Artificial Lawyer recently spoke to Stuart Clout, Chief Revenue Officer at Sydney-based Ansarada, once just a VDR company focused on Australia, but now with ambitions to build a major global business centred on information governance.
Clout (pictured) was previously the founder of thedocyard, a transaction platform. The company became part of Ansarada in late 2020. Since then things have been changing, and as Clout told this site, the plan is to evolve the business in multiple directions, but with information governance at its core.
But, why the big change? After all, VDR (virtual data room) systems are an essential part of legal life. Why the need to change?
‘VDR on its own it becoming commoditised, and so it’s under price pressure,’ he explained.
I.e. although they’ve done well here, if they just sit still then the business will find it harder to grow. And as it’s a listed company that is not going to be an easy ride. There is also so much opportunity now to grow in a world that is much more open to legal tech solutions.
As with other listed legal tech companies they have dropped off in terms of share price since their debut, which was in early 2020. Although, to their credit, the company’s share price is now up by over 55% in the last 12 months – unlike some of the more recent IPOs.
But back to the plan…
‘[So] we are repositioning Ansarada. People think ‘we are the data room guys’, but we are not just that now and we will broaden the platform to support a range of information governance needs,’ he said.
Prior to their merger, thedocyard had already bought Athena Board, a corporate governance information platform, and last year Ansarada bought TriLine GRC, which is a compliance application. The company also has offices in the US and UK, as well as back home.
Clout then drops a heavy hint that more M&A deals may be on the horizon.
This site had to suggest a few names. They already work closely with doc analysis company Luminance, e.g. for redaction, what about a deal there? Clout said no, and stressed that VDR clients would not want to be forced to use one particular NLP provider in all scenarios.
In any case, he stressed that the goal was to expand into areas connected to information governance, e.g. compliance and ESG, rather than doc analysis tools.
And this is certainly good timing, inhouse legal teams have never been so heavily focused on such matters – and in many ways what is happening now with ESG is part of a long continuum of ever-expanding compliance demands – many of which can be helped with technology.
To conclude, Clout stated: ‘We are trying to build a global tech company.’
Good luck to him. Of course, they will need to bolt on quite a few additions in a Litera-esque way if that is the plan, at least if the global growth is to come very rapidly. But, they have every chance of doing that in the current market. And being listed may help to fund that growth as well.