DocuSign Joins $3.2m Investment in BlackBoiler

Leading esignature company, DocuSign, which previously invested in Seal Software and then bought the doc review business outright, has now joined a $3.2m investment round into NLP-driven legal tech company, BlackBoiler. However, BlackBoiler has told this site they don’t see the funding as an automatic gateway to being bought out as well. DocuSign was among several other investors which have not been named.

BlackBoiler is an automated contract markup system and will use the funds to further develop the capabilities of its patented software and accelerate team growth. BlackBoiler delivers up to a 70% reduction in review time compared to in-person review, the company said.

The company’s automated editing technology suggests company-specific revisions to corporate documents and seeks to automate the process of contract negotiation ‘right in Track Changes like an attorney would’ they explained.

(See AL TV News Analysis interview with Dan Broderick, CEO – 9 mins.)

AL TV Productions. Oct 2020.

Earlier this year DocuSign bought out Seal Software the doc review company after initially investing in it. On paper, adding in BlackBoiler as well would make a lot of sense in terms of DocuSign’s Agreement Cloud. I.e. you’d have esignatures, doc review to show if a contract’s terms were suitable, and then with BlackBoiler an automated mark-up system to help with the negotiation phase.

Broderick said: ‘We always thought there was an opportunity to collaborate or stand alongside Seal. [But] we are also talking to other extraction companies (i.e. doc review) and have built APIs with a number of CLM companies.’

In short, we should not assume that an investment will necessarily turn into a takeover and integration. That said, BlackBoiler and Seal have a long-term connection. As Broderick recounted to Artificial Lawyer, one of the first times the company had ever attended a conference to market the product they found that Seal was in the booth opposite. They got to know each other from there.

This familiarity between the two companies has clearly then helped to deliver the DocuSign investment.

We also explored the importance of working with ALSPs, i.e. process focused legal services providers, something that BlackBoiler is very interested in as it fits with the idea of a mix of human talent and automated review/mark-up technology.

All in all, exciting times for DocuSign, which recently did a full integration and re-brand of Seal’s review tool to offer ‘Analyzer’ as part of its agreement cloud. At the time this site considered how over the long-term, getting to the point of offering consumer level automated doc review would be a logical outcome for company.