• Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

Milestones, Startup that Automates Client Updates, Raises $2.1M Seed Round, Rebrands As Hona

Bynewsmagzines

Jul 10, 2023
Milestones, Startup that Automates Client Updates, Raises $2.1M Seed Round, Rebrands As Hona

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In what is clearly a major milestone for Milestones, a legal tech company whose product provides law firm clients with automatic updates on their cases, it has closed a $2.1 million seed round and is rebranding as Hona to reflect the broader scope of its product’s capabilities.

Leading the seed round in the Lehi, Utah, company are three investors: Y Combinator, Ludlow Ventures and Soma Capital. The company, founded in 2021, had previously raised $500,000 in pre-seed funding. It completed a Y Combinator batch in March.

With a product that automatically sends clients text messages to notify them of updates in their matters, the company has gained significant traction over the past year, cofounder and CEO Manny Griffiths told me during a recent interview. It has grown to over 20 employees, recently moved to larger office space, and crossed over $1 million in annual recurring revenue.

Manny Griffiths

With that growth and the accompanying evolution of its product, the company decided that a rebranding was in order to better reflect those changes.

When it launched, the company described itself as the Domino’s Pizza Tracker for service businesses and their clients, notifying clients when their matters reached designated milestones. It primarily served law firms in areas such as personal injury, workers’ compensation and immigration, where cases are linear and have fairly standard milestones.

But as the company’s customer base expanded into other practice areas, it also expanded the ability of its customers to provide other types of updates that do not necessarily follow a linear track, and to serve as a two-way messaging and document-exchange system for firms and clients.

“Essentially, we’re going into practice areas where firms want to give their clients updates, but showing it in a linear form wouldn’t make sense to the client,” Griffiths said. “So now, they’re able to just notify the client, ‘Hey, this thing happened.’”

The company settled on Hona as a name that everyone within the company liked but that is intentionally vague as to what the company does, so as not to pigeonhole its future growth.

Read more about Milestones/Hona in the LawNext Legal Technology Directory.

Integrates with Case Management

Hona integrates with a firm’s case management software, which is where firms can set up the triggers that will notify clients of particular events. The company works with the firm for the initial setup of the triggers.

“During their initial setup phase, they can say, ‘If this task is completed, I want to send this message or move to this phase,’” Griffiths explained. “So we spend a couple of meetings with the firm asking, ‘What do you want to update your clients on? What do you want to convey to them?’”

The majority of the company’s customers are plaintiffs’ personal injury law firms, Griffiths said, but it also has a number of firms in areas such as bankruptcy, criminal defense, employment, family law, and immigration.

But Griffiths has his sights set on expanding far more broadly among law firms and practice areas, to the point where he would like to see the company eventually reach unicorn status with a valuation of over $1 billion.

For that to happen, he wants Hona to become the de facto client portal for every type of practice area, and one that provides more than simply updates, but also payments and other features for interfacing with clients.

One key to achieving that, he believes, is maintaining strong relationships with case and practice management systems. Already, Hona integrates with more than a dozen platforms, including CASEpeer, Clio, Filevine, GrowPath, Litify, Neos, PracticePanther, and MyCase.

“If we have the strongest functionality and we have really tight-knit integrations, there’s no reason we couldn’t be the de facto portal for everyone,” Griffiths said.

By the way, the original idea for the company came out of Griffiths’ personal experience, after his wife was in a car accident in 2018 and hired a lawyer to seek compensation. The process proved frustrating, as she felt that her lawyer never kept her in the loop.

Griffiths, who previously worked at the law practice management company Filevine, and cofounder Matt McClellan started the company so that clients would not always have to be the ones reaching out to get updates on their matters.

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