A UK startup founded by two ex-Magic Circle lawyers has raised £5.6 million in Series A funding after a chance meeting led to the generation of a product that solves a problem faced by every lawyer.

Definely was created to make legal documents easier to read, edit and understand.

The £5.6m round was led by Octopus Ventures, with participation from Cornerstone VC and Zrosk Investment Ltd. It also saw participation from well-known angels Claire Hughes Johnson, Comron Sattari, Ajay Patel, and Babatunde Soyoye join the cap table. Edward Keelan, partner at Octopus Ventures joins CRE Venture Capital and Zrosk Investments on the board.

Available via subscription, Definely’s suite of productivity solutions assists lawyers at every pre-execution stage of the contract lifecycle, helping its customers draft, proof and understand legal documents quickly. 

Headquartered in London, and with over 60 employees located globally, the company is now focused on adding to its existing base of 40,000 active users from the largest companies and law firms in the UK, US, Canada and Australia. 

One of the company’s products, Definely Vault, already deploys sophisticated AI techniques to create a taxonomy of a firm’s entire contract repository, extracting all relevant data and clauses to make information readily available to users as contracts are drafted and reviewed. 

“Before we built Definely, lawyers that needed to access information and understand contracts would use Ctrl+F keys, multiple windows, scroll through hundreds of pages, or simply print out documents so that they could reference all the information in one place,” said chief strategy officer MacDaeid.

“As someone who is visually impaired, you can imagine the challenge this represented for me.

“It sounds like an obvious problem, but you wouldn’t believe how many hours law firms can spend just looking for the right information.” 

New research lifts lid on hiring trends in 2024

Conceived after a chance meeting of two former Magic Circle lawyers, Definely’s co-founders have had a less-than conventional path to creating one of the UK’s fastest-growing LegalTech startups. 

Registered as legally blind, Feargus MacDaeid struck up an unlikely friendship with Nigerian migrant Nnamdi Emelifeonwu – when the pair worked together at law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer – that would see the pair develop technology that has now been proven to give lawyers significant daily time savings when working on contracts. 

The company, which in 2023 was named in the top 25 of the prestigious Deloitte UK Technology Fast50, a list of the UK’s fastest-growing tech companies – launched its first product in September 2020 and now serves a global elite of law firms and Fortune 500 companies including Allen & Overy (now A&O Shearman), Slaughter & May, Dentons, Deloitte, P&O Cruises and many more.

“Running Definely is the first thing I do when opening a contract. It is both a tool for reviewing and proofing, but more importantly, something I use in real-time when drafting and constructing contracts as a part of my job. This is what sets it apart,” said Ben Brooks, a lawyer at Allen & Overy. 

CEO Emelifeonwu added: “Definely is a testament to the power of diverse perspectives and accessibility first in innovation. 

“So we built the simplest delivery possible for our tech, incorporating it via a Microsoft Word Plugin so that it integrates with every lawyer’s existing workflow and tooling. 

“It was this in part, that allowed us to become such an entrenched provider of legal technology to some of the world’s largest law firms and corporations so quickly.”

21 ‘responsible AI’ projects funded by Innovate UK