The onset of pandemic accelerated the process of digitisation giving birth to another problem, digital deadlock. Locked within these voluminous scanned documents lies valuable information which, unless converted to computer encoded text, cannot be used for further functions such as research, e-discovery, process automation, etc.
This is where ManCorp Innovation Labs steps in. Founded in 2018 by Manthan Trivedi, Rathin Deshpande and Vishnu Gite, ManCorp started as a deep-tech think tank and evolved into an R&D lab.
“In our exciting journey so far, we have successfully completed 3 pilots at the High courts of Jharkhand, Patna and Mumbai, along with a successful Launch at the Supreme Court of India in the form of SUPACE (Supreme Court Portal for Assistance in Court Efficiency). We have recently released a BETA program for lawyers, researchers & students. We have started receiving multiple enquiries from judiciaries of other nations and are in talks with a Union Ministry for providing our software services,” said Manthan Trivedi, co-founder & CEO, ManCorp Innovation Labs.
Project SUPACE was launched on April 6, 2021 at an event organised by the Supreme Court of India’s AI Committee.
The company offers AI-powered cloud-based professional software for document storage, management, drafting, research, review and analysis for lawyers, research professionals and students. It allows real-time collaboration and communication and is designed to allow working, monitoring, optimising and automating all repetitive routine work related to information retrieval, cataloguing, review and analysis, based on the user’s CUT (critical usage threshold).
Another product for the courts converts scanned images into computer encoded text and extracts factual and contextual information in seconds, leading to speedy dispensation of justice.
“As we began with catering to the legal and judicial fraternity, we got a chance to work extensively on Legal Vocabulary creation: India has a unique legal vocabulary. Thus, most Natural language processing based on generic English doesn’t work that well. For this, we scraped Indian legal websites available to create an Indian Legal dictionary of words by curating the fat tail frequency words. This saved us lots of effort by eliminating the need to engage a domain expert to manually create the dictionary. We also created word embeddings on the same to be used in all NLP Tasks, which gave better results,” said Manthan.
- Django Rest Framework, RabbitMQ, Redis, Elastic Search, MySQL, GoLang at the backend.
- Angular at the frontend
- Docker Containers and Kubernetes for deployments
- Jenkins for CI/CD
- Nginx for Static Serving files
Challenges were mostly on two fronts:
- Hiring the right talent: When we started recruiting the talent for our AI initiative back in 2018, there was an immense dearth of competent talent in the industry, especially in India, as the specific field of technology that we were working on, itself, was at an initial and rapidly transformative stage.
- Raising funds without an active user base for the product: The nature of the technology we were trying to build was heavily research-based and capital intensive in the initial phases. In our country, unfortunately, and ironically, there were little to no people or entities that would fund such a capital-intensive initiative without market validation. Hence, we decided to self-fund ourselves until we create a substantial validation in the market, which we eventually did with the successful launch of SUPACE.
Hiring at ManCorp
Manthan Trivedi said: “After carefully scanning their LinkedIn profiles and GitHub repositories, we prioritise people who have contributed to the community at large and have meaningful contributions in sizable projects. We have adopted a 3-tier interview structure wherein, apart from the relevant tech skills, insatiable hunger for untangling challenging tasks, unique and out of the box thinking methodology for puzzle and problem solving, and a respectable cultural attitude towards team members, are the things that top our list while hiring the required talent.”
“The field of AI has gained some serious traction over the past couple of years, therefore all players big and small have started rapid hiring of talent working in AI. This has made it increasingly competitive for a start-up like ours to be able to hire the right talent as and when we need them,” he added.
“In our B2G business avenue, we have gained a significant stimulus through the accelerated digitisation movement across the country triggered by the pandemic. E-Filings in courts have become a common practice, and courts are operating virtually. This has given a significant boost to our clientele’s willingness to adopt smarter technologies,” said Manthan. “Newer doors have opened for our technology in B2B avenue which allows our technology to branch into various domains like the legal profession, research, education, consultancy, banking and other public and private services as an AI-powered Cloud-based professional toolkit.”
ManCorp marks tech giants including Infosys and TCS as their biggest B2G competitors. “For the B2C market, our platform offers a one-stop solution for features similar to those provided by products like DropBox, PDF Expert, Google Docs, MS word, Grammarly, Dragon dictation and Google assistant,” informed Manthan.
The plan is to achieve the following numbers in the next five years:
- Servicing at least half the High Courts in the country.
- Bringing the experience of assistive AI to as many as a million professionals across the country.
- Introducing at least five AI initiatives in key areas of governance.
“We aspire to become providers of leading professional software for lawyers, students, researchers, corporates and other professionals in India and abroad,” concluded Manthan.