Today, artificial intelligence-powered, no-code intake platform, Streamline AI—a tool targeted to solving the pain points of in-house legalteams—launched with $3 million dollars in seed funding,Streamline AI, which counts law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati as an investor, is the brainchild of co-founder Kathy Zhu, whoenvisioned its need in her decade-long career as an attorney, most recently as DoorDash’s associate general counsel. Zhu left herAGC position to build out the platform alongside former Google product lead Julian Wimbush in 2020.
The solution is meant to offer legal metrics, such as volume of work month-over-month and quarter-over-quarter, so a team leader can keep track of individual workflows and make data-driven decisions for their business. Additionally, it offers a no-code workflow builder that is meant to automate manual processes like scrutinizing spend limits or requesting approvals.
Zhu told Legal tech News that her experiences as an AGC informed the need for a product like Streamline AI.
“In 2018, DoorDash hired me to be their very first commercial lawyer to essentially build that whole function from the ground up,” Zhusaid. “It was just me supporting every single transaction for the entire company. So anything that needed a contract would come acrossmy desk. That meant skills, agreements, vendor contracts, you know, everything down to tiny NDA, it was all going through me.”
In her first week with DoorDash, Zhu said she witnessed a “tremendous amount of chaos” attempting to manually complete all her intake tasks. Not only was it time-consuming, but also incredibly expensive.
“And unfortunately, when I looked in the market, most of what I saw were dedicated contract solutions, like a contract management solution, or a billing solution. What I was missing was a solution that really managed intake, that had workflows and automation and gave me my fix.”
Realizing that gap in the market, Zhu began calling colleagues and friends across corporate legal departments who validated her concerns “that this wasn’t just the problem I was seeing at DoorDash,” she added.
After incorporating the startup in 2020, Zhu and Wimbush were determined to create a platform that was truly no-code, she said.
Zhu acknowledged that there is skepticism in the market about no-code solutions because many required “some level of code.” But what sets Streamline AI apart is that it is “truly a no-code, intuitive solution,” she argued.
If a shaky economy and geopolitical tensions are hindering some entrepreneurs from making the leap into founding a new legal techcompany, Zhu said those are the exact reasons that reinforced her belief in Streamline AI. What’s more, she also thinks it’s the reason investors were drawn to the solution.1
“It’s really, really the perfect time for a solution like ours to be going out to market,” Zhu said. “The pandemic has seriously dealt [legal teams] a volume of pains. Especially with the macro-economic climate, we are seeing headcounts being slashed or frozen, and general and administrative teams like legal have been hit really hard.”
Zhu stressed that, while the work isn’t decreasing, the headcount is, adding a significant amount of stress to in-house teams that are“manually answering the same questions over and over” and “babysitting things,” without having the visibility of legal metrics, and using their inbox as a task list.
Looking ahead, Zhu and Wimbush’s long-term plans for Streamline.AI extend beyond legal.
“Our short-term goal is getting as many happy, engaged customers on board as possible where [within legal teams] we are increasing efficiency and solving the ‘black box problem,’” she said. “In the longer term, a lack of visibility and automation isn’t just a problem that affects legal teams. it’s actually a problem that all teams within [general and administrative] functions in the business [are facing].”
Down the line, Zhu hopes to take Streamline AI to all general and administrative teams “at every business,” and that “opportunity” is areas on she thinks investors are interested in the solution.
Currently, Streamline AI’s customers include Branch Metrics and VSCO, among others.