Melbourne-based legaltech firm Plexus has raised what it believed to be the largest venture capital funding round in the Australian legal sector.
The company raised $4.65m from high-profile investors in a round led by KPMG. Plexus has also entered a strategic partnership with KPMG Law.
“We are at the dawn of a 20-year transformation of one of the world’s most conservative industries. We believe that in the future, legal services will be delivered with the ease we expect of flicking a light switch. This investment and alliance represents a giant step towards realising that vision,” said Andrew Mellett, Plexus founder and chief executive.
Other Series A investors include Aconex co-founders Rob Phillpot and Leigh Jasper, and Message Media co-founder and executive director Grant Rule.
"In Plexus, we see the same opportunity to dramatically enhance the efficiency of the legal industry that we saw in the construction industry for Aconex,” Jasper said. Oracle acquired Aconex last year for $1.6bn.
Plexus said that it will use the new funding to invest in Plexus Gateway, its legal automation platform, and in international expansion. The firm also has offices in Sydney, London, and Washington, DC.
In a study involving 100 general counsels in Australia, Plexus found that general counsels expect to see more investment in technology than their team size. Plexus said that while 97% of surveyed general counsels expect no major increase in headcount for their departments in the next three years, they expect an increase in technology spending by 111% year-on-year.
“Our research shows that like many other industries, legal executives are choosing technology over human investment. Digital transformation and automation is at the top of CEOs’ agendas – but legal is late to the party. General counsels now recognise they need invest in technology to free up their people to have more strategic impact. This investment marks a tipping point for the broader legal industry and we’re at the forefront of that change,” Mellett said. “In KPMG, we have a partner that is committed to work with us to bring revolutionary legal solutions to clients, brings instant credibility and almost unparalleled reach.”
“After assessing the global markets for the last 18 months, we were surprised and very pleased to find a world leader in legal automation here in Australia,” said Stuart Filler, KPMG Law’s Asia-Pacific head. “Our analysis suggests that Plexus Gateway is one of the world’s most advanced platforms for in-house legal functions. When combined with KPMG Law’s range of core and new solutions, it will allow us to provide a single access, one-stop platform to our clients.”