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Legaltech startup Clio launches Fintech payment product and investment fund

Betakit | Josh Scott | Oct 26, 2021

jack newton of Clio - Legaltech startup Clio launches Fintech payment product and investment fundLegaltech startup Clio has announced the launch of Clio Payments and a new fund, as the Burnaby-based unicorn joins a growing group of companies spicing up their SaaS offerings with a pinch of FinTech.

In an interview with BetaKit, Clio co-founder and CEO Jack Newton called Clio Payments “one of the most significant engineering and product investments” the startup has made to date. The CEO also referred to Clio’s move into FinTech as “a natural progression” towards its goal of building an “operating system” for legal clients.

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To further accelerate that goal is Clio Ventures, a new investment fund through which the company plans to back early-stage partner companies working on integrations with Clio. Newton said the aim is in part to help make Clio’s offering a more “tailor-made solution” for various legal practice areas.

On the payments side, Clio previously offered Clio Payments powered by a third-party processor, Austin-based LawPay. But according to Newton, this offering was limited, and Clio saw an opportunity to build its own payments platform “from the ground up” and imbue it with more capabilities and a better customer experience.

Clio unveiled Clio Payments and Clio Ventures as part of its 2021 Clio Cloud Conference, alongside a slew of other product announcements, including the launch of a mobile and desktop communication app for clients and cloud-based document management app.

These moves are the latest in what has been a busy year for Clio, which has acquired Lawyaw and CalendarRules, and raised a $136 million CAD ($110 million USD) Series E round led by T. Rowe Price Investment Management and OMERS Growth Equity, at a reported $1.6 billion USD valuation. According to the startup, this financing established Clio as the first legal practice management company globally to reach unicorn status.

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According to Newton, payments are “at the heart of [Clio’s] operating system,” and “a really natural thing for us to own and to develop ourselves.  It’s often the very end of the legal interaction, the end of the journey that orbits around payments, that is actually filled with a lot of friction for both consumers and for lawyers,” said Newton.

According to the CEO, many lawyers face difficulty billing and getting paid due to the use of outdated paper invoice and payment processes, while clients sometimes struggle to pay in a lump sum and have a hard time understanding fees, especially within the existing legal payment provider landscape.

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