With its subscription-based legal services platform, Lawpath wants to become the Asia Pacific’s LegalZoom (in fact, LegalZoom is one of its investors). Based in Sydney, Australia, Lawpath serves small businesses with services like legal documents, customized legal workflows, e-signatures, business registration and on-demand lawyers. The company announced today it has raised $7.5 million AUD (about $5.5 million USD) to expand into new markets, including upcoming launches in New Zealand and Southeast Asia.
Founded in 2013, Lawpath currently has about 230,000 users, and says it is used to help form 5% of new companies in Australia.
Participants in this round, which brings Lawpath’s total raised to $14 million AUD, include the Gonski family; Adore Beauty chair Justin Ryan; Sandbar Investments; Ooh! Media and Readytech chair Tony Faure; LegalZoom director Khai Ha; and Bryant Stibel founding partner Gonzalo Troncoso. Existing investors Adcock Private Equity and LegalZoom also returned for this raise.
In addition to international expansion, the funding will also be used to double Lawpath’s current team of 40 people, especially for its product and software departments.
Dominic Woolrych, co-founder and chief executive officer of Lawpath, said he decided to create Lawpath while working for a large law firm, where he realized that many legal services are inaccessible to small businesses. About 98% of businesses in the world are SMEs, he told TechCrunch in an email, and 87% of them don’t seek legal help because of cost and access issues.
“There are millions of legal transactions that happen every day that small businesses don’t seek legal advice on simply because they can’t afford to and it’s leaving them unprotected,” he said.
Lawpath’s customers are typically businesses that make less than $5 million in revenue and have up to 20 employees. About 40% of them work in online sectors, like e-commerce or the gig economy, and there has recently been an increase in professional service providers, like financial planners, accountants and other lawyers, signing up for the platform.
The company’s plans start at $29 AUD a month, and its most popular tier is the $89 per month “Legal Advice” plan, which includes unlimited 30-minute phone calls with a lawyer. Other services include business registration plans that automatically set up a company, completes government and tax registration and manages ongoing legal and compliance tasks, and a lawyer marketplace.
Woolrych said Lawpath has seen an uptick in use during the pandemic as more companies rely on its team accounts, legal document collaboration features and e-signature tool to perform remote work. Demand for its business registration and legal plan subscriptions have also increased as people launch side hustles during lockdowns.
In terms of localization as it expands geographically, Lawpath’s SaaS platform acts as the underlying infrastructure for legal documents, APIs and lawyers, so it can move into new markets quickly, Woolrych said.
“We saw Lawpath following a similar path to accounting platform Xero,” he added. “Xero is an accounting infrastructure that small businesses use to complete their accounting. Xero has moved into many new markets by injecting local accounting methods into its platform. Lawpath can do the same for legal and become the ‘Xero of Law.’ ”