Ping, a thirty-person start-up out of San Francisco, has attracted major investment in its mission to make manual timekeeping a thing of the past. The start-up is building AI-powered software that understands what people are doing, as they do it, and keeps their time for them.
Flat fee support
The legal industry is the first on Ping’s list. The start-up says on average, Ping customers record an additional 32 billable minutes of legal work per attorney per day, resulting in an 11 percent increase in revenue. By accurately capturing data about where time is spent, Ping says it helps firms price the flat-fee arrangements that are becoming increasingly popular with large clients. Ping say at present, law firms struggle to price accurately because they don’t understand exactly where and how staff time is being spent. Whereas, Ping integrates with every program a lawyer uses for billable work (including phones) to understand where and how lawyers spend their time. Operating in the background, it uses artificial intelligence to identify which tasks attorneys are performing, for which clients. It automatically distinguishes between personal and professional activities and can even write a narrative and select the correct billing code to automate the entire timesheet. When attorneys submit their hours, they can edit their timesheets to fit their activities. Ping says its AI is a first for enterprise timekeeping which learns the workflow of each lawyer and firm, becoming more accurate by the day. “We as a society are obsessed with time, yet the one place we spend most of it - work - is a complete black box," says Ping ceo Ryan Alshak, adding “Our mission is to give back people their time, wherever they happen to work. We have a long way to go, but we won’t stop until we get there."
“Timekeeping in the legal profession has remained virtually unchanged for decades, which means skilled attorneys are wasting time and money on unfulfilling, unproductive work,” says Kara Nortman, partner at Upfront Ventures. “Ryan and the Ping team have lived this problem and developed an elegant, highly technical solution to improve law firms' work and efficiency. It’s just the tip of the iceberg given the number of industries Ping can serve in the future.” Alda Leu Dennis, general partner at Initialized Capital and a former attorney, said “I’ve experienced first-hand the grind of filling out timesheets." Mr Dennis explained, “It’s the least-favorite part of any lawyer's job. No one wants to sit in their office counting up billable minutes instead of working on a big case or going home to family and friends. The feeling of sheer waste gets to you after a while. But with Ping, that's not a problem. Ping takes away the drudgery of manual timekeeping and gives lawyers back all those precious hours.” Ping has announced a $13.2 million Series A investment round led by Upfront Ventures, with participation from existing investors BoxGroup, First Round Capital, Initialized Capital and Ulu Ventures, following their $3.7 million seed-round investment in 2017. The Series A brings Ping’s total investment to $17.4 million. Ping will use its latest funding to hire and expand its team.