Juro is set to launch in the United States following the 2016-founded contract management platform’s $5m Series A round led by New York-based VC Union Square Ventures.
USV – the early backers of Twitter, Twilio, Etsy and Kickstarter – has previously invested in legal research platform Casetext but this is its first UK investment for years.
While the investment will fuel Juro’s growth from its London and Riga offices, CEO and co-founder Richard Mabey told Legal IT Insider that Juro has immediate plans to hire in the US. Asked how much of a factor the ability of USV to support US growth was, Mabey told us: “It was quite a factor. Our customers operate all over the world but in the United States the legal market is larger than the rest of world combined and there is a lot demand among the types of companies we work with – often fast growing technology companies – because of the pain being experienced by them in the contracting process. That pain is often compounded by the volume of contracts they are handling. If you are a fast-growing VC-backed mid-market scale up pre or post IPO the volume of contracts you are handling is large and you really can’t do without automation.”
The plan is to have a couple of people on the ground in the US to start with. However, Mabey was at pains to stress that the investment will not go just into growing Juro’s geographical customer base and said Juro will “double down on product.” He said: “What I mean by that is that contact management has been around for 30 years but legacy providers have not been good enough to see widespread adoption and what that means for us is we have to build a product that is consistently excellent and will be adopted by legal teams and the functions that have interaction with contracts. For us it’s not a question of this is just growth capital and swelling marketing. There is still more we want to do and we are hiring engineers, developers and data scientists and will continue to build the product in a very careful way.” That allocation of resources will be entirely in Riga.
Where Juro started out with a heavy focus on pre signature contract workflow, trying to make the experience of agreeing contracts as fast as possible, it has over the past year made headway in tracking and analysing key contract data. Users are now able to upload a PDF and Juro will extract eg jurisdiction and key dates. The roadmap will see it look towards predictive drafting and providing users with insights to help drive and shape behaviour.
Inbound US-UK Series A investment such as this is still unusual but on the increase – other examples include Tessian’s $42m Series B led by Sequoia Capital, where TechCrunch journalist Steve O’Hear said: “Continuing a trend that VCs here in London tell me is seeing an increasing amount of deal-flow in Europe attract the interest of top-tier Silicon Valley venture capital firms, TechCrunch has learned that email security provider Tessian is the latest to raise from across the pond.”
Mabey said that USV is keen to expand its business in new geographies.