Toronto-based MinuteBox has raised a $5 million CAD ($4 million USD) seed round led by Michael and Richard Hyatt to fuel its expansion plans.
Co-founded by a group of former lawyers, MinuteBox provides cloud-based legal entity management software. Like other legaltech startups, MinuteBox saw demand for its solution increase during the pandemic as COVID-19 led slow-moving, traditionally tech-conservative law firms switched to the cloud by necessity to stay in business.
“After the initial confusion and uncertainty wore off … we really saw the business start to accelerate incredibly.”
-Daniel Levine, MinuteBox
Now, with the backing and guidance of experienced operators in the brothers behind BlueCat—MinuteBox aims to build on its pandemic growth and capture more of the North American market for cloud-based legal solutions.
“We were just set to go to market in and around when the pandemic hit,” MinuteBox co-founder and CEO Daniel Levine told BetaKit in an interview. “What was amazing [was] after the initial confusion and uncertainty wore off … we really saw the business start to accelerate incredibly.”
Founded by Levine, Steven Pulver, Sean Bernstein, and Brian Hunt (who joined the startup following its 2019 acquisition of Conductor), MinuteBox provides law firms with tools for safely and securely managing and creating digital minute books and corporate records on behalf of clients. The startup’s software solution offers cloud storage, document automation, and e-signature capabilities, and permits users to easily visualize reports, ledgers, registers, ownership charts, and cap tables without the need to generate PDFs.
Levine attributed MinuteBox’s recent growth to COVID-19 forcing law firms had previously been slow to shift to the cloud being “in a situation where, not only were they now bought into the idea”—but they were ramping up their adoption of cloud “for business continuity purposes.”
“We had the right product, at the right time, and the right service,” Levine said.
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MinuteBox’s all-equity seed financing was led by the Hyatt brothers, with support from Cowie Capital and Jai Shekhawat, the founder and former CEO of Fieldglass. The round represents the startup’s first venture funding to date.
“Despite having a lot of interest from other firms, we knew that we wanted to go with [the Hyatts],” said Levine. “These are, in Michael and Richard, two experienced operators that have been through everything and anything one can [go] through as an entrepreneur, and just have a tremendous amount of mentorship and advice that they can provide.”
Michael Hyatt has joined MinuteBox’s board as part of the round. Hyatt told BetaKit that MinuteBox has “a lot of excellent client traction, strong sales growth, a great team and a very sticky product.” The entrepreneur-turned-investor added that he was impressed by the list of “marquee enterprise clients” the startup has added to date.
MinuteBox’s customers include three of Canada’s “Seven Sisters” law firms—which includes Blakes, Davies, Goodmans, McCarthy, Osler, Stikeman, and Torys—and one of the Big Four accounting firms (Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and PwC).
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Toronto-based law firm Loopstra Nixon LLP, an early adopter of MinuteBox, chose the startup’s platform to help modernize its corporate law practice and aid its transition to cloud. “They have been instrumental in helping us transform our corporate records management system into a more accurate and accessible system for our clients,” said Loopstra Nixon LLP Partner Michael Otto.
MinuteBox, which enables corporate legal professionals to easily share, work, and collaborate with each other at scale, claims it is “the only no-code legal entity cloud.”
The startup operates in the legal entity management space, a segment that features big-name competitors like New York’s Diligent and fellow upstarts like Calgary-based Athennian.
MinuteBox and Athennian are both members of Canada’s rapidly expanding legaltech sector, which includes startups like Lawbrokr, Goodlawyer, Blue J, Willful, ClearEstate, and Heirlume, as well as more established players like Dye & Durham and Clio.
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The legaltech firm plans to use the fresh capital to grow its 25-person team and invest in product development. In addition to the funding, MinuteBox has announced the official launch of its new MinuteBox App Store. According to MinuteBox, its app store is “the first and only” legal entity management marketplace.
Although its current focus is on Canada and the United States, Levine sees room for MinuteBox to grow into other markets as well.
“I think there’s tremendous opportunity, not just in North America but around the world, particularly in common law countries, where this idea of entity management and legal compliance and governance is really a new thing in most markets,” said Levine.
Hyatt, who “believes strongly in legal technology as a growth opportunity,” sees opportunity for MinuteBox’s solution beyond just law firms. “It’s not just law firms,” said Hyatt. “It’s law firms and many regular enterprises that have entity management and filing needs. We see real demand across our portfolio of companies.”
With files from Meagan Simpson.
Feature image courtesy MinuteBox.