Brightflag Bags $28m Funding + Contractbook Bags $9.4m

Brightflag, a NLP-powered ​legal spend and matter management platform​, has bagged $28m in funding, from private equity firm ​One Peak​ plus existing investors Sands Capital Ventures and Frontline Ventures. Dublin-based Brightflag will use the funds to expand internationally and further develop its products. It also has bases in New York and Sydney.

And as promised, more funding news. This time Denmark’s Contractbook has closed a $9.4m Series A investment round, led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from existing investors, including Gradient Ventures. Less than a year ago, Gradient Ventures, which is Google’s AI-focused venture fund, led the company’s $3.9m seed round.

‘We’re just at the beginning of our mission to deliver the world’s most advanced contract lifecycle management system. We’ve invested in future-proofing our customers’ businesses since inception and are only beginning to see the results of data-driven document automation. I’m excited to partner with our new investors as we continue to grow our customer base and offer customers a smarter way to work with contracts,’ said Niels Martin Brøchner, Contractbook’s CEO and cofounder.

Now, back to Brightflag.

According to Crunchbase, the company, which started back in 2014, but has become much more well-known in the last few years, has previously raised just over $11m in the past. This new investment puts them at just under $40m in total growth funding.

Here’s a link to an interview with the company that Artificial Lawyer did back in 2017. As explained in that article: ‘[Brightflag] is focused around NLP’s ability to read even quite detailed descriptions of legal work…it reads each line item, extracts key data points about what was done, by whom, how long it took, and how it was billed out, and then compares it to billing guidelines that the client operates by. In turn, this helps clients push back on future fees for similar matters.’

Brightflag CEO and co-founder, Ian Nolan, said on the occasion of the new funding: ‘For the second time in the last 15 years, companies are grappling with the legal and financial implications of a global recession.

‘Brightflag is providing corporate legal departments with unparalleled visibility into their operations as they work to maximize the strategic value of their spending.’

And that is a good point about how a downturn for corporates drives new types of spending behaviour. I.e. a good time for companies such as Brightflag as they provide greater transparency and enable better planning.

The company added that despite COVID-19, Brightflag managed to almost double its annual recurring revenue in the past year.

To continue on that trajectory in 2021, the company ‘intends to hire approximately 60 new employees between its US and global teams over the next year’ they said. At present, according to LinkedIn, they have just under 90 staff, the majority of which are in Ireland.

Hint, hint….they are hiring.

Is this a big deal? When you are running a start-up, every round of funding is a big deal. Each round is a vote of confidence from the market, it’s vital cash to grow the business, and it’s another key step on the maturation curve of company development. So, congrats to Brightflag.