Deloitte Legal is announcing a collaboration with Conception X, a venture builder that empowers students from the UK’s leading Ph.D. programs to create deep tech start-up enterprises. Through the university-as-an-incubator premise, Ph.D. students in tandem with their degree will apply their original research to help solve future problems within the legal sector and other industries.
The collaboration, which sees Deloitte Legal becoming Conception X’s exclusive legal and professional services partner, was formalized after Conception X’s participation in the launch of the inaugural Deloitte Legal Ventures program, announced last year.
The tie-up will see students paired with mentors from across Deloitte Legal, Deloitte Ventures and sector experts from the wider Deloitte firm who will help students identify application areas for the nascent technology. In return, Deloitte’s experts will improve their understanding of new technology and gain foresight on how legal services and other businesses are likely to be disrupted in the future.
Conception X’s development of corporate partner relationships with firms such as Deloitte Legal helps support Ph.D. students, who often conduct research without a clear application area, whilst influencing the real-world implementation of the technology. Deloitte Legal’s investment, combined with the continued support from Barclays Ventures (Conception X’s founding partner) provides continuity for the Conception X program to run new cohorts, accepting applications from Ph.D. students from leading universities across the UK.
Laura Bygrave, innovation and ventures lead at Deloitte Legal, commented: “Through our Deloitte Legal Ventures program we re-imagined how lawyers could engage with early-stage companies. Working with Conception X allows us to take the premise a step further by seeding talent at the earliest possible stage to explore technology solutions to the unknown legal problems of tomorrow.”
There is a breadth of deep tech research areas that can be applicable to the legal industry. Examples include ensuring algorithms adopt strategies that are not lawbreaking; the creation and implementation of blockchain-based identity management systems, or using AI to analyze company structures to suggest optimum productivity.
Bygrave added: “From augmented reality to quantum computing, a deep tech will transform virtually every aspect of business and society. This program is designed to encourage the brightest students to experiment in fields that will shape the future of multiple industries.”
Conception X accepts applications across several research areas including artificial intelligence (‘AI’), machine learning, genetic engineering, blockchain, and quantum computing. The first two cohorts have seen the start-ups incorporated by Ph.D. teams, collectively raising a total of £5 million and generating revenue of £2 million. Cohort III saw applications from 18 institutions across the country. It commences in late February 2020 with new Ph.D. teams aiming to solve big challenges in an ever-changing world.
Dr. Riam Kanso, chief executive officer of Conception X, commented: “Conception X attracts Ph.D. candidates from the best UK research universities. The announcement means we can now pair these talented students with professional services experts throughout Deloitte’s broad network.”
Chris Hardman, partner sponsor and lead for corporate and commercial law at Deloitte Legal, commented: “Combining students’ deep technology expertise and problem-solving skills with the vast industry knowledge of our legal and other professionals makes for a compelling collaboration.
“Together with Conception X, Deloitte Legal is looking to shape the future of law through research and development, working closely with the brightest minds in the country to create, grow and commercialize transformational solutions for the profession and beyond.”