The hardest stories I have to report are the ones about legal tech startups that are forced to shut down. Today brings news that Gavelytics, a seven-year-old litigation analytics company, is closing its doors effective tomorrow.
I first wrote about Gavelytics on the day that its product publicly launched, Sept. 26, 2017, and later had the opportunity to visit its Los Angeles headquarters and record an interview for my LawNext podcast with founder and CEO Rick Merrill and Justin Brownstone, the company’s former VP of sales and litigation counsel.
Merrill notified me this morning by email that he “recently made the difficult decision to close Gavelytics effective June 30.”
The reason, he said, is “a long story.” He said he would speak with me next week to provide more details.
In a statement that Merrill will release more widely next week, he said:
“This week I made the difficult decision to close Gavelytics. Despite our fast start and many accomplishments, I have been unable to grow the business fast enough to secure sufficient financing to continue.
“I am very proud of our team and the value we have delivered to our clients. We invented the category of state court analytics. We earned the loyalty of many of the world’s largest law firms and insurance companies. We patented multiple elements of our technology. We built things never before built and answered litigation-related questions never before answerable. We did many great things, just not fast enough.
“I am very sorry for our team members, investors and clients. We got extremely close to success but ultimately fell short. I will always be proud of our ambition’s reach, even though it exceeded our grasp.”
A former biglaw litigator, Merrill started the company after becoming frustrated with his inability to get meaningful information about the judges before whom he was appearing.
“The idea struck me, What if, in advance, I could know detailed information about the judge?” Merrill told me at the time of his 2017 launch. “What if I knew whether he leaned plaintiff or defendant? What if I knew he typically does not grant summary judgment motions?”
While initially focused on judge analytics in California, the company later expanded to cover more states and more types of analytics, including a major expansion in 2020 that added analytics on law firms, lawyers and litigants and a searchable database of some six million litigation briefs.
In 2018, the company raised $3.2 million in funding, on top of $2.5 million it had previously raised, for a total of $5.7 in funding.
Gavelytics was a good product created by good people. I am sorry to see them have to shut down.