Streamline AI Optimizes Legal Operations (and Beyond)

Ridge Ventures (click here to view the original article)
November 9, 2022

An open-and-shut case of unprecedented innovation

The verdict is in: Streamline AI, the first intelligent intake platform for in-house legal teams, joined The Ridge Familia!

Streamline announced its launch with a $3 million seed round led by our friends at Oceans Ventures. Spearheaded by two powerhouse co-founders whose backgrounds span the likes of Google and DoorDash, Streamline significantly boosts efficiency for legal departments that, relative to other business functions, have been deprived of technological innovation since the Pelican Brief days.

But this is only the beginning. While Streamline was built with in-house legal teams in mind, its ability to turbocharge task management translates to a wide range of business departments.

Legally bound (to inefficiency)

A recent Gartner report found that corporate lawyers are burning both ends due to inordinate workloads. Inefficient intake processes prevent them from controlling “what work they do, and how they do it.”

Unlike their departmental counterparts, in-house legal teams lack tools that provide visibility, metrics, and automation. As a result, lawyers and general and administrative teams (G&A) are unfairly blamed for laggy business processes when they’re using outdated software incapable of managing workflows effectively and contributing to data-driven decisions.

Increased workloads and a lack of tools are driving in-house legal teams berserk

This “Black Box” problem, as Streamline co-founder and CEO Kathy Zhu calls it, worsened considerably during the pandemic as headcounts shrunk and workloads increased. The uptick in manual work costs businesses 20–30 percent in annual revenue and knee-caps talent retention efforts, hemorrhaging legal teams, bottom lines, and employees’ emotional well-being. Even the stress balls are stressed.

With the macro-economic climate not helping matters, an automated workflow solution is a must for tasks like reviewing sales contracts, handling standard legal templates (NDAs, MSAs, etc.), and providing case updates. A quick scan of the landscape only uncovers one-dimensional contract solutions that solely address contract management or billing.

Thanks to Streamline, however, overburdened legal teams can finally minimize the litany of items on their docket.

An unprecedented solution

In the case of Streamline v. Inefficient Workflows, we find in-house legal teams thrilled to simplify their day-to-day operations.

Streamline’s automated platform optimizes legal and G&A business practices, and maximizes the efficiency of high-volume intake workflows. Its “no-code” designation is no misnomer — users can leave Python for Dummies on the shelf and start tackling legal tasks in no time. While users tackle confidentiality issues, data permissions, and metrics measurement, Streamline takes notes in the background and grows smarter over time so that future processes only move faster.

Streamline’s dashboard visualizes workflow metrics and individual workload in real-time

Streamline doesn’t have any direct competitors, rather limited ticket solutions unfit to handle legal tasks. Unlike Streamline, these solutions bog down workflows with emails and Excel spreadsheets. Additionally, they often fail to wall off sensitive company info that should be protected under legal privilege, and don’t provide the actionable data needed to boost productivity and limit employee burnout.

Timing is on Streamline’s side: legal tech companies bagged more than $1 billion in venture capital in 2021. Legal tech budgets are also expected to triple over the next four years, with 50 percent of in-house legal work to be automated by 2024.

Domain expertise? Yes, please!

It all starts at the top, and Streamline’s two co-founders bring an impressive combination of domain expertise and pedigree to the table.

Before co-founding Streamline, Kathy was DoorDash’s first commercial lawyer tasked with building the company’s legal arm from the ground up. She handled all of the fine print and dotted lines related to agreements, vendor contracts, NDAs, you name it. It’s here where Kathy recognized the glaring need for automation as manually completing intake tasks proved time-consuming, costly, and mentally debilitating. Prior to DoorDash, Kathy served as Director of Senior Counsel at Medallia, and collectively possesses 10+ years of experience in corporate law.

Streamline co-founder/CEO Kathy Zhu (left) and co-founder/CTO Julian Wimbush (right)

Co-founder and CTO Julian Wimbush is the technical brains behind the operation. He encountered the intake problem on the business side as a Product Lead at Google, where he also worked as a Software Engineer. Joining Kathy and Julian, who also holds a PhD in Philosophy from UC Berkeley, is co-founder and advisor Ed Cheely, a sales and biz dev veteran whose stops include Citrix, Yext, and AppBuddy.

You can’t ask for a more formidable founding core than Streamline’s, a team fully capable of leading, expanding, and iterating their solution to meet the needs of users.

Streamline is not resting its case

Streamline is bursting out of the gates with plenty of momentum. Its customers include Branch Metrics, VSCO, and a leading computer hardware company.

And it’s not just legal eagles leveraging Streamline, as most customers are using the product to streamline workflows across people operations, recruiting leadership, department heads, and more. As the company grows, more G&A teams — across legal and beyond — will enjoy Streamline’s visibility and automation.

We’re excited for Kathy and Julian, and for all of the overworked legal and business teams who will experience the efficiency of an automated, intuitive workflow solution. After years of bureaucratic drudgery, they deserve swift administrative justice. They deserve Streamline.

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