Automated legal timekeeping provider Ping has raised a $13.2 million Series A investment round led by Upfront Ventures. The now thirty-person San Francisco-based startup is attempting to make timesheets a thing of the past, by capturing and analysing time spent on tasks throughout the day. Clients include Mishcon de Reya, which has helped to facilitate Ping’s success by inviting it to participate in the firm’s accelerator MDR LABS. Mishcon is also an investor in the company.
Ping integrates with the programmes that lawyers use for billable work (including phones) to analyse where and how lawyers spend their time. Operating in the background, it can distinguish between personal and professional activities, suggest a narrative and select the correct billing code to automate timesheets.
“Timekeeping in the legal profession has remained virtually unchanged for decades, which means skilled attorneys are wasting time and money on unfulfilling, unproductive work,” said Kara Nortman, partner at Upfront Ventures. “Ryan and the Ping team have lived this problem and developed an elegant, highly technical solution to improve law firms’ work and efficiency. It’s just the tip of the iceberg given the number of industries Ping can serve in the future.”
On average, Ping says that its customers record an additional 32 billable minutes of legal work per attorney per day, resulting in an 11% increase in revenue. By accurately capturing data about where time is spent, Ping also helps firms price the flat-fee arrangements that are becoming increasingly popular with large clients.
“I’ve experienced first-hand the grind of filling out timesheets,” said Alda Leu Dennis, general partner at Initialized Capital and a former attorney. “It’s the least-favorite part of any lawyer’s job. No one wants to sit in their office counting up billable minutes instead of working on a big case or going home to family and friends. The feeling of sheer waste gets to you after a while. But with Ping, that’s not a problem. Ping takes away the drudgery of manual timekeeping and gives lawyers back all those precious hours.”
Ping will use its latest funding to hire and expand its team, which includes Somik Raha, a member of Ulu Ventures’ seed investment team who joined full time to lead Ping’s Deployment efforts, and Michael Mizono, who was the first product designer at Nest and left Google to join Ping as its head of design.
“We’ve partnered with Ping since our MDR LAB program in 2017 and it has been a delight to help them reimagine how timekeeping is done,” said Nick West, chief strategy officer at Mishcon de Reya, a 900-person law firm. “Ping transforms how our lawyers work.”
Ping says it plans to apply its machine learning-powered approach to the entire professional services market, starting with accounting and consulting.
“We as a society are obsessed with time, yet the one place we spend most of it — work — is a complete black box,” says Ping CEO Ryan Alshak. “Today, we can go into any law firm in the world and say that our system will better their lawyers’ lives, boost revenue, give clients more accurate and timely bills and offer management better insight into how to operate. But this is just the beginning. Our mission is to give back people their time, wherever they happen to work. We have a long way to go, but we won’t stop until we get there.”
The Series A saw participation from existing investors BoxGroup, First Round Capital, Initialized Capital and Ulu Ventures, following Ping’s $3.7 million seed-round investment in 2017. The Series A brings Ping’s total investment to $17.4 million.