Services/Analysis/

Lawhive raises $2m to give consumers cheaper legal advice

The legaltech company's round included 25 angel investors, including the Bloom & Wild and Allplants founders

By Eleanor Warnock

Lawhive

UK legaltech Lawhive has raised a $2m seed round to make it easier for consumers and small businesses to access lawyers. That’s a pretty different approach to most legaltech startups, which mainly sell to law firms or big companies. 

What does Lawhive do?

  • Lawhive wants to give access to affordable legal services to consumers and small and medium-sized businesses in the UK, given that last year 3m consumers and 1m SMEs had a legal problem that didn’t get solved. “In many cases, individuals and small companies don’t even think to seek legal help. It’s so bewildering, it’s so opaque and they see it as something expensive. So they go at it alone or they drop the dispute,” says cofounder and CEO Pierre Proner. 
  • The company provides a platform for solicitors that automates time-consuming but repetitive tasks like gathering documents. That means solicitors can take on more clients and charge less per case. Proner says that in some cases, clients are paying at least a third less than if they went to a solicitor directly. 
  • Consumers go on the Lawhive website, give some information about their case — is it about property? Employment? A will? — and then get connected to a solicitor. They can share documents and communicate with the solicitor through the online platform. 
  • Proner says some of the most common cases are “David v Goliath claims against big corporates — such as Covid flight refunds that airlines or travel agents have refused to pay out without any legal basis.”

Who is investing in Lawhive?

  • The round was led by VC firm Episode 1 Ventures with participation from Tiny VC
  • 25 angel investors also participated in the round, including the Bloom & Wild founder Aron Gelbard, the Allplants founder Jonathan Petrides and executives from Monzo, Spofity, Meta and N26. That reflects a growing trend of founders bringing greater numbers of angels on board to access their networks and expertise. Proner previously told Sifted that “it’s been like having a panel of the best top advisers in the world, who also happened to invest in the company”.

What are they using the money for?

  • Lawhive plans to use the investment to expand product, engineering and operations teams. It currently employs eight people. 

What does the market look like?

According to Dealroom, legaltech startups raised a record $5.8bn in 2021 and the industry has created 17 companies worth more than $1bn. Two of those have their roots in Europe — AirSlate and PandaDoc. Major European VCs remain bullish on the space; Atomico backed Sweden’s contract creation and management software PocketLaw at Series A earlier this year. Last year, Goldman Sachs backed London’s financial crime detection company Complyadvantage.

But most legaltech startups to date have been focusing on issues like fraud, compliance and process automation for larger companies. B2C propositions have largely been focused on niche areas — such as Farewill in the UK which specifically focuses on legal processes around death. One French company, Ekie, lets companies offer employees access to legal services as a benefit. 

Sifted’s take

Thinking about hiring a lawyer for something feels a bit like going to the dentist — you don’t know how much it’s going to cost and it feels like way too much of a hassle. Going on a website and potentially paying a lot less does seem quite attractive. But as someone who has gone through a solicitor online (I used Juno for some conveyancing needs), I can understand that there are also times when you want to pay more so you can pick up the phone and call someone — and there are all potential complications with cases that could make automation difficult. Still, any company that gives more access to legal services to a broader public can’t be a bad thing. 

Eleanor Warnock is Sifted’s deputy editor and cohost of The Sifted Podcast, and writes Up Round, a weekly newsletter on VC. She tweets from @misssaxbys 

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