Startup corner: Atrium LTS raises $10.5m to "revolutionise legal services"
US serial entrepreneur Justin Kan has raised $10.5m in the first round of funding for his new legal technology startup Atrium LTS, which appears likely to focus on workflow tools for lawyers and client-facing tech.
Announcing what must in legal be a record breaking Series-A round, which has been led by General Catalyst and includes a whole host of other investors, Kan said on Facebook “Excited to announce our Atrium LTS fundraising from General Catalyst and many other amazing investors. [Co-founders] Chris Smoak, Bebe Chueh, Augie Rakow and I are excited to build innovative technology for the legal industry.”
Augie Rakow is a former Orrick partner working with startups and is listed on LinkedIn as co-founder and managing partner of Atrium LLP, “a software-powered law firm serving technology companies and their investors.” His LinkedIn profile adds: “We run on a unique law firm operations platform powered by Atrium Legal Technology Services Inc., a software development company backed by General Catalyst and other leading venture capital investors.” The LLP was founded by Rakow and Bebe Cheuh, former co-founder of AttorneyFee, which was acquired by LegalZoom in August 2014.
While little detail is yet known about the precise direction and plans of Atrium LTS (which, by the way, stands for Legal Technology Services), it promises to “revolutionise legal services” and has already begun advertising for a team of engineers to build workflow efficiency tools for lawyers and client facing tools.
In a post on Snapchat in April, Kan said Atrium LTS is looking for a team of engineers to create “highly-usable web applications that are crucial to the operations of a law firm being built from the ground up around the technology you create.”
He added: “As one of our first engineers, you will play a significant role in shaping the technology, architecture, and implementation decisions we rely on. You will work with our CTO and product manager building workflow efficiency tools for lawyers, client-facing dashboards, and public-facing tools.”
Notably engineers will be asked to build products for lawyers to use on a daily basis to replace common manual workflows. The Atrium LTS team is looking for engineers with experience of front end tools such as React or Angular, experience building apps with Rails, experience using an SQL database and experience of Amazon Web Services.
The venture is one to watch – Kan is co-founder of live video platforms Justin.tv and Twitch.tv (acquired by Amazon for $970m) and is a partner in seed fund Y Combinator. On the Atrium LTS website he says that as a voluntary “power user” of corporate legal services he was unhappy with the lack of innovation. “The companies around us promise customers innovation and efficiency. The law firms that serve them ought to promise the same. My founding team is ready to break down the barriers that have been keeping this $96 billion industry from adopting innovations in business and technology. We want to build the legal technology of the future to automate repetitive, low-value work and allow firms to deliver speed, transparency and cost certainty to their clients.”
There’s a lot of activity in that space and Kan and his team certainly aren’t the first to think of it.
They also have a headache-inducing number of investors to contend with – TechCrunch reports around 100, reflecting an intention to “gain buy-in” from legal services users.
But Atrium LTS is the first legal tech startup we know of to have $10.5m on day one to achieve its ambitions. Plus, at least two of its co-founders know the legal industry well. And they clearly aren’t messing about.
Corrected 19 June to show that Augie Rakow is no longer working for Orrick, he is a former partner.