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05 March 2020

West Coast new law startup Atrium to close at loss of 100 jobs

'Sometimes wins, sometimes losses', tweets Justin Kan, high profile founder of legal software and law firm startup

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High-profile San Francisco new law start-up Atrium is to close in a move that will see around 100 staff lose their jobs.

It is the second high profile startup to close its doors in a month after the demise of fellow San Francisco business, legal marketplace platform UpCounsel.

Atrium's founder, Justin Kan, revealed the decision to shut down the business in an interview with Tech Crunch, although an associated legal arm will continue to operate.

The move by Atrium, which offered legal advice to startups, follows its decision in January to lay off most of its legal team.

At the time Kan said the outfit would focus on technology tools it has developed to help start-ups while expanding the advice offered by its existing network of independent advisers.

But those efforts came to nothing.

“Thank you to all the clients, investors, and Atrium team members who took a swing,” he tweeted yesterday (see below). “Things didn't work out as planned and that is my responsibility. We took a swing at something big and you all have my admiration and gratitude.”

Today, he added: “Sometimes wins, sometimes losses. No matter where you are at in life, you will experience hardship. But that is ok: welcome to the human experience.”

According to Tech Crunch, some of its $75.5m of funding will be returned to investors, including venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, while the associated legal practice Atrium LLP will continue to practice under the leadership of the recently hired Michel Narganes and Matthew Melville.

Kan made his reputation in Silicon Valley as co-founder of Twitch, a service for users to watch each other play video games online.

Atrium launched in a blaze of publicity in 2017, tagging itself as 'a corporate law firm and technology company' for start-ups with a subscription-based pricing model.

It claimed to have more than 450 clients on its books and Kan Tweeted today that one positive outcome of Atrium’s demise would be the emergence of “a lot of really good startups” from team members.

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