Minesh Patel and Jamie Stuart are the founders of Amplified Global, an intelligibility tool that helps lawyers objectively assess and simplify the language used in contracts and other legal documents, making it easier for customers and consumers to understand and engage with the content.
Minesh studied marketing at university followed by a successful marketing career building digital solutions and managing global teams, across various sectors including Healthcare, Architecture, Publishing/Media, Property and Music.
What motivated you to start Amplified Global?
I live with hidden disabilities; I am dyslexic, and I live with another condition called Mears Irean Syndrome. This means that my brain plays trick on my eyes, so when looking at text, it sometimes moves, I see words that are not there or totally miss them and texts blur. My condition impacts how I process information whether reading, listening, or thinking, so it’s difficult for me to read, write and process information instantly.
The intelligibility gap for consumers is an issue that needs urgent attention, particularly as the number of vulnerable customers continues to increase in the wake of cost-of-living crisis.
Using existing tools, organisations don’t have an effective way to draft and simplify complex information scientifically. As a result, important information isn’t presented to a customer in a readily understandable form. This exposes organisations to complaints and to risk of mis-selling.
Amplifi’s Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning-based tool (patent pending) provides a solution. We help our clients assess and simplify complex legal and regulatory communications, so that their customers can understand and act on what they read. Amplifi also provides a strong audit trail for internal and external reporting, and insightful operational data, helping to mitigate risk.
Amplifi uses several methods to analyse documents, to assess how intelligible the information is. For consumer-facing communications intelligibility is a legal requirement.
How do you see your product fitting in within the legal industry?
Whether we like it or not, contracts of varying types sit at the heart of our day-to-day lives. Whether for e-commerce transactions, employment contracts, healthcare, or financial services. We know there are problems with how contracts are written and presented. They are long, complex documents, full of legal jargon that only another lawyer would usually be asked to understand.
We want to help the sector be able to create documents that are more intelligible, and easier to read and understand. There are countless language editing tools out there, most people use Microsoft Word, there are other tools which help with grammar and structure, and there are countless AI tools for drafting that are used by businesses for many purposes. However, there is no other tool that looks at intelligibility.
It’s an issue that is becoming more and more prominent across most regulatory regimes. When combined with the impacts of the pandemic, the increase in vulnerable customers and the emerging cost of living crisis, the intelligibility gap for consumers is an issue that needs urgent attention both in and out of the legal sector.
How has your product evolved since you started?
There were two main moments in our journey to date that have been pivotal and brought us to where we are today.
Amplifi started out as marketing content engagement tool, and we had multiple use cases. We had just finished a client contract, when in October 2018, I came across an article on the Financial Conduct Authority website which mentioned: “Consumer Duty” and further protection for consumers.
That was the anchor we needed to pivot and fully focus on developing the idea that there was a better way for consumers to engage with complex information, especially legal information.
We’d been searching to find our product market fit, we ventured in to the FinTech space but right in front us was our true home, we were just looking through the wrong lens! The LawTech Sandbox gave us the confidence we needed in what we did & opened a clear pathway to achieving our mission in the legal market.
What achievements and challenges have you seen so far?
We are an early-stage start-up and have several proofs of concepts live with active partners on our intelligibility and simplification tool. We have a growing client pipeline which includes financial service and legal firms, regulators, consumer advisory organisations, telecommunications, global fashion, and others.
We’re in the FCA regulated sandbox to test Amplifi against the new Consumer Duty regulations and we’re working with universities and academics on multiple research projects which informs our product development, as well as providing empirical evidence of the impact of a tool like Amplifi.
We still have some major challenges ahead of us, funding has always been a challenge, we’re not your typical product, we’re challenging a very complex and multi-faceted problem, so investors need to believe in our vision and that we can change the status quo, it would be great to get legal investors on board.
The second challenge is much opaquer where lawyers have said “it’s their job to make T&Cs as difficult as possible (driven by their clients)”. We recognise it’s a fine balancing act for lawyers so changing a mindset is a significant challenge but one that can be tackled head on and overcome by working and partnering with firms like Mischon de Reya to opening eyes and minds to what is possible.
What is your long-term goal for Amplifi?
Understanding complex information is a universal problem and one that transcends specific sectors. We have laid the foundations so that we can build a tool that is cross cutting across multiple regulatory systems and our goal is to provide lawyers with the necessary tools make complex legal information more accessible in future.
What advice would you give to those starting out in the legal tech industry?
- Time is precious so making each encounter count is crucial
- Innovation is still complex in the legal sector, so we’ve learnt to keep it simple and relevant to them to
- Value the people you bring into your team at the start as they will be a critical and lay the foundations to building a successful start-up
- Fundraising is hard and it’s a numbers game, so preservation is key
Keep an eye on Amplifi’s journey here as they continue to take on the legal sector!
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