Lawcadia secures $500,000 and becomes Queensland Business Development Fund’s first legal startup investment

Lawcadia CEO and founder Warwick Walsh

Brisbane-founded legal startup Lawcadia has secured another $500,000 in funding to bring its total investment raised over the past year to $1 million.

The investment comes from the Queensland government’s $40 million Business Development Fund and makes Lawcadia the first legal startup to secure one of its grants.

The “matched funding” grant follows a $500,000 seed investment from Queensland-based ACAC Innovation, says Lawcadia founder and chief executive Warwick Walsh.

Lawcadia is a digital platform for businesses and government departments to find, engage and manage outsourced legal counsel. The $1 million raised over the past year has helped Lawcadia expand its team to 14 people and Walsh is planning to grow this further as the startup “looks towards global expansion”.

The latest $500,000 in funding will also be used to add to the platform’s functionality and “to help with client on-boarding”, he says.

Lawcadia currently has more than 60 law firms registered on the platform and Walsh expects that number to “at least double” in the next 12 months, which will drive up its user numbers “significantly”.

Queensland treasurer and minister for trade and investment Curtis Pitt says the funding was awarded to Lawcadia to help accelerate its growth across the Asia-Pacific region and is an example of the high-growth ventures the government wants to back.

“The Lawcadia business model aims to help companies and governments in global markets rethink the way they procure and manage legal services and use data on their legal matters,” Pitt said in a statement.

“From the government’s perspective, investing in companies such as Lawcadia is good for Queensland.”

The grant application process

According to Walsh, applying for the grant was a very “streamlined” process that took about three months in total, from submitting the application to receiving funding.

“We put the application in in the middle of December [2016] and we found out we were shortlisted within a week,” says Walsh.

After this, he had to pitch his startup to “half a dozen people in the private sector” including Blue Sky Venture Capital’s Dr Elaine Stead and Bondi Ventures’ Mike Zimmerman.

Walsh says it was only a matter of days after this pitch session in late February this year that he was informed Lawcadia would receive funding.

“I think the Queensland government is very much behind startups and enhancing the growth of those companies,” he says.

“[The Business Development Fund] is an excellent fund for companies who have started to get some good traction with revenue and clients.”

Reflecting on the pitching and application process, Walsh says founders applying for such grants should have a thorough understanding of their numbers and unique value proposition.

“I got a lot of questions about our market [and] who’s in the market and the legal tech market,” he says.

“So we really had to differentiate ourselves as to why we’re unique and starting to get traction.

“There were [also] a lot of questions around financials and projections.”

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