ScaleUp story #1 : Libryo

Creating the library of laws for any country in the world

Carolina Soto
Nov 15, 2018 · 5 min read

Welcome to the first in a new series of articles on the ScaleUp Hub UK programme. Here, we will share the stories of the startups participating in this initiative, that the innogy Innovation Hub and Wayra have put together to help start-ups and scale-ups accelerate along the road to success.

So let’s get the show on the road with the first startup: Libryo. Libryo helps companies know the law that’s relevant to them, so that they can more easily comply with regulations, wherever they’re operating in the world.

For instance, think about a company that manufactures and sells cars in Germany. It has to meet health and safety regulations for its employees on the shop floor, plus tax regulations for commercialising the final product, as well as data protection laws to keep their customer and supplier data safe. These are just a few examples of the regulatory load a company has to deal with — and that’s just in one jurisdiction for one operation.

What if this company wants to expand to Mexico and set up an additional manufacturing facility there? Well, from the legal perspective it’s like starting from scratch, as different jurisdictions –even if the countries practice a similar legal system– have different regulatory law, not to mention the language barrier. In addition to that, regulations tend to get updated, and keeping track of all these changes is expensive and time-consuming.

The solution? Libryo can deliver custom legal registers in every legal domain in every legal jurisdiction. Libryo offers a scalable solution, accommodating single-site operations and multi-nationals working within complex regulatory frameworks. Using innovative tech, it enables compliance professionals and in-house lawyers to answer the question:

What does the law require me to do, here and now?

“Knowing the law should be easy, but it’s not”

What if law could be data that is easily searchable, understandable and tailored to any jurisdiction? Libryo is Google for law.

Before the existence of search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo!, people wanting to get more information on any topic would have to check paper-based registries (libraries, library catalogs, yellow pages, professional databases) or ask others for answers. But nowadays, search engines hold the answer for everything. They revolutionised how we collect and organise information. However, the internet is full of inaccurate information which can be a really big problem when dealing with compliance issues.

The Libryo Platform is better than any search engine when it comes to regulatory law, because it accurately delivers only the regulations you need to know, notifies you if there’s any legal updates you should be informed about, and provides plain language summaries of the legal text with translation functionality.

To date, The Libryo platform curates 20,000+ legal registers for businesses in over 50 countries.

As part of the ScaleUp Hub programme, we spoke to Peter Flynn, Libryo’s CEO and co-founder, about their vision and the challenges they face to scale the platform globally. You can find the entire interview here:

Challenges to scale:

Data exists in all sorts of formats; PDF, HTML files, Word documents. The hardest part of starting Libryo was figuring out how to get all the law in the world into a single cross-comparable uniform format that is also self-describing. But that’s done now. The next step is the automation of this data collection.

The idea of complete automation is fiction or like 50 years away, so the idea is to break it into more productive steps and either apply augmentation or complete automation to each step along the way. It’s like any production process. When you build a car, you first figure out that you need a door, then you take that door and you spray-paint it, but well, does it make sense for a human to spray-paint it? Can we use a robot? So you slowly tease out the steps and augment or automate along the way.
–Peter Flynn, Libryo.

  • Expanding to other domains and markets:

As previously mentioned, there’s different domains of law (tax, civil, environment, health & safety, etc.) which vary per specific jurisdiction. If you want to become the library of laws for any country in the world, having this information complete and up-to-date is crucial.

Libryo started off with environmental and health & safety regulations which turned out to be the most difficult to tackle in the repertoire of law domains. Each region, and even each city has different environmental regulations, compared to other regulations like tax which tends to be promulgated at a national level. But without planning it, this approach to do the most difficult first –or as Peter calls it “the soap opera case”– helped Libryo solve many problems along the way, making tax law automation seem like a piece of cake.

  • Finding the needle in the haystack:

The ScaleUp Hub programme has a wide range of possibilities for engaging with industry leaders, city governments and investors in the UK. As Libryo and the other startups in the cohort have already been shown, the possibilities are endless. But finding the one that’s going to help you the most can feel like finding the needle in the haystack.

You’ve got to look at all these opportunities that exist in this incredible initiative and find the one that really matches you very well, like hand to glove. As a startup you tend to want to pursue everything because you’re trying to grow as fast as you can, so the difficulty for us would be focus, picking up the right thing to take on and doing that with all of our heart.
–Peter Flynn, Libryo.

The big picture:

So far so good. Libryo has been steadily expanding and easing regulatory complexity for many companies around the globe. It’s turning regulatory law content into data that is easily understandable and tailored to each specific case.

And here’s where Libryo found the key for creating the operating system for all commercial discussions in the world:

The problem is regulations do not exist as data, they exist as content, so you cannot build apps on top of content but you can build apps on top of data.

If you think about a regulation, it is the operating system for all commerce. Everything we do commercially is ultimately governed by regulations.

Building Libryo as a platform on top of which many other people will start to build applications is even more exciting — providing content packs, providing a marketplace for professional services — all of which make commercial interactions more automated, much more efficient, less expensive and just create more transparency.

We are truly excited to see how Libryo will continue to develop in the coming months supported by the ScaleUp Hub programme.

Stay tuned for the next startup story in one week!

innogy Innovation Hub

The innogy Innovation Hub drives game-changing ideas that can revolutionise an existing business model or industry permanently. We are actively looking to invest in start-ups that have already demonstrated their value in the market and have the potential for exponential growth.

Carolina Soto

Written by

Innovation scout & Portfolio Manager @ innogy Innovation Hub

innogy Innovation Hub

The innogy Innovation Hub drives game-changing ideas that can revolutionise an existing business model or industry permanently. We are actively looking to invest in start-ups that have already demonstrated their value in the market and have the potential for exponential growth.

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