Justin Kan’s hybrid legal software and law firm startup Atrium is shutting down today after failing to figure out how to deliver better efficiency than a traditional law firm. The startup laid off all its employees, just over 100, today. It will return some of its $75.5 million in funding to investors, including Series B lead Andreessen Horowitz. The separate Atrium law firm will continue to operate.
“I’m really grateful to the customers and the team members who came along with me and our investors. It’s unfortunate that this wasn’t the outcome that we wanted but we’re thankful to everyone that came with us on the journey” said Kan. He’d previously founded Justin.tv which pivoted to become Twitch, which later sold to Amazon. “We decided to call it and wind down the startup operations. There will be some capital returned to investors post wind-down” Kan told me.
Atrium had attempted a pivot back in January, laying off its in-house lawyers in an attempt to become a more pure software startup with better margins. Some of its lawyers formed a separate standalone legal firm and took on former Atrium clients. But Kan tells me that it was tough to regain momentum coming out of that change, which some Atrium customers said felt chaotic and left them unsure of their legal representation.
Founded in 2017, Atrium built software for startups to navigate fundraising, hiring, acquisition deals, and collaboration with their legal team. Atrium also offered in-house lawyers that could provide counsel and best practices in these matters. The idea was that the collaboration software would make its lawyers more efficient than a traditional law firm so they could get work done faster, translating to savings for clients and Atrium.
Atrium’s software included Records, a Dropbox-esque system for keeping track of legal documents, and Hiring, which instantly generated employment offer letters based on details punched into a form while keeping track of signatures. The startup hoped it could prevent clients and lawyers from wasting time digging through email chain or missing a sign-off that could put them in legal jeopardy.
We’ll have more details shortly