Legal tech startup Formally raises $2.3M pre-Seed funding to help immigrants and asylum seekers hire and work with a network of vetted attorneys
The role of law enforcement is to protect and serve the public, regardless of race, ethnicity, country of origin, or religion. However, we know that’s not the case, especially for minorities and immigrants living in the country. In addition, understanding legal options can be overwhelming for many of us who may not be familiar with the legal system. That’s why on legal tech startup is on a mission to increase access to justice for all.
Enter Formally, a legal collaboration platform that seeks to use intelligent technology and accessible design to simplify legal processes and increase access to justice. Formally was founded by Amélie-Sophie Vavrovsky, a Stanford graduate and a fellow at the Stanford Center for Computational law (CodeX) where she leads technology projects that seek to make legal processes fairer and more accessible.
Today, Formally announced it has raised $2.3 million in pre-Seed funding to improve legal collaboration and access to justice for everyone. And unlike everyone else, it’s putting immigrants first. The round was led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from BBG Ventures, Unshackled Ventures, Ulu Ventures, Graph Ventures, Dorm Room Fund, and prominent angels including Kiwi Camara, CEO at legal tech giant DISCO.
Formally started as a hackathon project to help people apply for asylum in the U.S. Formally’s founder, Amélie Vavrovsky, has personally experienced just how convoluted the U.S. immigration process can be. From finding credible immigration attorneys to navigating outdated software and complex forms, the whole process is painstakingly slow and filled with frustration. Whether applying for an employment visa, looking to file a personal protective order, or reviewing a simple contract, any interaction with the legal ecosystem can feel impossibly difficult, draining, and expensive.
The global legal services industry is worth an estimated $849 billion and is expected to hit $1.2 trillion by 2028. For an industry that is rapidly growing, there is little innovation and still, no easy way to find, hire, and work with a lawyer, creating often insurmountable barriers for people seeking legal help.
Formally has set out to change this. In the coming months, Formally will continue to onboard users onto their private beta for their immigration suite and iterate on the best user experiences possible. The investment will allow Formally to expand their team, scale their impact within immigration, and begin to expand into new areas such as legal compliance.
The company is working closely with lawyers to perfect their workflows and eliminate redundant and repetitive work. “Lawyers went to law school to learn how to apply legal judgment to the issues in front of them – not to get bogged down in lengthy and time-consuming processes that could be automated through technology,” said Kiwi Camara, CEO of legal tech company DISCO. “Formally understands how to help lawyers focus on critical tasks and is applying technology in exciting ways that will help to transform the practice of law.”
“As a digital rights policymaker and immigrant myself, it’s heartbreaking to see policies fail because they aren’t reaching the people that need them most,” said Amélie Vavrovsky, Formally’s founder and CEO. “Our work in asylum and immigration helped us understand how to create effective tools that make even the most daunting legal processes accessible. Witnessing yet another refugee crisis in Ukraine reinforces our belief that creating compassionate immigration experiences for everyone is more important than ever. We are thrilled to partner with Bessemer Venture Partners and other funds that reflect Formally’s commitment to excellence and diversity.”
“We’re pleased to partner with Formally, a mission-driven company that was born from Amélie’s firsthand experience navigating the complexities of the U.S. immigration system,” said Bob Goodman, partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. “The Formally team has already made an immense impact on people’s lives as they set out to revolutionize the legal buying and collaboration experience. I look forward to seeing the continued impact Formally will deliver as the company scales and continues to transform the legal industry.”