In-house legal teams play a critical role in companies, but a lot of them don’t have the same kind of technology as their counterparts in sales or finance. Instead, they often rely on email, shared inboxes and spreadsheets. LawVu gives them a cloud-based platform to share legal advice, documents, communicate with each other or external counsel and create reports for the rest of the company, including the C-suite. “LawVu is to legal what Salesforce is to sales teams,” co-founder and chief strategy officer Tim Boyne told TechCrunch in an email.
The Tauranga, New Zealand-based company announced today that it has raised $17 million NZD (about $11.9 million USD) in Series A funding led by Insight Partners, the venture firm known for its ScaleUp program for growth-stage startups, with participation from returning investor AirTree Ventures. Its previous funding was a seed round of about $1.8 million USD led by Shasta Ventures and AirTree, announced in May.
LawVu was founded in 2015 by Boyne, who spent over a decade working in IT and operations at law firms, and Sam Kidd, a SaaS project management expert. Since LawVu was designed for distributed teams and remote workers, adoption increased dramatically in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. LawVu’s annual recurring revenue tripled in 2020 and is continuing to grow. While it has users in 30 countries, about two-thirds of its recurring revenue now comes from the United States and Australia, with clients like Telstra, AMP, Linktree, Expedia, PwC and Instacart.
The company plans to hire key leadership roles in the U.S. for its global go-to-market strategy and open U.S. offices as it continues developing LawVu’s technology.
LawVu is used by in-house legal teams ranging from one person to more than 300. Its fastest adoption is coming from teams of five to 500 legal professionals.
The startup serves in-house legal teams, instead of law firms, because “in-house lawyers have very different incentives and objectives to their private practice peers. This creates a vastly different set of needs for in-house lawyers to be effective at their jobs, particularly on the technology front,” Boyne said.
For example, private practice lawyers focus on specific projects, charging clients on time spent. In contrast, in-house lawyers have to balance “reactive work,” or what their company asks for, and “proactive work,” or anticipating the business’ needs and reducing risks.
LawVu’s cloud platform serves as a “legal workspace” that combines all the tech tools in-house legal teams need. For example, it lets them manage matter (or legal issues that can include advice requests, contract executions, M&A transactions or litigation), contracts, documents, e-billing and outsourced work.
For in-house legal teams, LawVu’s analytics helps the rest of their company understand exactly what they do by providing metrics using data that is usually tucked away in email inboxes or a salesperson’s files, Boyne said.
“Legal work is largely invisible. Unlike other industries, legal is at the very beginning of its data journey,” Boyne said. He added, “as lawyers migrate their work into our workspace, everything is able to be captured as data. For the first time, the legal function now has the ability to see demand, types of work, team capacity, future hiring needs, what law firms are performing well, even process areas to automate with other tools.”
In addition to helping in-house legal teams become more productive, LawVu also helps them prove their value to decision makers. Boyne explained that legal teams are often overlooked because they are viewed as cost centers which do not directly add to a company’s profit, and who come in at the end of a project or decision.
“Typically as a business scales really fast, the legal team can be left behind with the capacity to only fight fires and no time to engage and add much needed strategic value. If you don’t have the data to back up the value and work you are doing, it becomes very hard to get more resources when needed, be this tech or people,” Boyne said.
“LawVu workspace allows them to streamline their service, have information at their fingertips, deliver outcomes quickly, measure and demonstrate value, all freeing them up to truly become a valued member of the business leadership team.”
Insight Partners managing director Rachel Geller will join LawVu’s board. In a statement, she said, “LawVu’s global growth speaks volumes to its future as a business and ability to provide high-value outcomes to legal teams. Its combination of intuitive user experience and excellent customer feedback make LawVu stand out in the legal tech industry.”