Business

Miami startup co-founder becomes 14th African-American woman to raise $1 million

Kristina and James Jones Jr. founded Court Buddy, a legal-tech startup, in Miami.
Kristina and James Jones Jr. founded Court Buddy, a legal-tech startup, in Miami.

Only 14 African American women have raised $1 million or more in venture capital, and Kristina Jones of Miami-based Court Buddy is one of them.

Court Buddy is a legal-technology startup founded by James and Kristina Jones that helps clients save money on legal fees by avoiding paying high retainers and hourly fees that traditional law firms charge while also helping thousands of attorneys grow their law firms. The company announced Wednesday that it has raised $1 million in seed funding.

When the husband-and-wife team launched Court Buddy in 2015 in Miami, its web-based instant-matching platform allowed consumers to choose the a-la-carte legal services at flat rates and then be matched to pre-screened solo and small law firm attorneys. Since then, Court Buddy has launched an app, CourtBuddy Chat, and a secured attorney-client payment exchange, CB Direct Pay. Now once matched, consumers can instant message and video chat and solo attorneys manage legal tasks and collect legal fees on the platform.

The Court Buddy platform has matched over 11,000 consumers with attorneys across the country

Earlier this year while participating in the 500 Startups accelerator, Court Buddy soft-launched Instaclient for lawyers, which allows lawyers to pre-screen payment-verified clients who have pending court appearances or court-related matters before representing them. More than 5,000 lawyers signed up for Instaclient within 30 days of the launch.

LDR Ventures led the seed funding round, with participation from XFactor Ventures/Flybridge Capital, UpHonest Capital, GingerBread Capital/KKR, LSS Fund, Equipo Ventures, 500 Startups, L.A. Women Angels, and several angel investors. Andrew Koven of LDR Ventures will join Court Buddy’s board of directors as part of the deal.

“With the new infusion of capital from our investors, not only can we continue building on our core products, but we can also hire more top talent to support the company’s rapid growth and expansion,” said CEO James Jones Jr., also a Florida attorney.

Court Buddy won the American Bar Association’s Brown Select Award for Legal Access earlier this year, was a winner of the inaugural American Entrepreneurship Award in 2016, and was the 2015 Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge People’s Pick Winner.

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