LegalZoom debuted up 35%; CEO sells further push into digital market

LegalZoom made its market debut on Wednesday, with the shares opening 31% above their offer price on the company’s second attempt at listing.

The online legal platform was valued at over $ 7.5 billion while stocks rose as much as 38%. The stock closed 35.18% at $ 37.85 per share, bringing LegalZoom’s market cap of $ 7.35 billion.

The stock opened at $ 36.75 per share after trading at $ 28 per share. The company sold about 19.1 million shares at that price Tuesday night, raising about $ 700 million.

LegalZoom provides legal and compliance solutions and operates in all 50 states and more than 3,000 counties in the United States

“I’ll just start by saying that our mission is to democratize the law,” Dan Wernikoff, CEO of LegalZoom, told CNBC on Wednesday. “The market itself is extremely large” for legal services, about $ 50 billion, he said.

“When you think of legal services, 8% of our services are provided online, compared to other categories like accounting, where you see a much greater adoption of online solutions,” he said. “This is the opportunity that lies before us and when we are really excited.”

The company had previously applied for a listing on the stock exchange in 2012, but withdrew it in January 2014. Four years later, LegalZoom was valued at $ 2 billion after Francisco Partners and GPI Capital invested $ 500 million in the company.

In a TechCheck interview, Wernikoff said the company is trying to meet customer needs inexpensively, especially for small businesses.

“Today you only have a few options. Either you have a very inexpensive solution that doesn’t provide guidance, or you have to … pay for an expert and worry about the time you spend being the expert,” said Wernikoff . “We’re trying to get right in the middle of these two possibilities and really use the technology to make the expert so much more efficient.”

LegalZoom is just one of many companies to make their public debut on Wednesday, including Chinese ridesharing company Didi, biometric screening company Clear, digital advertising company Taboola and cybersecurity company SentinelOne.

– Reuters contributed to this report.

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