Skolkovo startup Pravoved.ru, a robot-lawyer platform providing legal consultations, has raised $1 million from two venture funds, AddVenture and Target Global Fintech Opportunities Fund.
Pravoved.ru has developed and launched a robot-lawyer based on neural networks, enabling it to give legal consultations without the participation of a human lawyer.
“Our goal is to make the legal service market more democratic by means of modern technology,” said Valery Meshkov, CEO and founder of Pravoved.ru, in which AddVenture already invested $1 million in August 2017 as part of a Series A round.
“In the future, Pravoved’s algorithms will give legal consultations, draw up the necessary paperwork, and assess a case’s potential. This will enable a large number of people to gain access to qualified legal help,” Meshkov told Sk.ru.
Pravoved.ru, which took part in the Skolkovo LegalTech conference held earlier this year, is the most visited legal tech resource, not only in Russia, but in Europe too. At the start of this year, the number of its users reached 7 million people a month. In 2017, the site was visited by about 40 million users: 25 percent more than the previous year.
“The annual volume of foreign venture financing in legal tech companies is growing by 10-15 percent a year, according to CB Insights,” Anton Pronin, director of the Skolkovo Foundation’s legal tech centre, told Sk.ru.
“The biggest investors in legal tech include GV [formerly Google Ventures], Technology Crossover Ventures and Iconiq Capital. For Russia, these are so far one-off deals, but Pravoved.ru is a unique company that has managed to rise more than 2 million dollars in two years,” added Pronin.
In the first month of its work, the robot-lawyer answered more than 1,700 questions about rights protection from users: the equivalent of about 600 hours of a human lawyer’s time. In 2018, the sphere of expertise is to be expanded to include family and labour law, mortgage issues, and payments made to families for having more children under a government programme aimed at boosting the Russian population. The founders of Pravoved.ru believe that in five years’ time, the robot-lawyer will be able to answer more than 70 percent of users’ questions.
Surveys have shown that Russians are more open to the use of artificial intelligence in their legal affairs than other nations. In surveys in which people were asked whether they would agree to their court case being decided upon by a robot-judge, the highest proportion of positive reactions came from Russia, political scientist Ekaterina Schulmann said at the Skolkovo Robotics conference and exhibition last year. The idea of impartial robot-judges and robot-officials is already being discussed by political scientists, she said.
Earlier this month, another Skolkovo startup, Try.Fit, raised 600,000 euros in a pre-A round of funding from a group of investors, the East-West Digital News website reported this week, citing the company’s CEO and founder, Vagan Martirosyan.
Ty.Fit, which finds the best-fitting footwear for customers by digitally scanning the foot and analysing the data, plans to spends the funds on opening 100 feet-scanning stations across Russia to collect data on the feet of a million Russians, the website reported.