“You can remain silent and you have the right to a lawyer. This sentence, heard thousands of times in films and series, is, in fact, not obvious. Which lawyer to call? To answer this question, Avostart launched in 2018 a platform for connecting with advice, in all fields, both for individuals and professionals.
“The problem of access to law concerns a lot of problems: recovering a deposit, checking an employment contract, contesting a contravention … so many needs for which no practical solutions can be found”, estimates Raphael Jabol, CEO of Avostart.
To resolve a problem, all you have to do is post a written question on the site. Using natural language processing (NLP) technologies, Avostart refers to the right lawyer, who has 24 hours to provide a written response. If details are missing or if steps must be taken, a telephone connection is initiated. To date, around a hundred lawyers are registered on the platform.
A foray into insurance
Two unlimited use subscriptions, of 3 and 6 euros per month, are available. A critical mass of customers is therefore needed to make this model profitable. Or turn to BtoB. What Avostart chose to do in April 2020, after being contacted by Luko online home insurance. “Their users needed legal assistance,” says Raphaël Jabol.
Since then, Avostart has signed with other start-ups such as Lydia, creditor insurance Assurly, marketplaces like Airbnb or even companies that want to make this service available to their employees.
This distribution method takes the form of a white label or an API. “We want to do the same as Stripe in payment, but in legal aid,” summarizes the manager, who is paid by the distributor. Today, the majority of its customers come from this BtoB model.
To accelerate the pace of conquest, Avostart has just completed an initial fundraising of 2 million euros, notably from the OneRagtime fund, BNP Paribas Développement and business angels from insurance. Avostart has also gotten a foothold in this sector by becoming a broker at the end of 2020, allowing it to offer protection and add a line of income to its balance sheet.
The start-up, which does not communicate its turnover, could also apply to legal protection insurers. “We would allow them to provide a faster service on legal assistance,” observes Raphaël Jabol.
Before tackling this market, Avostart wants to better map legal needs and automate their qualification as much as possible. Another objective: to reach 100,000 users by the end of the year, against “tens of thousands” today. As for the international, it will be for 2022. To convince the risk capital investment funds cautious vis-à-vis legaltech, it is better to quickly demonstrate that its activity can be exported.