See the 13-page pitch deck legal-disputes startup New Era ADR used to nab $4.6 million in seed funding

Rich Lee New Era ADR
  • New Era ADR raised $4.6 million in seed funding this month.
  • The legal-tech startup helps companies handle arbitration online.
  • Its CEO and cofounder walked Insider through New Era ADR’s pitch deck.

New Era ADR’s seed round

New Era ADR

New Era ADR, an alternative dispute-resolution platform, raised $4.6 million in seed funding, the legal-tech startup announced this month.

Launched in April, New Era helps large companies and other litigants settle disputes efficiently and at low cost.

“We’re refocusing the litigation industry back on telling the story, reducing all the acrimony and animosity that’s involved in this industry,” Rich Lee, the CEO and a cofounder of New Era, said.

NextView Ventures, which previously invested in MealPal and ThredUp, led the seed round. Jump Capital, which backed the contract-analytics startup LinkSquares, Motivate Ventures, Alumni Venture Capital, and individual investors also participated in the round.

The team

New Era ADR

Three of the four cofounders at New Era are former general counsels at large companies and startups and have “felt the pain” of handling litigation, Lee said.

“Resolving legal disputes has a massive cost of doing business on organizations and on people,” he said.

The problem

New Era ADR

Twenty million civil cases are filed each year, but companies often don’t have the budget or bandwidth to become embroiled in the nitty-gritty of litigation, Lee said.

New Era helps companies handle large legal disputes virtually, from filing a case to uploading documents during discovery.

The mission

New Era ADR

“Nobody wants to waste their time in pretrial motions, evidentiary motions, all the procedural fights,” Lee said. “They just want cost predictability, time predictability, and to tell their story. There’s a real catharsis when an organization or an individual actually gets to share their side.”

New Era’s solution

New Era ADR

New Era hopes to drive efficiency and predictability by providing set timelines and fixed fees, which are split among the parties. An expedited arbitration of 60 days costs $10,000, and a standard arbitration of 100 days costs $35,000.

Using New Era is pretty straightforward: A litigant creates an account on its website, which takes them through the case-intake process, like uploading the complaint and making payments. The other party will then be notified to upload their response and evidence.

Arbitrators for disputes are chosen through a rank-and-strike process. New Era will find eight prospective arbitrators who specialize in the specific type of dispute. Both parties can strike two arbitrators each and then rank the remaining to determine which arbitrator will be assigned.

The ease of using New Era

New Era ADR

The image in this slide is taken directly from one of New Era’s clients’ terms of use, which Lee used to demonstrate how easy it was to incorporate.

The terms of arbitration are typically agreed to in a contract, and companies can copy and paste New Era’s language into their contracts.

Add-on solutions

New Era ADR

In addition to on-demand dispute resolution, New Era also has subscription risk solutions that clients can add on, including class actions and mass arbitrations.

Mapping out the market

New Era ADR

“The litigation industry is massive. Imagine all the cases that haven’t been filed because companies don’t want to go through the process. I’ve walked my company away from half-million-dollar cases because it’s not worth it,” Lee said.

The total addressable market would be if all 20 million cases filed each year were filed on New Era. The serviceable addressable market encompasses the cases of those 20 million that could reasonably be solved on New Era, which excludes highly complex cases that are better left for the courts. The serviceable opportunity market is New Era’s near-term focus.

This public-facing version of the slide omits confidential information about New Era’s go-to-market strategy for each of these markets.

Growth and momentum

New Era ADR

New Era raised a $1.7 million pre-seed round in April, which Lee said was used to build out mediation and expedited arbitration products and make some engineering and business-development hires.

To date, New Era has been adopted in about 60 million contracts and closed at least four mediations on its platform.

The scope of influence

New Era ADR

“We recognize that the law, at the end of the day, is a client service industry. In my 11 years as a GC, I gravitated toward the law firms that do things quickly and efficiently,” Lee said.

New Era’s predictable process and flat fee structure help build trust and relationships between law firms and their clients, according to Lee.

How the seed funding will be used

New Era ADR

New Era plans to use the fresh seed funding to double its team of nine employees and add new products. Lee said the startup hoped to roughly triple its revenue this year.


New Era ADR

“This is an important slide because we’re creating a new industry. We’re not trying to automate an existing piece of the litigation process but fundamentally change how people litigate and think about litigation,” Lee said.

The final slide

New Era ADR

“Legal disputes create a lot of friction that distracts us from our lives, from growing companies, and from building new products,” Lee said. “Our goal is to release that friction so we can spend our time on the things that matter.”