Co-written by Basha Rubin and Mirra Levitt
We are thrilled to announce that Priori has raised a $6.3M Series A from leading investors in legal technology. The last months have been a whirlwind, and we are now busy laying and executing plans to scale. More detail about the round and company can be found in our press release, but we wanted to take this opportunity to share more personal thoughts.
Priori's mission is to use data to drive better outside counsel hiring decisions in the $800B business legal services’ market. When we graduated from law school in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, we were interested in how a legal marketplace could help clients find the right lawyer at the right time and price. When we first launched Priori in 2013, we encountered skepticism from lawyers and clients alike. Today, there is a ravenous appetite for alternative approaches like ours. As you might guess from our seven year journey from launch to Series A, this isn’t a story of overnight success, but we are more persuaded than ever that the marketplace is a vital component of the legal services economy of the near future.
Our clients are Fortune 500, financial services and fast-growing technology companies who leverage our data-rich technology platform to find the right attorney for any project globally. In-house teams currently leverage personal relationships to find outside counsel, but that approach can lead to wasted time, unnecessary expenses and dissatisfaction with representation.
Here’s why our approach has the potential to significantly impact the legal industry:
Law firms have a 49% satisfaction rate with their outside counsel; through Priori, that number skyrockets to 98%
Our corporate clients report they save 60% versus their pre-existing solution through Priori
In terms of time to find the right lawyer for any project, our clients report they save 80%
In-house teams can diversify their outside counsel bench by using our data to direct work to diverse- and female-owned firms and attorneys
The uncertain economic environment has accelerated adoption by putting pressure on legal departments, small and large, to save money and use data to back up their decision-making. What we’re seeing is a tipping point in the industry, where a longstanding reticence to deviate from “business as usual” is giving way to the need to accomplish “more with less,” and to diversify outside counsel teams. These are needs that legal technology companies are well-positioned to address.
For us, this has meant that client spend has increased over 200% in the past year. With this fundraise, we will scale our business team to meet the surge in incoming demand, continue our global attorney network expansion and build our product to become a central tool in-house teams use to make outside counsel hiring decisions.
Our Personal Experiences
The investment gap between male and female founders is well-known: female founders only raise 2.2% of venture capital dollars, raising fewer and smaller rounds at lower valuations, and those dollars go overwhelmingly to businesses geared toward women and families. As an enterprise technology company founded by two women, who also happen to have families with young children, we wanted to voice our experience to color the broader narrative.
Even as we celebrate our win, we want to be open about the more difficult moments along the way. In the course of fundraising for Priori, we have negotiated a term sheet while in labor, pitched from the hospital bed the morning after giving birth, pitched (and worked) without childcare during lockdown, pumped breastmilk in the bathroom of a prominent VC firm in the 10 minutes before a pitch, had three babies in the course of two fundraising rounds and chosen redeye flights so we could make sure to have breakfast with our kids before heading back into the office. These moments make for good stories now, but living it has been equal parts lovely, exhilarating, frustrating and messy.
We are not unique in any of this. Working women with families everywhere have similar experiences. And we believe that the project of expanding the image of a successful woman requires saying this out loud and recounting those moments not just as professional war stories, but as the normal moments they are for working women.
We both passionately wanted to do all of this, but we also have been left wondering whether and how being women and parents has influenced how we are perceived as founders. While pitching our enterprise technology company, we have been counseled to build a “nice lifestyle business for two moms.” We have been introduced, on stage, as “mompreneurs” (by a dad, who did not self-identify as a “dadpreneur”). While pitching pregnant, we heard “I like your business and your numbers, but you don’t make my spidey sense tingle.” And on and on. These aren’t horror stories. But we have navigated a number of professional environments: law school, law firms and jobs in finance—and, this language, and the assumptions behind it, were new to us. And it brought with it a quiet, insidious concern that there was something about us that didn’t quite fit the pattern many investors imagined for ambitious founders.
We’ve hesitated about whether to share our relatively ordinary experience of fundraising. We are extraordinarily grateful for the amazing investors, lawyers, business leaders and team-members who have supported us and believed in us. What persuaded us to share our experience is the belief that every voice added to the conversation will push us all further toward a more expansive concept of what ambitious founders look like.
Of course, the most important way to do that is to grow our company. So watch this space. We’re building the future of law.