Casetext, a Y Combinator-backed legal tech startup that is both a community site for attorneys to share knowledge and a service that gives users free access to legal texts annotated by attorneys, today announced that it has raised a $7 million Series A round led by Union Square Ventures. Other participants in this round include Formation 8 and former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer, as well as existing investors. This round brings Casetext’s total funding to $8.8 million.
As Casetext CEO Jake Heller told me, the company was able to grow quickly on the back of its seed funding, and the site now has over 250,000 visitors every month. The site currently features over 100,000 posts from about 35,000 users. “We decided to raise now to build on our initial successes,” he told me. “We need to expand our team to tackle some of our most ambitious technological goals, and we’ll increase the coverage of our legal library so that more attorneys can rely on Casetext as their primary source of legal information.”
He also noted that USV was a natural choice to lead the investment because of its investment history, but also because two of its five partners are lawyers, including John Buttrick, who will join Casetext’s board.
The company plans to use the new funding to quickly expand its technical team to build out its technology. “We’re developing technology similar to that of Quora or Reddit, where incentives to contribute are paired with intelligent data science to determine which contributions to highlight,” Heller told me. The company also wants to use data science and natural language processing techniques to “help extract insights from the millions of pages of law and thousands of contributions to enhance our users’ understanding of the law.”
Heller acknowledges that the company faces the same problems as every other community-based site and needs to encourage the right people to contribute to the service. Going forward, Casetext will assemble a team of lawyers to engage more directly with the legal community and “elevate the conversation about important legal issues on Casetext.”