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Why We Invested in Steno

We're thrilled to announce our investment in Steno, a company revolutionizing the legal support market with a full suite of tech-enabled court reporting services. Several years ago, Dylan Ruga, a plaintiff's attorney and founding member of one of California’s Top 20 Litigation Boutiques, saw clearly that one of his most significant expenses for every case was depositions. Often these services would equate to over 50% of the pre-trial costs of a case. Until cases were settled (either out of court or through trial), that expense was not reimbursed. As most plaintiff’s attorneys know, many cases don’t get resolved quickly, which means those expenses are tied up instead of being available to invest in new clients or their firm’s growth. To Dylan, this system was clearly broken. Dylan teamed up with Greg Hong and Dan Anderson to reimagine how court reporting services were delivered and financed. The founders combined Dylan’s legal background, Greg’s extensive startup experience, he previously started a company that sold to Resy (currently owned by American Express), and Dan’s expertise in bringing products to market. They started Steno with a simple idea: that the cost of depositions shouldn't be an obstacle to winning a case; something so essential shouldn't be so challenging to navigate. Steno provides a new model to an industry that hasn’t seen meaningful change in decades. Firms can quickly and easily manage all of their firm’s court reporting services from Steno’s dashboards, where users are able to instantly book jobs, add services, cancel scheduled jobs, access transcripts and video files, and manage invoices. The company works with top court reporters and videographers for in-person proceedings. For remote proceedings, firms can also use Steno Connect, an exhibit management app built natively in Zoom. Steno’s newest offering, Transcript Genius, leverages AI to review and extract insights from transcripts. With Steno’s DelayPay, litigators are empowered to use all the court reporting services they need without worrying about the upfront cost; payment is simply deferred until the case resolves with no increase in cost, even when it takes years to resolve. Previously, firms dealing with cash flow issues had to choose between doing fewer depositions (directly impacting their clients’ access to justice) or finding traditional litigation financing options that often came with strings attached to case strategy. At the LegalTech Fund, we invest in companies transforming the world of law. Steno is doing exactly that by incorporating technology into outdated processes and providing novel financing solutions to the court reporting industry. With this increased flexibility, litigators are empowered to take on more cases, do more depositions, and in turn, increase access to justice. We are inspired by this mission and the team’s passion for solving such a big problem. Please welcome Steno to The LegalTech Fund family and let us know if we can connect you to learn more.


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