Left to right: Yong Soo Ping (Walden), Kris Leong (Walden), Ong Chiahli (Legalese), Alexis
Natalie Chun (Legalese), Wong Meng Weng (Legalese). Image credit: Walden International
Singapore-based legaltech/fintech startup Legalese announced on Monday that it has raised SG$600,000 (US$418,000) of funding led by venture capital firm Walden International. Several angel investors have also participated the round.
The startup plans to use the funding to develop its first web app and for further research and development in computational law, a computer science-based approach to the generation, management, and execution of legal paperwork.
“After we close this round of investment, the clock is ticking, and we’re on the hook: in the next 12 months our job is to turn capital into revenue, launch the product commercially, and strengthen the source of our competitive advantage, our core IP which supports the rest of our tech stack,” explained Legalese Co-Founder Wong Meng Weng in a press statement.
He also stated that if the startup’s “revenue experiments” were successful, Legalese will be in “good position” to raise a seed round in late 2017.
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Previously, Legalese had received a US$8,888 grant from cryptostudio String Labs and an AU$30,000 (US$22,000) Innovation Grant from ISIF.asia.
The startup claimed that the software has helped over 30 startups produce paperwork for more than US$1.5 million in funding.
The Legalese software was developed at Southeast Asia’s first startup accelerator JFDI in 2013 and 2014, and spun out of JFDI in 2015. Wong was the co-founder of JFDI, which closed down its bootcamp programme last year. Legalese co-founder Ong Chiah Li had also worked at JFDI, while co-founder Alexis Natalie Chun was a litigator.
“The need for something like Legalese became obvious during my time at JFDI; during peak periods we’d be making a dozen investments in a single month. Law firms would have charged an arm and a leg! We looked for software that could handle the volume, but we couldn’t find any. So we wrote some software ourselves. It was so popular we incorporated Legalese as a standalone startup,” said Ong.
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The startup also claimed that it is using its own product to help close this funding round.
“That’s what Silicon Valley calls eating your own dog food!” said Ong.