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Legal website Avvo valued at $650 million

Lawyer-rating website raises $71.5M in recent funding round

Avvo Inc., an online directory for finding and rating lawyers, raised $71.5 million in a funding round led by Technology Crossover Ventures, to add products and boost marketing and hiring.

The financing values the Seattle-based startup at about $650 million, said people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the figures aren’t public. The round brings total funding for Avvo to $132 million.

At that valuation, Seattle-based Avvo is worth about three times as much as publicly listed Angie’s List Inc., an online subscription-based marketplace that connects consumers with service providers.

Avvo attracts more than 8 million visitors a month to its website, which offers free access to lawyer profiles and consumer reviews of attorneys. Visitors can also post questions that are usually answered by attorneys within 12 hours, according to Mark Britton, founder and chief executive officer.

Avvo, founded in 2006, makes most of its money selling advertising, similar to consumer-review website Yelp Inc., which offers reviews of local restaurants, shops and services.

In the past year, Avvo introduced Avvo Advisor, an on-demand, 15-minute telephone consultation session with attorneys that costs $39 and is available in 18 states. The service has been popular with people seeking legal advice regarding small businesses and immigration issues, Britton said.

“These businesses don’t have a general counsel, so they love that they can push a button and have a lawyer call them,” Britton said.

Investors Vulcan Capital and Coatue also participated in the funding round. The lead backer, Palo Alto, California-based Technology Crossover Ventures, has invested in prominent Internet companies, such as Facebook Inc., Netflix Inc., Spotify Ltd. and Zillow Group Inc.