Agiloft, a CLM platform that is going to become a lot more well-known in the legal tech market, has announced a $45m investment by FTV Capital. In addition it has hired Eric Laughlin to be its new CEO. He was global leader of Big Four firm EY’s legal managed services (LMS) arm that it bought from Thomson Reuters. The move also follows the departure of Ed Sohn from EY’s LMS group, who was also a senior figure there and joined Factor.
Agiloft is not that well-known in the global legal tech market despite having started back in 1991. It also has 600 customers, including Honeywell and Roche.
Part of the reason for this is that Agiloft started in areas such as help desk software, then slowly moved horizontally into other commercial areas, with now a strong focus on CLM and contract analysis. I.e. it evolved into the legal space, rather than started there.
Now with the cash, and its long term CEO, Colin Earl, moving to a CTO role to allow Laughlin to expand the business, there looks certain to be a greater focus on appealing to corporate legal teams, as opposed to seeing Agiloft as a more general contracting system.
It will aim to ‘accelerate its AI-based product development and expand its vertical and geographic market presence [using] Agiloft’s no-code platform that helps to automate complex enterprise workflows’.
Laughlin, who left EY in December 2019, said: ‘Colin and his team at Agiloft have built a unique company, emphasizing customer-focused execution and a culture of trust and transparency, all built on a foundation of technical excellence.
‘The result has been steadily accelerating growth and consistent profitability. I’m honored to have been chosen to lead Agiloft in the next chapter of its development. A big part of my role will be to grow the company while maintaining the elements that have made it so successful.’
Earl added: ‘Eric not only has a track record of success, growing and leading large global organizations, he has the vision, domain expertise and integrity to lead Agiloft in its next phase of growth and product innovation. The search took over a year–and it was well worth it to find the right individual.’
And, Alex Mason, partner at FTV Capital, concluded: ‘To develop a no-code product that customers love, while prioritizing profitable growth without external investment, is a remarkable achievement. We are proud to be a collaborative partner to the Agiloft team and look forward the exciting journey ahead.’
All well and good, but what does Agiloft actually do…? They say: ‘a robust AI engine simplifies the intake and organization of existing contracts and also identifies the level of risk in documents and clauses. The platform is easily extensible to the commercial processes adjacent to contracts such as spend management and integrates with enterprise systems’.
Is this a big deal?
It underlines the importance of CLM and doc analysis technology, which is clearly seeing growing investment from VCs and uptake by corporates who have decided enough is enough with regard to not knowing what is in their contracts. It also signals that Agiloft will be taking this cash and going on a major growth push that will create competition for existing CLM players.
Moreover, the hire of Laughlin is both a sign of their seriousness about growth, and also an indicator that EY is losing some top talent from its LMS group, especially after Sohn’s departure as well.