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New York VC’s run of local bets continues with $16m legal tech firm

by | Aug 11, 2021

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LawVu, a New Zealand-based start-up that makes software for in-house legal teams, has become the latest target of big money from New York-based Insight Partners, which has led a $16 million Series A funding round, with support from Sydney-based AirTree Ventures.

The company plans to use the funds to hire for leadership roles in the United States, open US offices and accelerate development of its cloud-based platform, which lets lawyers manage contracts, documents, e-billing and outsourced work.

LawVu co-founder and chief executive Sam Kidd said he was on the hunt for “recovering lawyer types” interested in a career switch and wanting to join a growing company.

He admitted, however, that the hunt for talent was the hardest part of his job; onboarding new customers and keeping them using the software was far easier.

Last year, LawVu tripled its annual recurring revenue, and had more than two- thirds of recurring revenue coming from the United States and Australia after kicking life off in New Zealand.

“In-house legal teams perform a critical function inside every corporation,” Mr Kidd said.

“However, you’ll often find that the only ‘tech’ they have is email and word documents, and legal teams are becoming a bottleneck, as the rest of the business leverages technology to speed up. It’s incredibly exciting to be pioneering a new category and extending our leadership in this space.”

The investment from Insight Partners follows other recent large investments it has made in Australia in OctopusDeploy, EmploymentHero and SafetyCulture.

“LawVu’s global growth speaks volumes to its future as a business and ability to provide high-value outcomes to legal teams,” Insight Partners managing director Rachel Geller said.

“We’re excited for our partnership with LawVu as it continues to expand globally.”

AirTree Ventures partner James Cameron said LawVu had found itself with “the right product, in the right market at the right time”.

LawVu has signed a number of deals with well-known clients including Telstra, AMP, Linktree, Expedia, PwC and most recently San Francisco-based tech company Instacart. It now has users based in more than 30 countries.

The legal technology space is a tough one to crack, and Mr Kidd put this in part down to some product ideas being better than others, and also the varying incentives lawyers have to test out new ways of working.

“It is a hard space, certainly harder than we probably thought when we went into it. But the key differentiator that we really have over a lot of other legal tech is they’re selling to law firms,” he said.

“The drivers in law firms are very different, it’s a partnership model, or pyramid scheme, depending on how you look at it.

“It’s a hard sell, you’re selling to partners who think ‘well in three or four years, I might be gone’, so why would they invest in a law firm? When you’re selling to corporate counsel, it’s more of a business decision.”

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