Priori Legal on 28 October announced that they have raised $6.3m Series A. Aside from being another fairly ‘wow’ sum of money being raised in the legal tech space, the reason this is newsworthy is because Priori is founded by two women: female founders only raise 2.2% of venture capital dollars. In a blog announcing the Series A, co-founders Basha Rubin and Mirra Levitt said: “Even as we celebrate our win, we want to be open about the more difficult moments along the way.”
Priori Legal is a global legal marketplace for in-house teams, helping them to flex resource up and down. Founded in 2013 in New York (Rubin and Levitt were classmates at Yale), the company now counts Fortune 500, financial services and technology companies among its clients.
In their blog, Rubin and Levitt say: “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.”
The investment gap between male and female founders is well-known, and of the paltry 2.2% figure above, most of that goes to businesses geared towards women and families. Rubin and Levitt say: “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.”
Rubin and Levitt say they hesitated to share their “relatively ordinary” experience of fundraising and but add: “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.”
Female founders should note that two-time successful legal tech founder Gabriela Isturiz is launching an incubator to help support female entrepreneurs and you can find the details of that here: https://legaltechnology.com/exclusive-cary-burch-and-erik-baklid-spearhead-launch-of-new-100m-growth-capital-fund-bryce-catalyst/