Exclusive: Legal-tech startup Lawyered raises bridge round

Exclusive: Legal-tech startup Lawyered raises bridge round
Himanshu Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Lawyered
27 Jul, 2020

Sproutech Solutions, a Delhi-based company that owns and operates legal-tech platform Lawyered, has raised an undisclosed amount in a bridge round of funding led by angel investors from the US, UK and Canada.

Saby Waraich, former senior information systems manager at City of Portland and a former professor at University of Phoenix; Sujinder Sahni, senior information technology consultant at IT office, government of Saskatchewan, Canada; and Ashish Jassra, head of Electrical Discharge Machines (EDM) at Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) Securities, Potters Bar, England, led the funding round.

Lawyered will dedicate a majority of the fresh funds to build new technology features including artificial intelligence (AI)-based super bots and discovery tools to increase engagement on the platform, Himanshu Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Lawyered told TechCircle. 

The startup is also building a mobile application. A portion of the investment will go into its expansion plans.

The startup was founded in 2018 by Gupta, Ashish Bhatia and Deepak Sharma, all former executives at financial services firm Fidelity. Gupta previously worked with legal software firm LexisNexis India. Bhatia is the co-founder of India Accelerator while Sharma runs an agile consultancy firm named OrganIQ. 

Lawyered is a legal discovery platform that connects legal advice seekers and legal professionals. For lawyers, it acts as a discovery tool where they can showcase their experience and expertise in written and video content. For legal advice seekers, it offers access to lawyers from different regions and practices.

The startup began as a legal services portal for startups and corporates. It has since expanded services to civil and criminal domains. Currently, its network consists of 50%-60% corporate and startup lawyers, and 30%-40% civil and criminal legal professionals.

Lawyered operates on a subscription model where lawyers are charged a platform fee to get featured on the platform. It doesn’t take a commission from lawyers on the income they generate through the platform nor does it take service fee from individuals or clients.

“We are the only platform focusing on the discovery of legal professionals without charging them a transactional fee or commission. We have partnered with over 300 co-working spaces to leverage on their startup community strength, and a large set of corporates who use the services of our professional network,” Gupta said.

According to Gupta, the platform has over 2000 paid subscribers, spread across 80 cities and gets queries from more than 250 cities.

It has inked an exclusive partnership with Lawyers Club India, offering a discovery venue for its members. The startup has collaborated with online law-courses provider Enhelion, helping its members to endorse their courses and help them generate content.  It is a channel partner for LetsComply, a platform providing legal, financial and tax services.

The company launched a student discovery platform for law students, which has over 2500 subscribers from over 300 law colleges in tier-1 and tier-2 cities, it claims.

Lawyered, which currently employs about 30 full time members, was part of India Accelerator’s Summer 2018 cohort.

The company raised a seed investment of $100,000 from angel investors in November last year. Pramendra Tomar, general counsel at Apollo International; Ratish Pandey, former general manager at Bose Corporation; Munish Bhatia, general manager at India Accelerator and Sumit Aggarwal, owner at Rainbows participated in the funding round.

It had acquired legal news aggregator app InCourt News in 2018 to expand its market outreach.

A handful of legal tech startups have raised venture capital investments in India.

Gurugram-based legal tech startup Legalkart raised over $490,000 in a seed round from angel investors in October last year. Legalkart helps lawyers in assigning tasks and synchronising calendars. The platform also provides advanced features like financial management, client management, document, and team management.

In June 2019, online marketplace for freelance legal, tax and accounting experts WizCounsel, raised Rs 1 crore in an angel round led by former Indian cricket team captain Kapil Dev. The platform caters to both individuals and small businesses. It offers services ranging from filing income tax to outsourcing legal and accounting work.

Legal-tech startup SpotDraft raised $1.5 million in February 2019 led by venture capital firm 021 Capital, which is backed by Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal. SpotDraft offers technology-based solutions for complex legal dealings, including drafting, managing and storing paperwork online, analysing contracts and automating invoices, besides sending reminders and advice on legal compliance. 

Prarambh, the legal tech incubator founded by law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, had announced the winners of its first cohort. The selected startups -- JRTC Intern, Leegality and LegalMind - are working on a diverse range of products including talent management, workflow for eStamping and eSignature and AI-based legal research during their six-month mentorship programme.