash transactions.

Another approach to minimizing risk in data is to lock it up cryptographically with Blockchain. In our analysis of Initial Coin Offerings (ICO’s), we discovered that the second most popular use case for Blockchain was securing user data to monetize it. Ventures like ONO Social and Yours collectively raised 61.7 million dollars this year alone which is part of 133 million dollars raised in this area.

Finally, as an individual, you would like to avoid having a lapse in judgment send you to jail. It took Elon Musk a single tweet with two specific words (“Private” and “Secured”) and one $ amount (“$420”) to almost accomplish this.

If tech could have stripped any of these terms from the tweet before it hit the net, the Tesla board would have been very happy. This tech is already in use but, unfortunately, not for this purpose.

Saving A Fair Society

This post started as another RiskTech love story since the numbers showed more money sits in RegTech as opposed to Legal. However this year, all markets have been receiving a firm handshake from investors.

We all enjoy free but it comes at a price and giants like Facebook are slowly coming around to regulation. Therefore, RiskTech is making Legal great again.

So when you need to diffuse a bomb or clean up the damage, you hire a lawyer like Elon or testify before Congress like Mark.

But if you like to avoid the hassle or contain the drama, you build or buy RiskTech.

Unexpected Trends of 2017 in LegalTech: Peace, Privacy & Party

Unexpected Trends of 2017 in LegalTech: Peace, Privacy & Party 1484 441 Raymond Blyd

Our 2016 year review hinted Artifical Intelligence and Blockchain would make all the noise in 2017. However, this year’s data revealed three other signals which appeared on our radar.


We released a live sheet with now 78 CivicTech initiatives and an Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) dashboard. At one point this year CivicTech was the most valuable market in the Legalpioneer dataset. If CivicTech is the technology for policing our society, then ODR will be our court of justice. The main reason ODR appeared on our radar this year is the fact that out of 4 startups we registered using Blockchain to settle disputes, 3 of these were founded in 2017.

The political events this year have demonstrated how fragile a fair society is. How easy it is to lose stability in communities. And how expensive it has become for peace to prevail. CivicTech and ODR may be two ways to reclaim some civility and make our lives great again.


In order to find startups in the Data Protection (GDPR) and Privacy space, we analyzed 197 providers of GDPR solutions and found 68 that fit our profile. Similar to what we had noticed in ODR, the dataset revealed a 100% growth of Blockchain startups in 2017. If you were to rank ODR, GDPR, Intellectual Property (IP), and Blockchain as separate markets, GDPR is the second largest based on a total investment of $151 million in startups founded after 2010.

However, it is not the reason privacy surfaced in our analysis, it was data indicating a polar opposite trend.

Payment provider Wepay did a study among small business owners to find out their single biggest problem: Fraud. RiskTech startups founded after 2010 which focus on fraud prevention by Knowing Your Customer (KYC) have a combined total investment of $1.5 billion.

Are you worried that your data may be stolen and appear on the dark web? This startup has you covered. But if you like online shopping, want to quickly get insurance or credit, be prepared to get naked.


If PrivacyTech is the second largest market in LegalTech, Intellectual Property Tech (IPTech) is number #1 with approximately $1.2 billion invested.

Kobalt Music this year became the most funded ($805 million) LegalTech Company ever. United Masters is less than a year old and raised the current highest seed ($70 mln) of any LegalTech startup since 2016. By comparison, DoNotPay got $1.1 million seed in a seemingly bigger legal market with fewer competitors. Spotify spent over $150 million acquiring various AI (Niland) and Blockchain (Mediachain) startups to help it respectively find and managed music copyrights.

We mentioned before that LegalTech did not produce the profitable exits for investments. The exception is music copyright startups and they are leading the way once more in showing how lucrative the entertainment industry really is.

Finally, you can stop wondering where the party at.


To sum this all up: scholars called religion the earliest version of Virtual Reality (VR). If so then the Rule of Law is the most powerful VR game ever created. That is why we need CivicTech and ODR to keep the cheats in check.

We have given Google and Facebook more information about ourself then we may realize, just to find what we need or connect with our friends. Yet we are on the verge to volunteer more data for the convenience of online commerce. We won’t mind sacrificing our privacy for a discount and we’ll always click “Ok” to proceed to get what we want.

All this relentless automation will naturally lead to more leisure. Time we’ll use to indulge our creativity and be entertained. This will produce an economy of art that will rival the Renaissance. Some are already cashing in so let the party begin..

Stay tuned: we’ll wrap up this year on Christmas Eve with our 2017 review:

2017: Year of The Records, The Recognition, & The Reckoning.

Why We Hunt For Harmony in LegalTech

Why We Hunt For Harmony in LegalTech 2560 1440 Raymond Blyd

After hunting 214 apps on Product Hunt and gathering them in the Epic Collection, here are some new theories on what a legal app really is. Or should be.

Two years ago I had 3 insights:

  1. The top voted legal apps are least likely to come from legal professionals;
  2. Practical is popular with hunters;
  3. Blockchain is an epic technology;

About 143 apps later, I’ve noticed some other trends.

Contracts & Taxes

One of the 27 tax apps I saw was literally called Death & Taxes. Ironically, it has since died. Nonetheless, the most hunted apps help you run your startup and deal with..contracts. Since most apps help you generate contracts, I was a little disappointed in the number of apps that actually help you understand them. Nevertheless, I was charmed by the simple beauty of some generators like this homegrown one:

Privacy & Harmony

With just 30 apps totaling over 11,000 votes, Privacy and Civictech seem to be dear to our hearts. To illustrate this strange struggle: Arrest SOS can be classified as a Marketplace but it feels more like CivicTech. Because our reality of increased risk, surveillance, and scrutiny, shouldn’t diminish our right to a fair treatment by those in power.

In another spectrum, I discovered examples where privacy was exposed by choice to ensure safety. Apps like CitizenWatcher or Companion literally help you navigate your city like a Redzone or be a Vigilante.

Patterns & Warnings

If you visit the Epic collection you’ll see the top 3 mirror the pattern described above: first is a curated source for founders, and the third is a payment app called However, it is the second on the list that had my attention. A message for the Legal Industry: #FinTech is here.

Btw, if you are a little confused by the methodology of tagging legal startups e.g. isn’t Patents part of Intellectual Property? Or when is FinTech a legal app? It’s tough and you can read here some of the challenges of classifying legal. Ultimately, tagging legal apps according to legal principles may not make any sense in the real world. Besides our lives are already complex, we don’t need legal to make it worse.

So the rationale is to capture the apps that seek to reduce complexity and restore harmony in society. I believe that is what the legal industry was trained and hired to do.

Join the Hunt

PrivaCeee: How to Protect Our Most Precious Asset

PrivaCeee: How to Protect Our Most Precious Asset 2048 1152 Raymond Blyd

There I was at the dinner table, looking at my little diva shooting her latest music video. Pondering how to write my Privacy Policy in such a way she would a least give it a glance. Then I realize, she and millions like her will never read a legal document on the web…unless they could perhaps watch it like a music video.


I’ll admit, I never wanted to have a legal document on my site. It’s the most user unfriendly and universally ignored part of any service. Why would you write a document that nobody wants to read? Is there any way to design for legal that it can actually serve its purpose? More important: how do you protect the most vulnerable demographic on the web from squandering their most precious digital asset? According to “Growing Up Digital”, a report by the UK Children’s Commissioner: 0% of 8- to 11-year-olds don’t understand what they sign when they join a social media site.

This has spurred several initiatives. From creating classes around 5Rights, an idea created by Beeban Kidron, a film director who said children’s online safety is “too vital to leave to the government.”. To a lawyer rewriting Instagram’s privacy policy so kids and parents can have a meaningful talk about privacy. All commendable efforts but I don’t think it would make a dent. The reality still is that it takes 2.3 seconds for an average (adult) consumer to accept terms of service and sign away the rights to their first born. This behavior is unlikely to be changed by any activist, government nor lawyer.


It’s obvious that companies are struggling. It seems they all need to vacuum every little nuance of our digital presence in order to provide their service. Evernote famously had to apologize for its privacy policy providing their robot and employees free reign on your notes. defended it’s handling of young users, as it raced past 40 million users. Security experts warned that Meitu, which is a free download on Google Play and the App Store, requires way more data from users’ phones than is necessary for a simple photo app. Even old trusted toy makers put our most vulnerable at risk. Hackers showed they could access location data about children and steal voice recordings of children through the app that connects to Hello Barbie.

However, 150 experts, that gathered on Data Privacy Day belief you will get control of your personal info. They trust capitalism to be the catalyst for companies to safeguard data. This may not be as naive as it sounds since studies show the stronger a user believes in having understood the privacy policy, the more he or she will trust the company. Making a strong transparent data protection policy and sticking to it may turn it into a company asset.

Now how do you create a credible company? I once read somewhere: “..With over a million prolific ‘writers’, the legal industry is the biggest publisher in the United States, eclipsing the entire media and print publishing industry, according to the 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics..”. I doubt we really need “more publishers” to draft unique descriptions of how companies handle user data. Especially, when you can automate it. Here are some generators that can:



Other Legal Documents


Even though I tried some of the above generators, I still wasn’t satisfied with the output. While my little diva keeps generating more data and exposing more of her digital self, she will never be fully aware of what happens with her data. Worse, since she may not understand, she will never be in control. In order to protect her, I embarked on this journey: to design a way for everyone to stop and take notice of data protection and privacy policies.

First, your data protection policy is not supposed to be a tool lawyers use in court but rather a guide to make your consumer more comfortable with you. Therefore it should not be just text and can be more visual.

Second, only after reading the policy out loud did I become conscious of what I was actually asking from site visitors. Making it more audible makes it more real.

Finally, not only by acknowledging it as the product owner but as a parent, it dawned on me that our Privacy is Priceless.

My plan: make a video to explain the Legalcomplex Privacy Policy to my little girl. As far as I know, it’s the only such video in existence on Youtube. My hope is more will follow and create Privacy Policy videos. If you do, let the world know by tweeting it to @PrivaCeee.

My plea: explain your data policy to our children. They are the future so watch it!


My daughter came to me last week showing me a message from one of her apps. It said that the app’s privacy policy had been updated. She looked at me: I know what this is! Is what we have been shooting the video for, right? I said: Yes. She didn’t read it but she did take notice.

Apple’s Backdoor is Unlawful…with One Exception & One Solution

Apple’s Backdoor is Unlawful…with One Exception & One Solution 2048 1152 Raymond Blyd

I was quick to condemn the courts forcing Apple to create a backdoor. I couldn’t imagine any situation where it would be justified…or maybe I could?

Yesterday I drove home thinking: there really are no legitimate circumstances where this judgement could stand. And many are siding with Apple but one provided a balanced response which gave me pause:


It suddenly flashed through my mind that there may be one exception: If one of my little girls had gone missing and her iPhone contained the only clue to her whereabouts. Let me first pray ??  and knock on wood ✊? that it will never happen. But if it did, I would move heaven and earth … and most likely beg Apple to unlock her phone.

I’m a big proponent of privacy because it creates trust. When Apple introduced Touch ID, I was hoping for the end of password tyranny and the dawn of a more considerate and secure digital age. Any large institution, with the power to invade my privacy at any given time, must honor my basic human rights.

That’s easy to say when it is just my life. Amber alerts set a precedent that gave authorities extraordinary powers including the ability to send everyone’s an SMS, even if their number was private. It might be worth considering alternate ways to provide access to, at the very least, loved ones to retrieve critical information under certain conditions.


In his Message to customers, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook eloquently explains why their smartest engineers designed security into the iPhone. In that same spirit and passion, I hope Apple have Legal engineers design ways to resolve ethical issues into its products. Coding security is possible, now let us give morality encryption a try.  Inevitably, the Future of Law should have us moving from Courts to Code and Apple can lead the way.

I hope brighter minds than mine will ponder and prevail in this dilemma. So while Apple’s backdoor may seem unlawful, having no exception will feel as awful.

Meanwhile, I’ll work on creating enough trust between me and my angels, that they’ll let me know their password.

The Power of Privacy and The Value of Confidentiality

The Power of Privacy and The Value of Confidentiality 453 276 Raymond Blyd

Google’s Vint Cerf, who is recognized as one of “the fathers of the Internet,” stated “Privacy May Be An Anomaly.” Historically, he is right in some context. We used to bathe in the open and wore less and more revealing clothes in the past. Some won’t mind going back to those days but ever since humans acquired the ability to communicate it always had the option to do it in private. Moreover, confidentiality is the corner-stone of several business sectors such as Health, Legal and Finance. So the question is: as a professional, who will you trust?


Snapchat – a service that provides self destruct photo messaging – turned down a reported$3 billion offer from Facebook. Whatsapp claims to have more users than Twitter and handles more messages than Facebook. Bear in mind that Twitter and Facebook are free and Whatsapp is not*. In Asia, Wechat and QQ combined rule the messaging airwaves with more than a billion users. All these social messaging services enable users to communicate much in the same way we use email and SMS. Better yet, social messaging challenges the connections we make by phone, email or SMS. A recent study by industry-analysts Informa indicated that by the end of 2013 OTT (Over The Top) messaging traffic should be twice that of traditional SMS texts, topping out at around 41 billion messages sent every day (compared to 19.5 billion sent via SMS). More importantly: I believe services like Snapchat are popular because they simulate a sense of privacy traditional communication use to provide.


One might suspect that the push for more privacy is driven by an older more conservative demographic. Actually, it is quite the opposite. Recent studies revealed teens are fleeing social networks while elders, the only growing group, are encouraging them to stay on and broadcast. So if those who share scatter, but the spectators multiply, it is likely that privacy backlash will lead a ‘Trust Revolution’. This is already evident in the legal industry were legal tech experts predict ‘security awareness’ to be among the top priorities for law firms in 2014. To be specific: maintaining confidentiality of client information will be the top priority for law firms according to this article. This is especially more pertinent where professionals rush to the clouds out of convenience. Thus the question is: who can you trust?


In a previous post, I touched upon Apple’s fingerprint technology as a valuable breakthrough which might have far-reaching implications in how we communicate. Imagine securing not only your phone but all your documents with a fingerprint instead of passwords orproperly identify parties you communicate with and have them sign with their hands instead of a John Hancock. While I’m truly grateful I’m still hesitant to completely place my faith in any one company that either needs to lock me in or lure me to reveal information for ads. Free is very attractive but my soul is priceless and I value a whisper among the trees as much as shouting from the rooftop. As a legal professional, I can imagine doing business with a company that understands my needs. As a Wolters Kluwer employee, I will always strive to secure the trust our customers place in us.

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