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Tue 23 Jul 2019 01:50 PM

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Dubai firm raises $2m to provide digital legal advice for start-ups

Clara mixes latest technology with human interaction to help start-ups

Dubai firm raises $2m to provide digital legal advice for start-ups
Clara founding team - includes Patrick Rogers, Lee McMahon, Hannah McKinlay, Ahmed Arif, and Arthur Guest.

A start-up friendly legal service has successfully raised a $2 million round of seed funding.

The financing for Clara has come from a consortium of international investors, including including Techstars, 500 Startups, Wamda Capital, VentureSouq, Delta Partners, Shorooq Investments and Dubai Angel Investors.

The seed round will be used to build out Clara’s tech, design and content creation teams and to support international expansion across the key international jurisdictions through which venture capital is deployed globally.

Founded last year by the leadership team of Support Legal - one of the leading start-up law firms in the MENA region - including Patrick Rogers, Lee McMahon, Hannah McKinlay, Ahmed Arif, and Arthur Guest, the company uses software and human expertise to provide legal advice and services for start-ups.

Rogers told Arabian Business: “Start-ups will often fail because they didn’t take legal advice at the right time. Actions such as incorporating in the wrong jurisdiction or giving too much equity away can make start-ups uninvestable.

“We wanted to build a product for those founders. Let Clara, and a globally-sourced team of elite start-up lawyers, take care of this and let them return to building their team and their products.”

Repetitive tasks

The Clara platform automates many of the repetitive tasks lawyers currently charge for, including drafting agreements and educating founders on key legal topics. The conversational software teaches founders about the gaps in their start-up’s legal structure and guides them through the process to address these gaps.

Rogers told Arabian Business: “Our thinking was that, if we could automate these repetitive tasks and build software to educate founders, we can focus our lawyer time on more complex matters – the type of work that start-ups are typically happy to pay lawyers for.”

Clara also automates the creation of cap tables and due diligence summaries and builds data rooms to present a start-up’s entire legal structure in a single visual, so legal due diligence will be performed by investors and their lawyers in a fraction of the time it currently takes.

“To a certain extent, our thinking was, ‘if we don’t do this now, someone else will’,” said Rogers.

On-demand access

When startups need assistance on bespoke matters, such as negotiating a round of financing or incorporating a company, Clara provides on-demand access to a curated marketplace of startup-friendly legal service providers and company registration agents.

For venture capital firms, accelerators and incubators, Clara offers a portfolio management tool providing due diligence data in real time and offering investors the ability to run analytics on their investments.

Born in Dubai, the company is now headquartered in London and will have a strong focus on start-ups with holding companies in a select group of common law jurisdictions, including the UK, Abu Dhabi Global Market, Singapore, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands.

Rogers said: “We will continue to have a strong presence in Dubai. However, as a company addressing a market need in both emerged and emerging markets, London is a natural fit. London is the global cenre for legal services, as well as the leading European centre of technology and venture capital. Most recently, London has become the hub for legal tech.”