Apperio, a leading provider of legal spend analytics and matter tracking software, announced that it has raised a $7 million growth round of venture capital funding. The company will use the funding to further develop its product for corporate counsel and meet the growing demand for new functionality from law firms. Apperio will also accelerate its expansion to the U.S. market.
Molten Ventures (formerly Draper Esprit) led the investment, which was joined by Notion Capital, IQ Capital, Nextlaw Ventures, Volution and Hambro Perks who provided venture debt. Both Volution and Hambro Perks are new investors included in this round. The announcement today brings the total funding Apperio has raised to date to $19.9 million.
A catalyst for better transparency in legal spend management
The idea for Apperio began when its founder and CEO, Nicholas d’Adhemar, a lawyer turned private equity investment manager, noticed his PE firm was often surprised by the size of law firm invoices. The fees charged by outside legal service providers for transactions would frequently exceed the cost of the initial estimate given at the outset with little to no visibility that this had occurred until the invoice landed.
Having worked in a law firm previously, d’Adhemar recognized that the law firms were simply being thorough. Given the pace and intensity of work around deals, he knew both the client and the law firm lost track of just how much billable time the law firm had booked on the clock. He knew there was a better way – so he founded Apperio and embarked on a third career as a legal tech entrepreneur.
A single comprehensive view of legal spending
Apperio provides in-house counsel with a comprehensive view of its legal spending on a single dashboard. Its legal spend management platform aggregates and analyzes both historical and current legal spend, including law firm work-in-progress (WIP) / accruals and provides streamlined invoice approval workflow. The software does this, in part, by uniquely connecting directly to the practice management systems of law firms.
With Apperio, in-house lawyers and legal operations can see in real time when the budget for a given legal matter meets a certain threshold. This enables them to initiate a conversation with their law firms about the course of legal work before it exceeds the budget. It may well be that a given matter merits increased spending, but Apperio gives in-house teams the control to make that decision rather than be surprised by an invoice.
The product quickly drew interest from in-house lawyers working in private equity ranging from boutique PE firms like Epiris – to global giants like EQT. It has also gained traction among the broader legal market and has more than 60 corporate counsel customers.
Customers include Network Rail, Cornerstone, Phoenix Group and Royal London. The latter described how Apperio was part of a larger legal digital transformation project in a recent case study published in The Docket by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC).
Initially hesitant, law firms increasingly embrace ‘ultra-transparency’
One of the factors that make Apperio so unique is its collaborative approach to legal spend management. Where many existing solutions on the market today pit corporate counsel and law firms against each other, Apperio has diligently built out dashboard tools that provide law firms with a client-centric view of their legal spend data. This fosters a shared understanding between law firms and their clients – and shifts the focus back to the legal work at hand instead of the adversarial haggling that traditionally festered over invoices and discounts.
While some law firms were initially hesitant to share WIP and accruals with corporate counsel clients, many have come around to see this ultra-transparency as a competitive advantage. For example, an experiment with Dentons found that Apperio helped one practice group generate more contemporaneous time entries, which led to faster, and yet accurate, invoices. In turn, this reduced the time that elapsed between sending an invoice to a client and payment by as much as 56% in some instances.
Today, there are more than 250 global law firms connected to the Apperio platform. These firms are finding that facilitating this level of transparency builds trust that strengthens relationships with clients. As such, many are beginning to request premium features in the product and this growth round will enable Apperio to meet those market needs.
“We’re deeply grateful to our investors whose commitment has enabled Apperio to think differently about this enduring problem of transparency in the business of law,” said d’Adhemar. “We’re looking forward to their continued collaboration in this next chapter as we build out our legal spend management software and strive to strengthen the relationship between corporate counsel and their law firms.”