Attorneys hate timekeeping — Ping raises $13M to repair it with AI
Counting billable time in six-minute increments is probably the most annoying a part of being a lawyer. It’s a distracting waste. It leads legislation corporations to conservatively under-bill. And it leaves legal professionals caught manually filling out timesheets after a protracted day once they need to go house to their households.
Life is already quick, as Ping CEO and co-founder Ryan Alshak is aware of too properly. The previous lawyer spent years caring for his mother as she battled a mind tumor earlier than her passing. “One minute laughing with her was worth a million doing anything else,” he tells me. “I became obsessed with the idea that we spend too much of our lives on things we have no need to do — especially at work.”
That’s motivated him as he’s constructed his startup Ping, which makes use of synthetic intelligence to mechanically monitor legal professionals’ work and fill out timesheets for them. There’s an enormous alternative to get rid of a core reason behind burnout, raise legislation agency income by round 10% and provides them contemporary insights into labor allocation.
That’s why immediately Ping is asserting a $13.2 million Collection A led by Upfront Ventures, together with BoxGroup, First Spherical, Initialized and Ulu Ventures. Including to Ping’s quiet $3.7 million seed led by First Spherical final yr, the startup will spend the money to scale up enterprise distribution and change into the brand new timekeeping customary.
“I used to be a company litigator at Manatt Phelps down in LA and joke that I used to be voted the world’s worst timekeeper,” Alshak tells me. “I could either get better at doing something I dreaded or I could try and build technology that did it for me.”
The promise of eliminating the effort might make any lawyer who hears about Ping an advocate for the agency shopping for the startup’s software program, like how Dropbox grew as staff demanded simpler file sharing. “I’ve experienced first-hand the grind of filling out timesheets,” writes Initialized associate and former lawyer Alda Leu Dennis. “Ping takes away the drudgery of manual timekeeping and gives lawyers back all those precious hours.”
Historically, legal professionals need to maintain monitor of their time by themselves right down to the tenth of an hour — reviewing paperwork for the Johnson case, making ready a movement to dismiss for the Lee case, a shopper telephone name for the Sriram case. There are timesheets constructed into authorized software program suites like MyCase, authorized billing software program like TimeSolv and one-off instruments like Time Miner and iTimeKeep. They sometimes provide timers that legal professionals can manually begin and cease on totally different units, with some offering monitoring of scheduled appointments, name and textual content logging, and integration with billing techniques.
Ping goes a giant step additional. It makes use of AI and machine studying to determine whether or not an exercise is billable, for which shopper, an outline of the exercise and its codification past simply how lengthy it lasted. As an alternative of merely filling within the minutes, it completes all of the logs mechanically, with entries like “Writing up a deposition – Jenkins Case – 18 minutes.” Then it presents the timesheet to the person for evaluate earlier than they ship it to billing.
The massive problem now for Alshak and the group he’s assembled is to develop up. They should go from cat-in-sunglasses emblem Ping to mature wordmark Ping. “Now we have to graduate from being a startup to being an enterprise software program firm,” the CEO tells me. Which means studying to promote to C-suites and IT groups, relatively than simply construct a strong product. Within the relationship-driven world of legislation, that’s a really totally different talent set. Ping must persuade purchasers it’s value switching to not only for the time financial savings and income enhance, however for deep knowledge on how they may run a extra environment friendly agency.
Alongside the way in which, Ping has to keep away from any embarrassing knowledge breaches or issues about how its scanning know-how might violate attorney-client privilege. If it could possibly win this profitable first enterprise in authorized, it might barge into the consulting and accounting verticals subsequent to develop really enormous.
With keen clients, an enormous market, a weak established order and a pushed founder, Ping simply must keep away from getting in over its heads with all its new money. Spent properly, the startup might leap forward of the much less tech-savvy competitors.
Alshak appears decided to get it proper. “Now we have a chance to construct an organization that offers folks again their most useful useful resource — time — to spend extra time with their family members as a result of they spent much less time working,” he tells me. “My mother will dwell endlessly as a result of she taught me the worth of time. I’m deeply motivated to construct one thing that lasts . . . and achieve this in her title.”