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The online litigation finance platform LexShares announced Thursday it is hoping to draw $25 million for a managed fund that will invest in a broad portfolio of lawsuits across the United States.
The development is arguably the latest sign of the heat surrounding the nascent U.S. litigation funding industry, which in the past year has seen new market entrants, a major acquisition, and huge amounts of money streaming into the legal system.
The “LexShares Marketplace Fund I” is also new foray for the company. It previously only allowed third-party investors to bet directly on individual cases that LexShares vetted and offered on its online portal.
Serving as a platform will still be a part of its business, LexShares CEO Jay Greenberg said in an interview. But the new fund will allow investors to put cash into a portion of all of the cases that it lists.
“One of the biggest pieces of feedback that we get from investors is that [cases] fill up so quickly that it’s hard for investors to invest in them,” Greenberg said. The new fund will allow greater participation—including from individual, accredited investors—and help spread risk, he added.
The minimum investment size per investor is $75,000, and there’s a limit of 99 investors. As of early morning Thursday, 42 had signed up, committing a bit over $7.6 million. (Under the terms of the fund, LexShares will take a 20 percent share of the profits of the investments.)
In an investor presentation, LexShares also offered the most detailed glimpse yet of its so-called “Diamond Mine” program—an algorithm that the company claims helps identify valuable lawsuits to invest in. The program scrapes all cases filed in federal court, and in 38 state courts, that meet certain parameters. It’s currently “mining” about 1,000 cases per day.
The software then breaks those court filings down into raw text and looks for terms like “breach of fiduciary duty” or “breach of contract” that indicate the kind of commercial lawsuit that LexShares sees as an ideal investment, Greenberg said. After that, the company’s lawyers take over, conducting an initial due diligence process and contacting the attorneys involved in cases.
LexShares is not alone in its use of AI. Legalist, based in San Francisco, uses its own legal data analytics algorithm to help assess the viability of investing in cases that lawyers or claimants bring to them. But LexShares appears unique in that it uses the technology to actively scout potential investments.
“A lot of people ask, ‘Is AI the future of litigation finance?’” Greenberg added. “And I think it’s the future of how cases are originated, but I don’t think it’s the future of how cases are invested in. I think real intelligence, or human intelligence, is absolutely a requirement.”
The company’s presentation claims a good record of hand-picking winners so far. Out of the 10 cases that have resolved since its launch in 2014, nine have resulted in a judgment for the claimant or a settlement. Overall, the company aimed at the middle of the funding market in terms of value: the average size of a case listed on LexShares was $408,000.