Legal SaaS company aims to add key roles in US market.
Tauranga-based legal software company LawVu has completed a successful Series A raise of $17 million led by New York-based global private equity and venture capital firm Insight Partners.
The software as a service company, founded in 2015, helps in-house lawyers track their legal spend and workload through a cloud-based project management system. Major customers include Nissan, Fonterra, and Zuru, with it now having users based in more than 30 countries.
LawVu has 56 staff in New Zealand, mostly in its Tauranga office, where development takes place, but has more recently been expanding into international markets.
LawVu founder Sam Kidd told NBR the company had sought new investment, specifically from the US, as that has become its biggest market. More than two-thirds of its recurring revenue comes from the US and Australia, and it would now look to hire more in the US and open offices there.
The Insight raise was supported by Australian venture capital firm AirTree Ventures, which now has a 6.34% stake, while Insight holds 15.47% of the company. Insight Partners managing director Rachel Geller joins also the LawVu board.
“We do feel that it’s quite important to have in-market [support] there to help us to gain more traction in the US,” Kidd said.
The size of US companies and their large legal teams, many of which have hundreds of staff and annual legal spends of tens of millions of dollars, is why LawVu is targeting that market. Its international customers included Telstra, AMP, Linktree, Expedia, PwC and San Francisco tech company Instacart.
“We were 35 people in December last year; we’re now sitting just on 80 staff globally. We’ll be looking at putting people in those key markets for us, which is the US and Australia,” Kidd said. “That’s really what the investment is for – just to bring more key people in. We’ve got an awesome team, but there’s only so many hours in the day.
“[The capital raise is] about doubling down on that and bringing key hires and in key markets.”
While relatively underdeveloped in New Zealand, corporations’ ability to create efficiencies in their in-house legal team has become a big focus in overseas markets.
It has also led to the development of a booming legal tech sector, although few of these companies have managed to achieve significant global scale.
LawVu is not yet profitable, but it tripled revenue last year and Kidd said it was on a similar path this year.
AirTree also invested in the company earlier this year as part of an initial funding round. LawVu had raised $1m in 2018, too, valuing the company at $6m, and later that year it signed a two-year sales deal with global legal provider LexisNexis.
“LawVu have found themselves with the right product, in the right market at the right time and we’re thrilled to be doubling down to support their impressive growth,” AirTree Partner James Cameron said.
“As we’ve seen from other global leaders that have emerged from our region – such as Canva and Linktree – there’s huge demand from global investors to invest in fast-growing Aussie and Kiwi tech businesses and this is a testament to the emerging technology ecosystems that are developing here.”