Working in the African legal context comes with its challenges, but it is exactly these challenges that have created fertile ground for building one of the world’s most innovative legal-tech platforms: Afriwise. Today, Afriwise is set to leapfrog as a global leader after acquiring leading AI-based legal software developer Pythagoria and unleashing its AI on Afriwise’s unmatched database of African legal information.
Artificial intelligence you can trust
Unlike any other offering globally, Afriwise has pioneered a model that combines legal-tech, AI and the deep legal intelligence of top African lawyers. Unlike other AI offerings (think ChatGPT), Afriwise can guarantee the integrity of its underlying information.
“Afriwise’s collaborative ecosystem affirms that the best solutions for Africa come from Africa and how, once again, Africa is leading the way globally, not in spite of but exactly because of its unique challenges and versatile dynamics.”
– Afriwise CEO Steven De Backer
Africa: the perfect innovation incubator
Any company active in Africa knows all too well how the lack of up-to-date and quality legal information can stymie business. While even basic laws can be difficult to find, there are other distinctive African legal challenges such as unusual concepts, incomplete and incoherent legal frameworks, lack of transparency and, critically, established practices that differ from written laws. In the past, solutions failed to meet needs, with providers not focused on Africa and information patchy, inconsistent, unstructured and not properly updated.
Embracing the African mentality of “every challenge is an opportunity”, Afriwise launched in 2018 by conceiving of an innovative approach to building and maintaining a cross-border legal-intelligence database in Africa.
To secure the integrity of this database, Afriwise teams up with 130+ law firms across the continent and, in an unusual move, shares the benefits with them. This has made Afriwise the largest truly collaborative effort ever undertaken in the legal sphere on the African continent. Today, leading organisations rely on Afriwise to find answers to their day-to-day legal questions for any African country. Having achieved this, the next step was to elevate the Afriwise platform by integrating AI.
Pythagoria is an AI-based legal software developer with a deep understanding of the legal world. Having already proven its value in developing cutting-edge AI solutions for global companies and European public entities like the Court of Justice of the European Union, the collaboration with Afriwise is expected to benefit not only companies active in Africa, but the African continent as a whole.
“The combination of Afriwise, its partnerships with leading African law firms and Pythagoria’s AI will match legal information and legal brains with incredible tech muscle power.”
– Pythagoria founder and MD Pierre-Yves Thomas
Pythagoria develops software solutions for knowledge management, natural-language processing, semantic analysis, keyword and concept extraction, automatic classification, and information extraction. It applies AI on legal data: a crawling and content-harvesting engine pulls in legal documents of any type, format, language, and size; a text-mining engine extracts the legal concepts and provides analysis and cross-linking; and a semantic search engine suggests queries and evaluates answers.
Data integrity at its core
Afriwise is already harnessing the power of Pythagoria’s AI by creating solutions to make it easier to manage the increasing complexity of compliance, automate processes and improve efficiency, such as AI-driven regulatory monitoring, real-time legal analysis based on (draft) legislation, case law and lawyers’ input and AI-based APIs for developing super smart applications.
Imagine you can monitor the general concept of “bribe”, across the entire African continent, regardless of the language. Imagine you also have instant access to related guidance on the topic from the leading lawyers in each country, as well as summaries of the laws and obligations. This is no longer a daydream.
The acquisition will allow Afriwise to offer even more features and build increasingly advanced legal-technology solutions, intertwined with the unique content maintained on its databases. Combining unstructured legal data, AI and analysis from top lawyers makes for a unique offering. The lawyers in Afriwise’s ecosystem know the legal problems in their own countries better than anyone else. Pythagoria’s AI will also be used by Afriwise to build local solutions together with in-country legal experts, which in turn creates a flywheel effect for learnings for the AI.
AI kept in check by human expertise
As both a legal-tech company and an editor with its own proprietary-information databases, the integrity of the data is guaranteed. Afriwise’s unique way of producing and maintaining legal intelligence in collaboration with law firms offers significant benefits for the use of AI. Afriwise does not need to build in the necessary guardrails that other AI-powered legal-tech companies need to prevent AI “hallucinating” and going off-track. No guardrails are necessary, as Afriwise’s AI benefits from legal information that has been prepared, fact-checked and updated by leading lawyers.