Tech Transfer eNews Blog

First start-up from U Michigan Law School raises $1.8M to commercialize app that helps citizens “go” to court remotely

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: June 14th, 2017

The first start-up to launch out of the University of Michigan’s Law School has raised over $1.8 million to advance its efforts to expand access to the courts for people who have prior obligations such as work or family care, or who feel threatened because of their racial or ethnic background.

The start-up, Court Innovations, has developed an app called Matterhorn, which allows users to resolve and negotiate infractions and minor misdemeanors using a mobile phone or computer. For example, citizens can use Matterhorn to resolve traffic and parking tickets, warrants, family court compliance, or to file a small claims civil case.

“As we roll out our Matterhorn product nationally, it’s exciting to see such broad interest in our work to make justice accessible to everyone,” says MJ Cartwright, CEO of Court Innovations. “Through all our funders, we pulled in investment from current partners and attracted new supporters from 48 states and Washington D.C.”

In addition to helping citizens at odds with their court dates, Matterhorn saves time, resources and money for courts, increasing overall efficiency in the process. Courts that have used the app saw case closure times drop from 50 days to 17 days and staff time drop from an average of 2.5 hours to less than 30 minutes.

“It allows officers to stay on the streets,” says Honorable Chief Judge Brigette Officer-Hill of the Michigan 30th District Court in Highland Park. “It allows citizens to stay at home, or at work. It allows the judiciary to deal with cases that demand you come to court.”

The app is being used in 23 courts in Michigan and Ohio, and will be expanding into Arkansas this summer. Court Innovations aims to use the new funding to expand nationally.

The BELLE Michigan Fund led the funding round, joined by investors including Northern Michigan Angels, the Michigan Angel Fund, the Social Venture Fund led by students at the University of Michigan business school, and private investors.

Source: PE Hub  

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