Thomson Reuters Ventures, along with several other funds, has invested in US-based Priori, the lawyer marketplace aimed at helping inhouse teams find the right person for their needs. Priori has also developed Scout, which helps clients manage outside counsel relationships. The money will be used for both side of the business. The total raise for the legal resource-focused company is $15m.
While it’s great to see cash going into legal ventures during this crunchy market for VC cash it has to be underlined that Priori is not wholly a software company, it’s evolved as a network of lawyers, which it explained are often ‘boutique firm practitioners’. So, we can see this more as an investment in an ALSP-type approach to legal work.
Moreover, as the resourcing company explained, they have seen healthy growth and now have ‘8,000 attorneys on the platform’, which suggests this flexible approach is doing well. And….it may do even better in the predicted downturn as corporates demand more legal assistance, but do not want to add permanent headcount to their balance sheets.
Mirra Levitt, Priori’s Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder, said: ‘With this financing, we will become the go-to platform for inhouse teams and legal operation professionals to make their outside counsel hiring decisions.’
The other investors include: Eagle Proprietary Investments, The LegalTechFund, Thirty Five Ventures, Peak6 Strategic Capital, Soma Ventures, plus existing investors Bridge Investments, Great Oaks Venture Capital, HearstLab, Mindset Ventures and Jambhala – and that is a reasonably large number of investors to get in on a $15m fund raise.
Meanwhile, Thomson Reuters Ventures launched in October last year with an allocation of $100m to put into companies that it sees as ‘building breakthrough innovations that will allow professionals to operate more productively and with greater insights’. The fund is therefore focused on legal tech, but also risk, compliance, tax and accounting.
Tamara Steffens, Managing Director, Thomson Reuters Ventures, said in a statement: ‘At Thomson Reuters Ventures we invest in technology that elevates our customers’ experience. Priori digitally transforms the interactions between corporate legal departments and outside counsel, and we are excited to work together to help accelerate their trajectory as leading innovators in the legal tech industry.’
At the time of the fund’s launch last year, Steve Hasker, President and CEO of Thomson Reuters, said: ‘I’m delighted to add Thomson Reuters Ventures as another way that we are investing in innovation and serving our markets. Our customers are the most informed professionals in the world, and they need trusted, accurate, and effective solutions now more than ever. We’re excited to partner with founders and entrepreneurs who share these goals, and to continue to drive emerging solutions as the industry leader.’
The move comes as Thomson Reuters continues to expand its offering, most recently promoting a CLM-like capability provided via HighQ.
Overall, this shows two things: if you have a proposition that the market believes can keep scaling e.g. flexible legal resource, and you can show a real track record of growth, then there is still money available.