Word maker, a Scottish legal tech startup, has somehow managed to attract the backing of two well-known venture capital firms. The startup targets in-house legal teams and law firms with an AI platform that they can adapt to help other workers at the company. This way, anyone in the company can ask for help with legal tasks such as reviewing contracts and answering specific questions about a document.

Founded in October of last yearthe Edinburgh-based company is the creation of former TravelPerk executives Ross McNairn (CEO) W Ruby Falkenthal (COO), along with the CTO Volodymyr Zhezhnyak, who has served in various engineering roles at Microsoft, Facebook, and Instagram. Six months after leaving their previous positions, Wordsmith already has high-profile clients, Such as Trust Pilotwhile it is in partnership with at least one major law firm — For Piper.

This early traction has attracted attention Global VC firm Index Ventureswhich led a $5 million seed investment in Wordsmith alongside General catalyst and Gareth Williams, founder and former CEO Skyscanner Scottish Unicorn Tech.

That such a Scottish startup has secured the backing of two venture capital firms that have collectively invested in the likes of Facebook, Slack, Sonos, Airbnb, Stripe and Snap reflects not only Wordsmith’s early promise but also the lineage of the founders. Before joining TravelPerk, McNairn founded a travel management startup called Dorsai Travel. He sold it to Skyscanner just nine months after launch and became Skyscanner’s head of product. Then he joined another unicorn, Used shopping app LetGoBefore you land at TravelPerk.

Furthermore, McNairn is also a qualified lawyer, a profession he left after two years to become a software engineer.

Legally fond

The field of legal technology is hot. In the last six months alone we have seen the emergence of several “paralegals”, e.g Harvey I In the United States and Lighting In the UK, there are other legal technology startups, e.g certainly And legal In the UK, it managed to get a good rating and Series A rounds, As did Alexei (Canada) and Leah I (Sweden).

These companies approach the legal sector from different angles and regional focal points, but they have one thing in common: they are all riding the generative AI wave.

As with other sectors with heavy paperwork, legal vultures They are looking for ways To automate repetitive, labor-intensive work, so they can focus on more strategic tasks. This is where Wordsmith enters the fray, offering what its generative AI platform calls a “lawyer in the loop.”

while Harvey I Wordsmith is aimed at lawyers themselves, while Wordsmith is more aimed at employees within the firm, where legal teams configure the platform behind the scenes by connecting it to all their data sources. Attorneys remain available when needed.

Mcnairn draws comparisons with Something like TravelPerk, which gives SMEs a self-service business travel management platform that allows managers to define policies and approval processes. Employees make all their reservations within those parameters.

“TravelPerk is one of the big steps [we made] “It was that we went from trying to accelerate the travel team by selling them slightly better tools, to essentially enabling the rest of the business to self-book,” McErnern told TechCrunch. “And then the travel team ran it and looked at it and made sure it was calibrated correctly. This shift to just building tools for the job, rather than building tools for the rest of the business to work more effectively, is a big change in the way you work.”

Firms can configure Wordsmith in two primary ways: as an autopilot for simpler matters that don’t need expert oversight, and as a copilot where counsel is always on hand to give a stamp of approval before any formal responses are provided.

A typical workflow might include someone in sales needing to vet a new contract, or perhaps a buyer is trying to close a deal and needs access to information like the company’s security posture — the types of questions that are fairly standard answers. It is unlikely to change much. By querying Wordsmith, anyone can get the necessary information.

query wordsmith
query wordsmith
Image credits: Word maker

Other potential use cases might include someone issuing a company a subject access request (SAR), where Companies in some jurisdictions are legally required to comply Requests regarding access to personal data. In this case, Wordsmith can be configured to accept the submission, connect to the company’s ticketing system, and respond either with the requested information, or with a template response outlining timelines and next steps – whatever the company’s internal guidelines and processes are.

Typical behavior

Wordsmith uses a set of large core language models (LLMs), including… OpenAI GPT-4 And Claude Anthropy.

“We’re hiring the right person for the job,” McNairn said. “Some are really good at analyzing things like logic within legal agreements, others are really good at being very precise at helping us change language. Claude is really good at solving problems, and OpenAI (GPT-4) is great in every way, in different dimensions.”

Companies have shown A little fear In embracing generative AI, which McNairn said the company is addressing in different ways. This includes allowing companies to stipulate that their data does not leave the EU. It also promises not to train its AI on corporate data. Wordsmith creates a “private instance” for enterprises, meaning it connects to the data wherever it resides (such as Google Drive or Notion) to optimize responsiveness using the company’s own data, but this data is not used to train the model for other companies.

“We use A technique called RAG “Enhanced recovery generation,” McNairn said. “So, we don’t train on their data, we only use it when it’s necessary. We remember it, use it to inform the answer, and then give them the response.”

High frequency

While strengthening in-house legal teams will be Wordsmith’s primary goal initially, the company is also looking to work with law firms, as evidenced by its early association with DLA Piper. In this case, DLA – a billion-dollar global legal powerhouse – is co-developing AI agents in partnership with Wordsmith, with the aim of distributing this to its clients.

So, in effect, they are bringing their own technical know-how to improve Wordsmith in very specific legal areas. It could become something they can sell as a new type of legal service, likely at a lower price.

“It’s higher frequency and lower cost to handle corporate knowledge this way, rather than paying thousands of dollars an hour,” McNairn said. “that it [also] A much better way to show that they are progressive and looking to adopt AI.

This business model can work particularly well for small and medium-sized law firms, where Wordsmith can be engaged for larger jobs or attract more clients.

McNairns says that although this offering is still in the early design stages with DLA, Wordsmith will likely commercialize this product soon. “It’s not there yet,” he said.

With $5 million in the bank, McNairn says Wordsmith will now accelerate recruitment in both Scotland and the US. Today the company has nine employees, and while some are based in London and/or on the way up, McNairn says he is keen to make Edinburgh the company’s center of gravity.

“That’s the thing I’m excited about about the ecosystem,” he said. “There have been three unicorns I’ve been part of before this, and I just want to build something great in Scotland.”

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