Meet Christophe Bostyn, new COO at Afriwise: “The ambitions are sky-high. The core of Afriwise remains its legal data warehouse, but you’ll see an acceleration in the applications built around it”

In this interview, we are speaking with Christophe Bostyn, the newly appointed Chief Operational Officer (COO) of Afriwise. We'll delve into why he joined the Afriwise team, how he looks at the legal landscape in Africa, and how he sees the company develop.



To kick things off, can you share a bit about your journey and why you have decided to join Afriwise?


Absolutely. For the last 6-7 years, I had the opportunity to enjoy different Leadership positions in an incredibly fast-growing SaaS company, named Showpad. Throughout that time, I’ve become very passionate about the scaling and multiplier mindset, which was at the heart of everything I did. 


My decision to join Afriwise is the people, the market and the opportunity. The founder has surrounded himself with an incredibly talented team, innovation in the legal industry is accelerating, investments in Africa are accelerating and the value proposition is both unique and compelling. Add sky-high ambitions, and you have the ingredients for hypergrowth and an opportunity to transform Legal Intelligence in Africa. 



As everywhere else, the legal landscape in Africa is evolving rapidly. How do you foresee the legal landscape to evolve in the coming years? 


I think of it as the “augmented Legal Landscape”. The core players, meaning law firms and corporate legal teams, are here to stay, together with their fundamental roles.


However, like in any industry, technology enables greater efficiency, a degree of automation, and an ability to do certain tasks more effectively. The result will be winning organizations that embrace technology and others that, in comparison, become too slow, too expensive, or lose their edge.


While the above is largely true for legal firms, the primary challenge for corporate legal teams in Africa is often different. Chaos might be a strong word, but Legal & Regulatory information is not readily available across the continent, which puts companies at risk. That is the first problem to solve, which Afriwise did. Technology should be seen as the accelerator that puts the data to work.



Is Afriwise a Legal Tech solution? 


That is a very good question. No, we are not Legal Tech. Afriwise claims category leadership in “Legal Intelligence”, which lives at the intersect of Legal & Regulatory data, Human expertise and Advanced Legal Technology.


The core of Afriwise is its unparalleled Legal & Regulatory Data Warehouse. If you think about it, there is zero value in Legal Tech if not combined with quality underlying data. We’ve created our leadership position in breadth, depth and quality of the data by bringing together curated, proprietary content and proprietary Legal-NLP technology. The former is co-created together with our 150+ law firms partner network (the human expertise). The latter has been achieved by the acquisition of Pythagoria, an AI-based Legal software developer, 1 year ago.


Finally, we are building AI-powered Legal Tech solutions around our data warehouse. That is where the data turns into intelligence. As a simple example, our first products were geared around in-house legal researchers by providing them with a user-friendly platform, Practical Guidances in Q&A format, etc, to make their research activities more efficient and effective.



How do you see the role of AI in the legal space and for Afriwise in particular?


Studies show that the legal profession is amongst the most impacted. Also here, I’d refer to the “augmented Legal professional” that embraces AI Technology to be both faster and smarter.


AI excels when large amounts of data are involved. Therefore, obvious areas that are being disrupted are Legal Research, regulatory monitoring, compliance, etc. Take Legal Research as an example: Assuming quality data is available, AI technology offers significant time savings while improving the quality of the research. 


At Afriwise, we’re doing exactly that. Building AI-powered applications on top of our data warehouse. Some other examples are our regulatory monitoring capability that monitors hundreds of Legal information sources, automated compliance solutions or alerting dashboards that maintain our customers’ Legal Universes.



What exactly makes Afriwise stand out among the vast number of legal innovators? 


That is simple: our unique position combines the aforementioned pillars of Legal & Regulatory Data, an Expert Network and Advanced Legal Tech. It’s more than the sum of its parts and has allowed Afriwise to claim the Leadership position in the Legal Intelligence category. 



How do the next 5 years look like for Afriwise?


The ambition is sky-high. The core of Afriwise will remain the Legal & Regulatory data warehouse, but you’ll see an acceleration in the applications built around it. I mentioned monitoring or compliance as examples, but we imagine an extensive application ecosystem, built by both ourselves, as well as partners, around that core.


While deepening and broadening our solutions, and expanding our geographical reach, the organisation will grow accordingly. This is great news for our employees, who will be spoiled by opportunities for personal development and growth.



That sounds like an exciting path ahead. Lastly, Christophe, when you're not busy with work, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?


First, I love spending time with family and friends. Further, you’ll find me pushing boundaries in adventurous challenges. I am passionate about mountain biking and lately I'm reaching new heights (literally) by conquering climbing routes. It's a thrilling and physically demanding hobby that provides a great balance to my professional life. 



Thank you, Christophe, for sharing your insights and giving us a glimpse into your vision for Afriwise's future. We wish you all the best in your role as COO and in taking Afriwise to new heights.




We hope you've enjoyed reading our interview.

But it does not need to stop there.


Feel free to reach out to Christophe and continue the conversation


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