AL News Wrap: Two Fundings and a Merger

Although Litera’s activities and the effects these have on the market produce enough news to fill a newspaper all on their own, today’s Artificial Lawyer News Wrap brings you some other updates, this time about two new legal tech and compliance fundings, and an NLP-driven doc analysis deal focused on the CLM market that you may have missed amid all the other excitement this week.

Compliance Automation Startup, Regology, Bags $8m Funding

Regology, a startup that is automating enterprise compliance, has bagged $8 million in a Series A funding round led by ACME Capital.

Regology offers an ‘AI-enabled platform that actively tracks regulatory updates, allowing companies to dynamically monitor changes to business-relevant laws, identify emerging risks and fines, and set up controls to ensure legal requirements are being met’.

Regology added that the platform gives companies access to law progressions, from initial bill to law passage, to subsequent publication coverage and updates across jurisdictions.

Then ‘its proprietary AI algorithm allows companies to track regulatory updates in real time at the industry, product and functional level, ensuring their business keeps pace with the dynamics of regulations. By automating processes, companies are prepared to enter new markets faster while reducing their risk profile and operational costs’.

By automating tasks that ‘typically take companies months to complete manually, Regology empowers enterprises to streamline resources spent on regulatory compliance efforts with improved results’, the California-based startup said in a statement.

This all sounds very handy. And necessary, given the regular waves of new regulation that never seem to stop.

Mukund Goenka, co-founder and CEO, Regology, added: ‘With regulations constantly changing at local, federal and global levels, it’s impossible for companies to stay current with human intelligence alone.

‘Whether it is allowing banks to share financial transaction data or ensuring COVID requirements are met, Regology is helping companies deliver on the promise to be up to date and legal, without headache and human error.’

Compliance is a bit of an unusual sibling when it comes to legal tech. Clearly it’s a legally-related subject area that GCs spend a lot of time focused on. At the same time, most of the legal tech world, aside from companies such as Libryo and a couple of rivals, are working on other things.

Yet, as Regology stated, based on their own market analysis, in 2020 Global 500 companies spent more than $400 billion on regulatory compliance, yet were fined over $20 billion.

Let’s repeat that bit: 500 companies spent $400 billion on this area in just one year.

Hany Nada, co-founder and partner at ACME Capital, concluded: ‘Legal and compliance has traditionally been hyper localized, making disparate information and fragmented systems inevitable, even for the most sophisticated companies.

‘The past year called to light how quickly regulation changes. Regology helps global enterprises keep pace with that change, providing peace of mind to business leaders and operators.’

New NLP-Driven Contract Analysis Start-Up, Semeris, Bags £600k

Semeris, a new NLP-driven contract analysis company based in the UK, and which focuses on the financial sector, has bagged £600,000 ($820,000) in a pre-seed funding round led by QVentures.

Artificial Lawyer is pleased to see another entry into this space and had not heard of Semeris before, which began its journey last March.

So, what do they do? This is what they say: ‘[Semeris is] designed to help financial services companies review, analyse and summarise legal documentation.

‘Semeris dramatically cuts investment analysis time with a mix of natural language processing, machine learning, and human curation. The solution also allows the comparison of terms and specific contract language across entire markets. Once analyzed, the Semeris libraries can speed up contract reading and reviewing by up to 10 times.’

So, that all sounds very familiar. Perhaps what is different is the target market: ‘Semeris serves customers in a US and European collateralised loan obligation (CLO) market, from small boutique investment firms to the largest Global Banks (G-SIBs – global systemically important banks). Besides US expansion, this investment speeds up entry into the analysis of additional asset classes.’

Also, one other difference they say is that: ‘As a plug and play tool, Semeris differentiates itself from other data extraction tools in the market by being able to compare how the language used in transaction documents varies from deal to deal and evolves over time.’

Now, clearly this is not for all law firms, but those working with large banks and the investment world, as well as inhouse teams at those organisations, may well see the value here.

Peter Jasko, Co-Founder and CEO of Semeris, said in a statement: ‘QVentures took the time to really understand our business and help set Semeris up for successful growth. The closing of this funding round will spearhead the expansion of our capital markets legal AI products into the US.’

And, worth mentioning that after a 20-plus year career in technology and finance, Jasko left banking in 2008 and has had three successful fintech exits since then.

If this was aimed at the broader doc analysis market one would be tempted to say that they are arriving at a time of consolidation and multiple players already heavily engaged. However, they have a very specific financial sector focus, and NLP needs a lot of expert training to be useful in new subject areas, so this all makes sense.

Harveer Bharaj, Principal at QVentures, added: ‘We’re excited to be supporting the two experienced founders in taking Semeris out to market across Europe and the USA. The team’s deep experience in capital markets and building and scaling tech ventures has been reflected in strong feedback from both existing and potential customers who are excited by how Semeris can help accelerate their investment operations and open up opportunities in new markets.’

Let’s All Do The Conga……..With Contract Wrangler

Conga, which was bought by Apttus last year for $715m, has now snapped up contract analysis company, Contract Wrangler, that…you guessed it, uses NLP and human reviewers to find and extract key data from documents.

Surprisingly this site has not had much contact with Contract Wrangler since it started, although AL did mention that they took part in the LexisNexis Accelerator back in 2017. The company launched in 2016, so it’s gone five years before getting bought up.

As to how this fits into a giant such as Conga, which covers a range of operational and workflow needs of corporates, this is the answer: ‘Conga will bring Contract Wrangler to market as Conga Contract Intelligence. Conga Contract Intelligence will be sold standalone and as a value-added capability to Conga’s existing Contract & Lifecycle Management (CLM) solutions.’

I.e. this is a CLM play, and that’s noteworthy given how many other companies with a CLM and general contract management focus are also trying to build out NLP capabilities to extract legal and business data to provide meaningful dashboards for use inside corporates.

Conga CEO and Culture Leader, Noel Goggin, said in a statement: ‘With our acquisition of Contract Wrangler, we’re extending our leadership in helping companies manage their revenue contracts. Together, we’ll empower companies to manage risk, compliance and obligations, while maximising their revenue potential.’

And Contract Wrangler CEO, John Gengarella, added: ‘Contract Wrangler’s ability to help companies gain actionable insights from all their contracts is unparalleled and a perfect complement to the Conga commercial and revenue operations solutions. With Conga’s global go-to-market and services capabilities, we’ll have an incredible opportunity to accelerate our growth as part of a market leader.’

Plus ILTA

Artificial Lawyer will be providing on the ground coverage of the landmark legal tech event next week.

That’s all folks, have a great weekend.

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