Clio continues investing in legal tech, even during an economic downturn

The Burnaby company recently funded two startups through its Clio Ventures program.

Credit: Clio

The Burnaby company recently funded two startups through its venture program

At a time when most people and businesses are tightening their purse strings, Burnaby-based Clio is making a case for investing in technology. In the last two months, the cloud-based legal tech company has participated in funding rounds for two California startups—Steno and EvenUp—through its Clio Ventures program.  

“The impetus for Clio Ventures was, How can we continue to foster more innovation happening in legal?” says Shubham Datta, vice president of corporate development. A CPA by trade, Datta grew up in Toronto, has a degree in math and finance from University of Waterloo and spent years at firms like KPMG and Shopify. Since joining Clio in 2020, Datta has helped launch its venture program and oversaw the two subsequent acquisitions and three investments.

Steno is working to improve litigation experiences with its financial and technical solutions, and Clio wasn’t the only firm to participate in its $15 million funding round earlier this year—U.S.-based Left Lane Capital and Touchdown Ventures also pitched in.

Clio’s most recent investment went towards a $50 million capital round for EvenUp, a startup that’s using tech and AI to support personal injury cases. “Clio’s mission is to transform the legal experience for all,” Datta maintains. While the company doesn’t lead investment rounds itself, those that become a part of its venture program portfolio get early access to resources, guidance from Clio’s lawyer-in-residence, and marketing and partnership support.  

When it comes to the “why” behind it all, Datta points out that Clio was launched in the middle of the global financial crisis in 2008. “It’s within our DNA to be operating in times of financial hardship and distress,” he adds. “That’s how we grew up as a company. We tend to invest when others are fearful of investing.” 

In fact, since legal is a “must have” rather than a “nice to have,” Datta sees the profession as more or less “recession resilient.” As a result, companies like Clio (which earned centaur status last year) are in the right position to be powering legal practitioners in both hard and good times—especially when it comes to technology. 

“People look to technology to improve their workflows, to be able to do more with what they have already,” says Datta. “In an economic downturn, I think technology has an increased role to play.”