Hello! You may have seen our news that we raised some more funding to continue our mission to make contracts faster, smarter and more human. If you’ve not seen our endless self-congratulatory tweets - we raised $2m from Point Nine Capital, Seedcamp and angels including the founders of Gumtree, TransferWise and Indeed (more on this here).
Funding’s always exciting at a start-up but this round gives us the freedom to focus on what we’re really passionate about: reimagining contracts and the processes that go around them. Here’s how this new capital will help us achieve our vision.
Contracts by lawyers, for lawyers
To put this in context it’s maybe worth reflecting for a moment on why we founded Juro in the first place. As a former lawyer, I and thousands like me know the various problems with legal contracts. They’re hard to create, hard to negotiate, hard to sign and hard to keep track of. And once you have lots of them running through your business the problem compounds.
My co-founder Pavel had actually been on the receiving side of these punches running contracts in his previous software business and knew all too well the nightmare that contracts can create. When we reviewed the solutions out there - many of which had in fact been built to solve some of these problems - none really came close to addressing what we saw as a deeper, more fundamental problem.
Contracts are generally written by lawyers for lawyers. They exist in a design vacuum, often completely ignoring the end user. Dense paragraphs of legalese written in a language that to anyone other than legal professionals seem daunting, over-engineered and inhuman. Once you sign them, they’re typically sent to a Dropbox to die, meaning that all of that useful contract data (names, dates, obligations) are at best tracked manually or at worst forgotten. But weirdly at the same time they codify some of our most important business relationships.
Why, we thought, when you take on an employee or close a customer should that experience be hindered by a 25 page pdf and not enhanced by the contract; why shouldn’t that document live on to be a useful code of conduct to that crucial partnership? This is not a failure of efficiency; it is a failure of design.
Our academic heroes, like Margaret Hagan and Helena Haapio, have been publishing for some time about what legal design means, and the considerable upsides of putting end-users at the centre of legal processes. We now take those concepts and apply them to the process of agreeing contracts within your business. With events on the horizon like GDPR, telling us that legal documents like privacy policies must be written in plain English, concise, transparent and readable, this has never been more important.
Faster, smarter, more human contracts
Raising more capital has helped us to progress Juro faster and we’re essentially building the product around those three values: faster, smarter, more human: being able to generate a contract in seconds, seeing for the first time your contract performance data and agreeing contracts through a conversational interface. But this is just the start. Here’s where we’re going...
Faster. We’re building out workflows in our product to make all contract processes more efficient. From running approvals directly through the platform and more complex collaboration patterns to optimising the frequency of signing reminders and making the dashboard more actionable. You can expect the speed at which contracts are agreed to be turbocharged in the coming months.
Smarter. As TechCrunch mentioned, we are doubling down on our machine learning infrastructure to help you extract contract data, see patterns in negotiations and ultimately red flag contract terms. This kind of work is really really hard and it has taken time to get to the point where we can confidently give predictive accuracy that even your lawyerly eyes will get comfortable with. So we’ve been moving cautiously on this front. Our engineering team, now equipped with data science support will be driving this forward at pace. Lots happening here.
More human. We’re reimaging what it means to agree terms. Every detail in our product is built with the end user in mind. For example, with our new template editor, you can already add tables, images, custom branding and logos to your mobile responsive templates. In your interactions with contract stakeholders you will start to see increasingly personalised touches - and greater integration with Slack, Salesforce, GSuite and the tools you use every day. We already have customers sharing contract links in Whatsapp messages and we have ambitions to go much further…
More on this in our open product roadmap, which will be released soon : )
With this funding round we can build all this even faster, thanks to the expanding development team we have in Riga, Barcelona and Amsterdam. We’ll now be able to scale the Juro team across all fronts – marketing, sales, design, customer success, front and back-end development, and perhaps most importantly, data science.
As Juro expands and improves, thanks to our funders, we can help more and more companies get to grips with both legal design, and the simplification and acceleration of their contract workflow.
One of the best things about building Juro has been meeting in-house lawyers looking for a better way to design their contracts, workflows and processes. Whereas great legal design has often in the past been seen as a nice to have, it is becoming a must have (not least due to GDPR. Lawyers are starting to take notice. We believe that great design can help our customers deliver better legal services and we’re meeting more and more in-house lawyers who share the Juro vision.
And the amazing thing is that it’s not just about lawyers in t-shirts at tech unicorns. We are working with businesses of all kinds, even multi-billion dollar enterprises. Driving change, especially in the large enterprises we work with, is always hard. And yet, there are people out there who are driven to redesign the way contracts are agreed and we’ve seen adoption of Juro in these businesses like there’s no tomorrow. This is awesome and we’re hugely grateful to those who backed our early vision. It can’t be understated how instrumental they have been to shaping Juro’s future.
Interested to find out more? Get in touch if you’d like to request a demo or hear more about what great legal design can do for you.