St. John's tech company gets major venture capital investment

Legal technology company Rally of St. John's has raised $750,000 from venture capitalists inside and outside of the province.

Company CEO Scott Stevenson made the announcement in St. John's on Wednesday.

He said the money will go toward hiring more people, building software features and expanding sales into the United States and more of Canada.

Rally provides business lawyers with software that helps them automate legal documents and collaborate with clients. Stevenson estimates the legal services market he's trying to break into at $1.1 trillion. 

"To date, our platform is in a very early 1.0 stage," Stevenson said. 

"With this next round of funding, we're doubling down on the collaboration side of things … enabling clients to log into a portal with their lawyer to examine all their most recent documents and any requests that they have from their lawyer," Stevenson said. 

Katie Breen/CBC

It's working to make different legal documents — PDFs, Word documents, and paper — "computer-understandable" 

"Inside all of those documents is a lot of crucial information so we're unearthing all that data … and using that information to let lawyers practise more efficiently, and to allow businesses and clients to operate their business with more legal insight." 

A great 'runway'

Ted Dillion/CBC

This latest round of funding, Stevenson said, gives the company "a great year-and-a half runway." He expects it will help bring revenues to about $500,000 a year. 

Rally is headquartered in St. John's and has an office in Toronto. With the new money, the company plans to double its team from four employees to eight or nine. 

New software developers will be based in the province but additional sales and marketing staff will likely work out of the Toronto office, Stevenson said. 

The two-year-old company currently has one anchor law firm and is working with another 10 early-adopter firms to make sure it's building what the legal field wants. 

Another success

The province's tech industry is on a streak. In less than four months, there have been four venture capital announcements worth hundreds of millions of dollars

The more established companies, Stevenson said, have been helping mentor other local up-and-coming tech businesses.

"I was able to look to other companies that had made it and gone on to become successes for support and advice and that has been crucial," Stevenson said. 

"The amount of learning that happens between companies like Verafin, HeyOrca, Mysa and CoLab Software, all of these companies are supporting entrepreneurs that come behind them."

It's a "repeatable process," he said. 

The breakdown 

The $750,000 investment is split four ways. 

Venue Newfoundland and Labrador LP — a group backed, in part, by the provincial government — invested $250,000. 

legalinnovationzone.ca

Killick Capital, a private investment firm based in St. John's and headed by Mark Dobbin, contributed another $250,000. 

And Concrete Ventures in Nova Scotia and Good News Ventures in Ontario invested the remaining $250,000.

"I think that was a huge piece of validation for ourselves and our investors," Stevenson said about some funds coming from out of province.

"It showed that not only are we just trying to invest in these companies to support our own economy, but this is a legitimate opportunity that an investor from outside Newfoundland wanted to invest in."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador