Dispute resolution biz gets $5m series A investment – and targets UK
A month after Britain’s most senior judge Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, called on the Ministry of Justice to make greater use in the courts of systems for Online Dispute Resolution (ODR), with specific reference to learning lessons from eBay’s own disputes resolution system which handles 60 million disputes a year, Modria.com Inc, a Silicon Valley dispute resolution company spun out of eBay and PayPal by the team that built their ODR systems, has announced that its European operation is being set up in the UK.
Modria.com Inc also announced that it has just closed a $5 million dollar Series A investment round led by Foundry Group. As part of Modria’s expansion, J. Scott Carr has joined Modria as president & CEO. In addition, Liverpool and Cheshire-based solicitor Graham Ross, a long time pioneer of legal technology and online legal information services in the UK, is heading up Modria’s European operations as VP Europe. Ross was also the co-founder of the UK’s first ODR system We Can Settle.
Says Ross “This $5m investment, the largest funding ever in Alternative Dispute Resolution, is a real turning point for ODR and will now enable Modria to achieve its vision of building the new model civil justice system for an increasingly connected world. I am proud to announce that our first court project in Europe commences this month in two courts in the Netherlands in which Modria’s innovative technology will be used to resolve neighbour disputes in a speedy, low cost, but, importantly, fair and just manner.
“For those who might regret the lack of judicial presence they may see introduced by online technology, our neighbour dispute scheme, run in partnership with the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law, combines Modria technology with a travelling judge who will visit the disputing parties. It is thanks to the savings enjoyed by the courts through our technology that the cost of a travelling judge is made achievable. With such innovative thinking we can reduce court costs whilst still bringing back some of the traditional cornerstones of justice that courts have lost over the years through more blunt forms of cost savings“.
Last month also saw the European Parliament put in place the EU Regulation on ODR and Directive on ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) which will, when in force, actively encourage use of ODR for consumers by requiring websites selling to consumers to carry an ODR link and require Ombudsmen and other consumer ADR services to enable use of their ADR services through ODR. Ahead of these developments, Modria has launched an innovative ODR service in partnership with the Consumer Protection authority in British Columbia, Canada.
Modria has been accepted by the UK Government as an approved cloud service supplier to national and local government and other publicly funded bodies through the Cabinet Office’s GCloud system. As a result, Government bodies can contract with Modria directly and speedily through the GCloud Store without having to go through the lengthy procurement exercise.
Colin Rule, former Head of the Dispute Resolution team at eBay and PayPal turned co-founder of Modria and now COO & chairman of the board, said “Companies like eBay have long known the importance of converting disputes into fair and swift outcomes as a means of growing their business. Now, businesses in other sectors, from insurance companies to healthcare and government agencies, are climbing on board, Foundry’s investment in Modria is further evidence of how important this space is. Bringing Scott Carr, a proven executive with a solid track record growing web companies, on board as our CEO ensures that we will grow the company quickly, responsibly and with extreme customer focus.”
Scott Carr, the president & CEO added “Complaints and disputes are a fact of life in the networked economy, from online marketplaces to online banking. What has been missing is a solution that delivers fair resolutions for all these disputes. The Modria platform solves this problem with a scalable, transparent system that provides appropriate resolution processes for every kind of dispute. It’s the first step toward a future in which companies and customers around the world settle their disputes amicably outside the overburdened court system.”