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05/14/2007

Avvo Raises $10 Million in Series B Investment

 

Avvo, Inc., an online company focused on helping consumers navigate the legal industry, recently announced a $10 million Series B round of financing. The round was led by Seattle-based Ignition Partners, LLC and included an additional investment by Benchmark Capital, who led Avvo's Series A round of financing. Avvo has raised $13 million to date. Avvo also announced the appointment of Ignition Founding Partner Brad Silverberg to its board of directors. The new funds will be used to fund the company's operations, including continuing to build its world class team.

“This investment from Ignition and Benchmark further supports our belief that we have the right solution for helping consumers navigate the highly confusing legal industry,” said Mark Britton, Avvo's Chief Executive Officer. “Brad is simply the perfect addition to our team with his extensive operating experience, technological prowess and raw smarts. We are lucky to have him.”

“We are still in pre-launch and can't say what the site will have, but the beauty of the Web in its current version is that the opportunities for monetization have grown in multiple ways and more consumers are willing to transact business online,” Britton said. “This was obviously led by Google and the growth of advertising, but a variety of business models that did not do so well in the '90s are doing well now.”

Britton said he conceived the idea of forming Avvo in the summer of 2005, while on a bike trip in Italy — hence the name, derived from the Italian avvogado, for lawyer. Accompanying Britton on the trip was former Expedia CEO and Seattle-based Zillow Inc. founder Rich Barton.

Barton compared Avvo's mission to that of Zillow, which features a core offering of a massive database of residential real estate price estimates, but has a business model built around an expanding portfolio of features to help consumers navigate the traditionally closed world of real estate.

”When Mark and I hatched the idea on the bike trip I thought of it as not too dissimilar to Zillow, in that there is a lack of usable, unbiased information on the Web,” Barton said.

Britton said Avvo's core mission will be to help consumers simplify a legal environment many find intimidating because of the language of the law and the inside nature of court business.

”Even after many years out of private practice I am continually pinged by friends and family about legal questions, from bright and intelligent people having difficulty navigating,” Britton said.

Barton said legal services on the Web have been intimidating for service providers as well, but he said Avvo worked extensively at building a service with appropriate safeguards.

”It is by definition the most litigious industry, and we realized there would be the possibility of hair trigger lawsuits,” Barton said. “It is provocative, certainly, and people will be provoked, but some of the most interesting consumer opportunities are provocative.”

Avvo is an Internet company dedicated to helping consumers better navigate the highly confusing legal industry. Founded in early 2006, Avvo is privately-held, with funding from private investors, Benchmark Capital and Ignition Partners.

For more information, please visit www.avvo.com