The leader in online lawyer-client matching with around 350 employees, that was regarded as a template for success by other upstarts and may have looked towards Australia as a potential market, Avvo has been sold to venture capital-backed company, Internet Brands.
Avvo was founded in 2006 and had raised around US$132 million from investors since its launch. The price and terms of the sale have not been publicly disclosed.
The sale enables the current investors and founders to cash-in and it also enables the company to join forces with Internet Brands which has a presence in the legal market.
One of the reasons given for the sale by the founder and CEO of Avvo, Mark Britton, is a frightening foreboding of the strength of Google and accordingly its rival, Facebook and the immense challenges of trying to beat them at their own game. Mark Britton was quoted as saying:
“One thing that I think is very important in this kind of modern age of Google as both a partner and a competitor is that scale … is really everything,” said Britton, adding that Avvo will be able to help more consumers and lawyers through its connections to Internet Brands. “It also gives us greater diversity and stability in our business as we compete with someone like Google who is out there in a lot of ways regulating what’s going on with the internet.” [Geekwire]
“Google has become much more aggressive when it comes to local search,” including legal, he says. This has had an impact on their business. To that end, Britton reasons that partnering with Internet Brands will provide scale that allows them to have “more bites … at a consumer to understand their legal issue,” which can lower their cost of new customer acquisition and provide Avvo more stability.” [ABA Journal]
Despite its success and size, Avvo reached the end of the internet road as a stand-alone company. Internet Brands may be able to continue Avvo’s success along roads yet unknown. The official announcement from Internet Brands:
Los Angeles, CA — Internet Brands has reached an agreement to acquire Avvo, Inc. and add the renowned brand to its expansive Legal portfolio. Terms of the transaction were not made public. The closing between the parties is expected to be completed shortly.
Founded in 2006 and based in Seattle, Avvo is a leading online legal marketplace connecting lawyers and consumers. The brand attracts more than 100 million annual visits to its namesake website and mobile apps through a comprehensive offering of legal services, attorney profiles, Q&A forums, and educational content for consumers and attorneys. More than 300,000 attorneys are active Avvo users.
Avvo will join Internet Brands’ Legal vertical, a robust and innovative online legal network simultaneously serving consumers and attorneys. Internet Brands entered the Legal space in 2010 and operates flagship online legal brands Nolo (high-quality legal content for consumers and attorney leads), Martindale-Hubbell (legal directory, websites and peer ratings), Ngage (live chat) and Total Attorneys (attorney leads).
With the addition of Avvo, the Internet Brands Legal vertical will offer an extensive product offering for attorneys, including directory listings, leads, websites and chat.
“Avvo’s culture of rapid innovation with the mission of serving both consumers and attorneys mirrors the strategy that has guided the Internet Brands Legal portfolio to strong growth over the past decade,” said Bob Brisco, CEO of Internet Brands. “We look forward to continuing to transform how consumers connect with attorneys while helping attorneys grow their businesses.”
“Internet Brands is a uniquely great fit for us,” said Mark Britton, Founder and CEO of Avvo. “With their commitment to and understanding of the legal vertical, we quickly envisioned a collective whole that would bring more consumers and lawyers together than ever before. I am excited about what we will accomplish together.”
The Avvo brand will be retained following completion of the acquisition, and Avvo will continue to operate from its headquarters in Seattle under the direction of its existing leadership team.
Citi is serving as exclusive financial advisor to Avvo in connection with the transaction and Perkins Coie is serving as its legal advisor.
About Internet Brands
Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., Internet Brands® is a fully integrated online media and software services organization focused on four high-value vertical categories: Health, Automotive, Legal and Home/Travel. The company’s award-winning consumer websites lead their categories and serve more than 100 million monthly visitors, while a full range of web presence offerings has established deep, long-term relationships with SMB and enterprise clients. Internet Brands’ powerful, proprietary operating platform provides the flexibility and scalability to fuel the company’s continued growth. Internet Brands is a portfolio company of KKR and Temasek. For more information, please visit www.internetbrands.com.
About Avvo, Inc.®
Avvo helps people find and connect with the right lawyer through industry leading content, tools and services. Founded in 2006 in Seattle, Avvo provides transparent information about attorneys, with Avvo-rated profiles for 97% of practicing lawyers in the United States. A free Q&A forum with more than 11 million questions and answers, and on-demand legal services that provide professional counsel for a fixed cost, make legal faster and easier. For more information on how Avvo helps people through legal issues from research to resolution, visit www.avvo.com.
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