Start up Corner: Eperoto, for disputes analysis and decision theory

Sweden-founded startup Eperoto is helping lawyers to take the guess work out of assessing the outcome and quantum of disputes. We find out everything you need to know about the company, the founders, the technology, and the roadmap.

How would you describe Eperoto to a friend?
Eperoto provides a really good tool for helping lawyers clearly say what they mean when dealing with legal disputes. Traditionally, also in very high value legal disputes, advice boils down to phrases such as “we deem we have a rather good chance of success”, without getting into detail of the meaning of either “good” or “success”.

Lawyers using Eperoto bring all their knowledge and expertise to our tool, and create financial models around their cases. 90%+ of all disputes settle, and with clear input and assessments around “will we win? (liability)”, How much? (quantum) and the cost/risk side of things (legal fees, enforcement risk, insurance protection) it becomes easy to make sound decisions about whether to proceed in court or not, and what amount to accept as a settlement.

And to a techy?
Although we rely on a modern tech stack that many developers like (React with TypeScript, Django with Python), Eperoto is a precision tool for the lawyers and not really the hard core techies. Eperoto does not provide an AI or Data model, and techies sometimes ask “but aren’t lawyers already doing these types of assessments”? Although there are a few “Excel warriors” out there, the level of advice around legal disputes is unfortunately still very low.

By using…
…what is technically known as “subjective Bayesian probabilities”, or in other words by efficiently explaining what you mean when you say “we have a pretty good case”. Eperoto’s users build decision tree structures and other models to create assessments based on the known and less known variables currently at hand – such as potential damages, interest rates, legal fees, and probability of success.

When were you founded?
Late side of 2019.

By who?
Olof Heggemann, lawyer and district court judge with an interest in civil disputes, together with CTO Emmanouil Karystinos, Solutions architect Johan Thelin, and Head of Product, Dimitrios Zarkadas.

Who are your key managers/senior execs?
Chief Commercial OfficerChassa Moosa – most recently coming from building and leading Mentimeter Sales Organisation from 1-30+M USD revenue the past 5 years with 15+ years experience in Tech and Saas Sales.

Who are your target clients?
Law firms dealing with commercial disputes as well as companies with a dedicated commercial legal team/department.

What is your plan (growth strategy)?
Growth Strategy is first and foremost opening Eperoto to more users and product led growth, to develop more features and functionality requested by our users. Also, by replicating our GTM with leveraging Law Firms and larger corporations, we will be able to create a formula for scalable growth by the end of 2023 and getting ready to scale from 2024 and onwards in terms of building out the product as well as the sales and customer support team.

Key achievements?
Commercially, having in a short time been able to win awards for the best demo presentation, being absorbed by Allen Overy’s FUSE initiative and Mannheimer Swartling’s Innovation Lab. We currently have around 20 customers where most are law firms in Scandinavia, but now we’ve also expanded into the US, Canada, UK and are now receiving interest requests from all over the world.

The most important achievements are however the anecdotal feedback sometimes shared with us by our users. One favorite is a lawyer who ended up only 1% off the most likely outcome in a very complex construction dispute. Although not a complete disaster, this made it clear for his client that it would have made sense to accept that “meager” settlement offer that was on the table when the assessment was produced. Another example is hearing from the partner saying that she first thought “never will the parties manage to settle in that range”, to a year later conclude that after three different lawyers mapped the case in the tool, in that range is exactly where that +10 M GBP dispute settled.

Have you received investment?
Yes, from several angel investors as well as Chalmer Ventures and Icebreaker VC as two of the biggest investors.

Have there been any key changes in direction since you were founded?
From solely focusing on law firms, we are now increasingly focusing on features relevant for corporations. Although our current customers on the law firm side can afford to provide real advice to their clients, some others even say outright that “a tool like this will make it obvious for the client that they should not spend their time and money on us preparing for a main hearing”.

We did “dabble” a little with data, and still do, but for us it is clear that step one in Litigation analytics is to provide the tools, the framework and the know-how around how to deal with complex disputes in a structured, responsible manner.

What are the key challenges in your market?
Everyone producing legal tech will know that finding time in lawyers’ agenda within law firms is the challenge. Law firm clients naturally come first, and when pressed for time, the time to learn how to use new solutions often gets pushed to a later date. There are a lot of tools out there and so little time, so this is of course understandable. Unless you are providing a small widget in Word, major changes require a team effort from lawyers, vendors and knowledge/IT- and innovation teams working together.

It is perhaps telling that one of the more commonly analyzed cases in our tool is the “ERP dispute”, where the power of technology, the need for change and the implementation has not been aligned. Thankfully, we often get praise for the ease-of-use in our tool, and this is where our main focus lies.

Tell us something people don’t already know about the company?
The team has strong connections to Greece, and the name Eperoto comes from the greek word “Epērōtō”, which means “to inquire, to again seek further information”.