A popular vehicle for financing emerging growth companies seems like a good fit for a fast growing legal tech company needing capital for growth and to break through legal regulations often stifling innovation in legal.
The financial vehicle is a SPAC.
I had never heard of a SPAC until last week when a friend was interviewing with a company that aims to reinvent an industry via tech and innovation.
I was curious how the company, which had some heavy hitters on their board and had achieved significant annual revenues, was funded.
Turns out the company had just gone public. Not through the channels we’re familiar with for going public, but by merging with a company which had already gone public for the sole purpose of merging with a company with existing business operations, revenue and in need of greater capital, via a public offering.
Then in Saturday’s New York Times I read a couple stories about SPACs. One article on sports legends Venus Williams, Alex Rodriguez and Shaquille O’Neil, lending their celebrity status as part of investments in SPAC’s. The other piece being WeWork, whose own IPO never got off the ground, now going public by merging with a SPAC.
Sounds a little crazy, but a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), also known as a “blank check company,” is listed on a stock exchange with the purpose of acquiring a private company, thus making it public without going through the traditional initial public offering process.
Though SPACs have been around for some time, they have drawn recent interest by virtue of SPACs raising over 90 billion dollars in 2020, a period sometimes referred to as the “blank check boom.”
The next I year of SPACs is Saturday night when David Lat shared an article from Law.com about the tremendous growth in legal work for law firms generated by SPACS and their mergers taking companies public.
Rather than the legal work generated by SPACs, I commented on LinkedIn that SPACs seemed like a good vehicle for taking a legal tech company public.
“I had a different take as to legal services and SPACs. I wondered which legal tech and alternative legal services companies will ride a SPAC to take themselves public. Such companies, with enough capital and time, could significantly alter how legal services are rendered.”
A Legal Tech SPAC, sponsored by former Kirkland & Ellis chairman Jeff Hammes and Keller Lenkner CEO Adam Gerchen, armed with $175 million, has two dozen legal tech company targets in sight. They are already actively involved in negotiations with a few companies.
IPO’s are a challenges for any company, let alone a company in an industry where investors see regulators as roadblocks.
How many times have legal tech companies been stymied by legal regulators? May have happened to Legal Zoom, which got to the alter of an IPO years ago and called it off.
Now with the ability to merge with a SPAC with significant capital in place such companies could overcome the roadblocks of regulators and alter how legal services are delivered.
Think Uber, when armed with capital, cutting through municipal regulations in no time.