When barrister and entrepreneur Laura Keily founded Immediation in 2019, the goal was to provide a digital solution for courtrooms and mediators. And while she could see a clear gap for such a product from an efficiency and accessibility point of view, Ms. Keily had no idea a pandemic was about force a digital shift in the archaic and slow-moving industry.
In the last 12 months, Immediate has increased revenue by six times year-on-year and has seen user growth increase by 2000 percent. It has secured major contracts with the Federal Court of Australia, VCAT, and New Zealand’s Ministry of Justice. And has now raised $3.6 million to fund its expansion into the US.
“What we’ve done is transition the legal industry, and in particular courts and dispute resolution, into an online environment,” Ms. Keily said.
“The pandemic has provided the impetus and the opportunity for the legal industry to shift, really because they had no other choice.”
While the legal industry, like many others, turned to available off-the-shelf solutions like Zoom to conduct business as the pandemic first hit, it quickly became apparent that a consumer video conferencing app would be insufficient in the long run.
Immediate was already up and running at the time, and Ms. Keily said that customers were moving away from Zoom and looking for a future-proofed solution for courts and dispute resolution online.
“We’ve spent a lot of time making sure that the experience for judges and lawyers and clients is immersive so that they’re doing all the things they need to be able to do,” she said.
That includes the ability to share documents or annotate them as though you’re passing it up to a witness in the witness box. It also means making sure, for example, witnesses can’t see any other information that they’re not supposed to see when they’re answering questions, and that barristers and clients have a space for confidential communication.
“All those things that you imagine would be roadblocks [to conducting legal proceedings online], we spent a lot of time on functional development to make sure that those things are smoothed out,” Ms. Keily said.
Along with the new funding, which includes returning investors Alex Waislitz and Thorney Investment Group, Immediate has appointed a new chair in business leader Christine Christian, and new board members including startup advisor Rachael Neumann, and new advisory board members including Afterpay chair Elana Rubin.
Courts were ripe for transformation, with a centuries-old way of doing business that was protracted, inefficient, and inaccessible, Ms. Christian said, and early signs in the US showed an even more enthusiastic uptake than locally.
“I see a global marketplace here, not a domestic marketplace, and there’s been a very deliberate decision taken to develop [the product] on the understanding that there is global applicability right from the start,” she said.
“The video conferencing and the meeting is just a small part of the business. The great benefit here is the actual functionality, and the operating part of the business, that is going to deliver terrific value”.