Atrium, the legaltech start-up that raised US$75m, is no more

More than 100 people have lost their jobs as a pivot announced in January fails

Atrium, the legaltech start-up that raised US$75m, is no more

Atrium has decided to call it quits.

More than 100 people have found themselves out of a job as the US-based start-up decided to cut its losses after failing to regain momentum following a revamp of the organisation’s business model announced in January, according to a TechCrunch report.

Justin Kan, the Silicon Valley star who co-founded Atrium, said that some of the money raised by the start-up will be returned to investors.

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Founded in 2017, Atrium was the brainchild of Kan and Augie Rakow, a former partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. The start-up quickly made headlines, partly because Kan is the co-founder of what would become Twitch, which would later sell to Amazon for nearly US$1bn.

With the Silicon Valley wiz, who has a near-unicorn exit on his resume, and seasoned lawyers from top-tier US law firms, the start-up promised to offer alternative legal services tailored specifically for founders and entrepreneurs and delivered through cutting-edge technology, all at a better price than traditional firms.

Atrium raised a total of US$75.5m in two funding rounds, including from a US$65m Series B in 2018 led by Andreessen Horowitz, according to CrunchBase. The start-up was backed by well-known investors, including General Catalyst, Greylock Partners, Sound Ventures, SV Angel, and Y Combinator.

But the start-up soon found it hard to disrupt the legal services industry. This January, it announced that it was pivoting away from legal services. It spun out its law firm operations and tried to focus on being purely a software company.

The pitch was that the company was building a professional-services network and that Atrium, as the technology platform and services maker, would refer clients to its preferred lawyers. Just over a month later, Kan and the company’s leaders have given up on the plan.

Nonetheless, TechCrunch said that this isn’t the end of the road for the Atrium name. The standalone law firm will continue under the leadership of partners Michel Narganes and Matthew Melville.

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