11 November 2015 08:00
New entrants transforming legal services for SMEs
Lexoo, the legal tech start-up, has raised $1.3 million in new funding. It's one of several new "disrupters" that are changing the face of legal services for businesses in the UK.
Lexoo matches UK SMEs and entrepreneurs with hand-picked lawyers. This new funding round was led by Forward Partners and follows an earlier $400,000 investment in January. Other investors include Jonathan McKay (chairman of Just Giving), Duncan Jennings (founder of Vouchercodes) and the London Co-Investment Fund.
Since launching in July 2014, Lexoo has grown over 25% month-on-month and is currently processing over $1.5m in legal work annually.
Lexoo allows businesses to compare quotes from a curated line-up of lawyers, for free. After posting a job, businesses receive between three to four quotes (usually fixed fee) from screened lawyers with expertise in the relevant legal area. Average savings for business clients, says the firm, are 46%.
Daniel van Binsbergen, Lexoo CEO (pictured on the right, with co-founder Chris O'Sullivan) said:
"The country's legal services market is worth £29bn and, so far, has widely avoided the disruptive impact of the digital revolution. However the landscape is changing, with demand for online services set to rise by up to 37% over the next five years."
Binsbergen added: "Until now, engaging a lawyer has been an intimidating prospect for entrepreneurs, who've tended to hire via a combination of personal connections and searching Google."
But, he said, this doesn't solve two key problems faced by business owners - making sure they're paying a fair price and finding a lawyer with the right experience. "We remove these challenges by supplying a selection of lawyers with relevant expertise and providing price transparency through multiple competitive quotes."
The transformation of the UK's legal sector has come about as many of its previous restrictive practices have been lifted. Now law firms can advertise, they can be owned by non-solicitors and some legal services are no longer "reserved" only for qualified solicitors.
As a result, many lawyers have set up their own virtual practices. In addition, dozens of new entrants have come into the legal market in the past few years; all hoping to become the Rightmove of the legal market. Lexoo is one of the few that has attracted significant investment, alongside VouchedFor, MyBarrister, and Google-backed Rocket Law among others.