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jenny-assheton-smith

Drive Revenue gets multi-million rand funding injection from HAVAÍC

Cape Town tech startup Drive Revenue has landed an undisclosed amount from HAVAÍC, the venture capital (VC) fund announced yesterday.

HAVAÍC executive director Grant Rock said in a press release that the funding will be used to help Drive Revenue to roll out its cloud-enabled financial management system for legal practices.

Speaking to Ventureburn, Rock said he could not disclose the amount in funding invested in Drive Revenue, saying only that it was “several million” rands and that it was made available from individual investors offshore.

Rock said the idea is to help Drive Revenue to secure a round of equity investment later this year.

‘We have resellers coming on board in the US and Australia and our next funding round will allow us to establish permanent staff in these markets’

The system among other things allows for an integrated way of recording time and activities, issues invoices based on inputs, produces financial accounts for the practice, which are customised for accounting rules of specific geographic markets and management of trust monies, and enables real-time analysis of practice performance metrics.

In an email to Ventureburn Drive Revenue CEO Jenny Assheton-Smith said the product has been in development since 2013 and has been in trialling since 2015.

“We were only in a position to start selling the platform at the end of 2016. User sales are now increasing exponentially,” she added, without providing figures.

The company recently hired two full-time sales specialists, with significant experience in the legal software sector, and a senior systems analyst. The company now has seven permanent employees and a number of contracted parties, she said.

“We have resellers coming on board in the US and Australia and our next funding round will allow us to establish permanent staff in these and other jurisdictions where we are currently building our reseller network to provide local touch such as marketing and sales support,” she said.

Assheton-Smith, who has a 30-year career in the IT sector in enterprise resource planning, said she founded the company with CTO Wesley Harris out of frustration at how outdated and “clunky” existing legal practice management solutions were at the time. It’s the first time she has been involved in the legal sector.

“My husband, an attorney, decided to unbundle his practice from a medium-size firm and go back to practising for his own account, he asked me to assist him in establishing best-practice efficient and cost-effective systems and processes.

“When reviewing the available solutions, I knew that I could not risk my reputation (nor my marriage) on recommending any of the available solutions and set about, together with Wes, developing a cloud based enterprise system that is simple, modern and mobile.”

She said though there are a few legal billing systems in the cloud, they all back out into Quickbooks or Xero.

“One of the biggest challenges law firms, large or small, face is having real-time information to mitigate the risks of errors or fraud on their trust accounts, and to have visibility of where they are owed money, what their work in progress is, and having to maintain complex high maintenance and cost infrastructure to run old expensive software that is barely mobile.

“Disconnected systems that back out into an accounting solution do not provide that rich insight which, for me, is not negotiable in the world we live in today.

“Our products make our clients manage their practice as a business while being free to practice law, increasing their billable time, allowing them to collect their money faster without enormous up-front and ongoing outlays.

Rock said HAVAÍC made three investments last year — including a R6.5-million investment in delvvio, a startup that assists clients with market research — and is “on track” to make a further five this year.

Read more: delvv.io receives R6.5m in funding round [update]

Featured image: Drive Revenue CEO Jenny Assheton-Smith (Supplied)