Venture Capitalists Pour Another $115M into Legal Tech Platforms

Sun, September 16, 2018 11:13 PM | Akriti Dayal

With big new infusions from Andreessen Horowitz and others, San Francisco-based Atrium and Toronto's Kira Systems are the latest New Law ventures to win VC's attention.

Venture capital is taking notable interest in legal industry “disrupters” this month, with San Francisco-based Atrium announcing $65 million in new funding just days after Kira Systems trumpeted a $50 million minority investment.

Atrium, which bills itself as a tech-powered platform providing flat-fee legal services to the startup community, is receiving investments from Silicon Valley heavyweight Andreessen Horowitz, along with General Catalyst, YC Continuity Fund, and Sound Ventures.

Andreessen Horowitz partner Andrew Chen and Y Combinator CEO Michael Seibel will also be joining the company’s board of directors, and Marc Andreessen, himself valued at over $1 billion, will be a board observer.

Chen wrote in a blog post Monday that the legal industry has lagged behind as technology continues to transform other businesses.

“For law firms around the world, the customer experience, the business model, and the type of work they do have remained largely unchanged for decades, even while technology has transformed their clients and their industries,” he said. “The adoption of software has happened very slowly, and only in the most low-hanging areas.”

The announcement came almost a year after Atrium launched publicly as both a new law firm and a software company, two separate entities under the same roof. Atrium LTS, the venture-backed software side, designs and deploys software for the law firm to use, while Atrium LLP, the law firm, offers flat-fee services to the startup community via two specific services: Atrium Counsel and Atrium Financing.

Atrium also said that in its short history, the finance wing had already helped 250 clients raise a total of over $500 million in primary financings. On the technology side, the company revealed that it had acquired the artificial intelligence company Tetra, which offers a service that captures notes from telephone calls in order to build out its technology platform.

The company was founded by Twitch founder and Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur Justin Kan, who serves as CEO, and former Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe partner Augie Rakow, who heads its legal operations. Atrium now has 110 employees.

“The Atrium team has impressed us with their amazing progress since the start,” Chen added, pointing to the number of employees, a client list that includes startups Alto, Bird, MessageBird, and Sift Science, and the $500 million figure. “These strong early results convinced us of the company’s momentum, and proved there is a hunger for their services.”

The company’s software platform uses machine learning to process documents and convert them into structured data and also focuses on the automation of repetitive tasks. The goal is to leave Atrium’s lawyers with more time to advise clients and provide services that can’t be automated more quickly.

Chen also pointed to the pedigrees of Kan, whose live streaming gaming platform company Twitch was bought by Amazon for $970 million, and Rakow, who advised autonomous car technology company Cruise Automation in its $1 billion acquisition by General Motors.

Source: https://www.law.com/americanlawyer/2018/09/11/venture-capitalists-pour-another-115m-into-legal-tech-platforms/

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