Tauranga’s LawVu joins Ardern’s US tour, expands with Seattle office after $37m raise

May 26, 2022

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Tauranga-based legal software startup LawVu will join Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for a Seattle meeting with Microsoft president Brad Smith and other executives at the tech giant. A total of five tech companies will be at the event. The others are Ubco, Straker Translations, Animation Research and Auror.

The companies will discuss investments, skills development for New Zealanders in the industry, digital cooperation and “further initiatives”.

During the breakfast portion of the event, LawVu CEO and co-founder Sam Kidd will speak about LawVu’s decision to open an office in Seattle, which will serve as its US hub.

“The access to talent, customers, and proximity to some of our key technology partners, including Microsoft, made Seattle an obvious site for LawVu’s US hub,” Kidd says.

Global sales VP Rob Gitell adds, “Expanding the sales team here in Seattle was a natural next step due to great local talent in the legal tech space.”

LawVu, which raised a total of $37m in a Series A round – including an expansion that closed last month, led by the New York-based Insight Partners – also includes a US social media giant on its roster of clients, but its contract terms prevent it from naming the company.

The Bay of Plenty startup, co-founded by Tim Boyne and Kidd, makes software for organising in-house legal teams.

The pair got the idea for their startup when both were working in and around corporate NZ in the early 20-teens, Kidd for a startup that integrated accounting software with IRD’s systems, Boyne as an IT operations manager at a law firm.

Tauranga Council became an earlier LawVu adopter, and the firm went on to win marquee clients including Fonterra, Zespri and Sky TV at home, and Telstra on the other side of the Tasman.

Kidd wants to boost staff numbers from 120 today to around 180 by year’s end.

He says the startup will keep its home base and most product development in NZ (currently home to around 70 of its staff), but will get more boots on the ground for sales operations in the US and Australia. Sales VP Gitell says Seattle should also prove a source of SaaS (software-as-a-service) talent.

The co-founder says a Series B raise is next on the agenda, which he anticipates will be in the $30m to $50m range.