When Josh Browder, barely a high school graduate, started coding and developing an automated program to help people contest parking tickets back in 2015, he likely had no clue how big his idea was about to get. He programmed the software to help himself out with a “respectable collection of fines” he had assembled, according to Forbes.
Some weeks later, he had a program called “DoNotPay” which he shared with friends and touted online. After it became popular on Reddit, it went from having 10 users to over 50,000 users.
Today, Browder has parlayed that early success into raising a $12 million Series A round at an $80 million valuation from Coatue, Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund and Felicis Ventures. He had previously raised $4.6 million in a seed round.
Browder calls “DoNotPay” the “world’s first robot lawyer” and the software has moved on from just parking tickets to helping people with over 100 areas of consumer rights. The company offers legal help with customer service disputes like airline flight compensation or cancelling subscriptions (KaaS = Karen As A Service?).
It also helps suing companies in small claims courts, jumping customer service phone queues and analyzing bank accounts for various types of fees. When 24 Hour Fitness filed for bankruptcy due to Covid-19, more than 1,000 users sent a subscription cancellation request through “DoNotPay”.
Browder said: “In the crisis times that we live in, lots of big companies are using consumers as a lifeline. You see this with airlines as they refuse to refund people and instead they issue them a travel credit, just because they know they can get away with it.”
The software hit its “millionth case filed” last month and it has a “high five figure” number of subscribers in the U.S. now. The company is break even with an eye on turning a profit. It charges $3 per month for its services and has no ad selling or data selling component to its business.
The American Bar Association even honored the software with its Brown Award for its “commitment to increasing legal services to those of modest means.”
“What we try to do is give the ordinary people the same power in the legal system as large companies,” Browder concluded.