JusticeText, a three-year-old startup that makes it easier for public defenders in criminal cases to review body cam and other video footage, has raised a seed round of $2.2 million, it said today.

Investors in the round include Bloomberg Beta, True Ventures, Tubbs Ventures, Higher Ground Labs, Parameter Ventures, Incite.org, Google Black Founders Fund, and MIT Solve, as well as angel investors such as LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, Grammy-winning musician John Legend, Dorothy Chou, head of public affairs at DeepMind), and Aston Motes, the first employee at Dropbox.

The cofounders of JusticeText, CEO Devshi Mehrotra and CTO Leslie Jones-Dove, were in their senior year as computer science students at the University of Chicago when, inspired by the police killing in Chicago of Laquan McDonald, they partnered on a school project aimed at addressing inequities in the criminal justice system. 

They discovered that the explosion in the quantity of body cam footage and video evidence was overwhelming public defenders and worsening backlogs in criminal cases.

JusticeText addresses this problem by automatically generating transcriptions of audiovisual evidence that is synchronized with the video files. The product allows public defenders and other criminal defense lawyers to store, analyze and share video from a single platform.

Since the formal launch of the product in 2021, is now being used in more than 50 public defender agencies, the company says.

In a blog post today, the company said it will use this latest round of funding to build its staff in customer success, marketing and sales, with the goal of scaling JusticeText to criminal justice agencies nationwide.

“The impact our technology is already having in these offices is incredible,” the blog post says. “Hearing stories of how attorneys have used JusticeText to save hours reviewing discovery and secure dismissals for their clients has reaffirmed all the reasons we started this company to begin with.”

JusticeText was a contestant in this year’s Startup Alley at ABA TECHSHOW (which I organize). In December 2020, cofounders Mehrotra and Jones-Dove were named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for 2021.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.