Start-up offers $99 quick divorce as it cashes in on the misery of a failed marriage

·2 min read

Irreconcilable differences just got harder to reconcile.

Legal tech platform Hello Divorce raised $2m in seed funding to make it easier for couples to untie the knot for as little as $99.

Whether choosing the so-called "do-it-yourself" uncoupling or spending an average of $2,000 for legal help from its divorce advisers, the company’s mission is to "disrupt the broken divorce process" and enable a more positive chapter.

That new chapter goes beyond the end of one relationship to the forming of new relationships with wellness providers, property advisers and financial services, perhaps from some of its key investors like Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures.

In a Twitter thread following the announcement, Hello Divorce CEO Erin Levin responded to a lawyer pointing out the possibility of matchmaking between the newly divorced suddenly in need of a deeper connection.

"The same person who is getting divorced, evicted and/or facing bankruptcy has a million other (life) things to think + plan for,” Ms Levin said in the tweet.

“Collab w/ key players in wellness/ financial/ ins will elevate our profession & provide true holistic help to consumers when they need it most.”

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Ms Levine, a family law attorney who founded the online platform in 2018, said in the funding announcement that couples that start the process have a "divorce success rate" of 95 per cent. Or to put it another way, only 5 per cent save their marriage after signing up.

Even with seemingly declining divorce rates, when something like 50 per cent of couples on average end up separated, the divorce industrial complex is big business, with about two million divorcees and a value of $50 billion annually industry-wide, the company estimates.

With so much upside coming out of that downside, the California-based company attracted the seed round funding led by tech investor CEAS, along with Lightbank, and Gaingeles, and individual investors Jack Newton, founder of Clio, WRG’s Lisa Stone, and Equity ESQ led by Ed Diab.

The company plans to expand across the United States from its existing markets in California, Colorado, Texas and Utah to New York and Florida, where it’ll launch a bilingual format, she told TechCrunch.

The immigration and non-English speaking markets have been an early target of legal tech investment, with the immigration platform Boundless raising $7.8m in 2019 to similarly connect lawyers with people navigating a convoluted legal process to get green cards.

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