The co-founder of Contract Express, Andy Wishart, has joined rapidly growing CLM platform Agiloft after leaving Thomson Reuters. He was approached by Agiloft, and Wishart told this site: ‘It was too big an opportunity to turn down.’ He will play a key role in accelerating its CLM product development and homebuilt AI capabilities, which will be used for clause extraction and contract risk scoring.
[Listen to the full AL TV (Radio AL) news interview with Wishart below – approx 6 minutes, where he tells Artificial Lawyer more about his move.]
He will take on the role of chief product officer (CPO) at Agiloft to ‘further accelerate innovation’ at the US-based business, although he told Artificial Lawyer he will be staying in the UK, which will become an increasingly important centre for the company.
He added that they will also be looking to hire more talent in London as the company expands. Wishart also told Artificial Lawyer that he had known the recently appointed CEO of Agiloft, Eric Laughlin, for some time, having worked together at Thomson Reuters when Laughlin was part of Pangea3. When Laughlin asked if he’d like to join him to further grow Agiloft he decided he could not turn down such an offer.
As noted, Wishart co-created Contract Express, one of the first and most well-known doc automation platforms, which was then bought by Thomson Reuters. In recent years Wishart has played a major role in developing key parts of the massive company’s tech strategy, and was its VP Drafting and Productivity Solutions since 2017.
Agiloft noted: ‘With a degree in artificial intelligence and psychology from the University of Edinburgh, Wishart is passionate about enhancing legal productivity through intelligent and easy-to-use solutions.’
Laughlin added: ‘I am beyond thrilled to have Andy Wishart on board. Andy is an outstanding leader in both CLM product management and AI innovation. As an industry leader in both areas, he will play a central role in our strategy of accelerating our CLM product development and AI capabilities.’
Back in November 2020, Agiloft told this site about its plans to build out its own NLP products – ‘Agiloft Boosts its AI Doc Analysis Capabilities‘.
And for his part, Wishart also added: ‘I am very excited to be joining Agiloft’s dynamic team at this pivotal moment in its growth and innovation. As a recognised industry leader, Agiloft has developed exciting AI capabilities around clause extraction and risk scoring and has integrated that seamlessly into the user’s contracting workflows. I look forward to bringing my passion and expertise to the table to spur on the company’s course of product development.’
All well and good, but what does this move mean? Much remains to be seen, but clearly his input on product development will show soon enough. The mentioned focus on NLP doc analysis tools will be especially interesting to see in terms of how they evolve with Wishart’s involvement.
Meanwhile, Agiloft was already on an upward trajectory after hiring in Laughlin in 2020 to drive growth and add to the CLM platform’s capabilities (see interview here – ‘Agiloft’s Expansion Plan‘.) They also received a $45 million growth equity investment from FTV Capital in late 2020 – and that capital no doubt will pay for a lot of new product development.
All in all an important move for Wishart and Agiloft. For Thomson Reuters it’s clearly a loss. Although, he had been there for several years and no doubt a fair amount of his input into Contract Express’s integration into the wider portfolio, such as linking with Practical Law, had already happened.
Overall this is a signal that Agiloft is very serious about growth, and as noted, they are planning multiple new hires to further build out the team. Watch this space.
Nice interview Richard. The AI-enabled market is getting so much more interesting!