Although far from a surge, legal tech M&A does seem to be picking up, with CLM stalwart SirionLabs now buying contract automation company Zendoc and opening a base in Nice, France. Yesterday, Ontra made a micro-acquisition of Captain, and before that FundFormer in June.
In August LexisNexis bought CaseLex, in June Syntheia bought Motionize, and also over the summer Litera bought Micron Systems and BigSquare, plus this week ALSP Axiom bought Plexus Engage.
So, not a mass of deals since the summer, but a steady flow. As noted before, downturns can provide a lot of buying opportunities for larger companies, but it doesn’t seem that we have hit that kind of territory yet. Also, several of the above are relatively small deals and are as much about bringing aboard a great team as the target company’s tech.
But, back to the deal. What does Zendoc provide? Here is what they say: ‘With Zendoc you can connect to leading cloud platforms with ready-to-use connectors and let the contract automation begin. Zendoc’s AI is able to understand what are the legal documents in your cloud and email services, where they are, and import them all by itself very quickly, where it would take weeks with other contract automation platforms. Your documents are also all analyzed and tagged, ready for automation.’
And one can see why a CLM company would find this capability useful, as such applications form core elements of many such contract management platforms today.
SirionLabs started in 2012 and has around 890 staff listed on LinkedIn. Meanwhile Zendoc – which is also based in Washington State, has six employees listed (three in the US and three in France) and started in 2019 – so, it’s operated for about three years before selling. Its CEO and co-founder, Laurent Lathieyre, describes himself as a serial entrepreneur and has a number of other businesses behind him.
The CLM company stated that the ‘knowledge that Zendoc’s engineers bring to Sirion will be instrumental in the company’s data-centric AI strategy, which utilizes datasets to improve the performance of AI models. The accretion of data for applied AI learning achieves a data network effect that will ultimately increase value for Sirion users by enabling productivity gains, reducing contract risk and decreasing contract value leakage’.
They continued that ‘Zendoc brings to Sirion a talented team of engineers that will focus on enhancing the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) for the Sirion CLM platform to provide customers with a world-class user experience in the complex arena of legacy document migration. This heightened usability and deeper emphasis on customer experience will further solidify Sirion’s leadership position in the CLM market’.
SirionLabs, which raised $85m in May this year, added that it will be establishing a Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Nice, France, located in the heart of the region known as the ‘European Silicon Valley’ – and that’s good to hear for those who love legal tech and the Côte d’Azur.
The company added: ‘Nice is globally recognised as a hub of technical innovation and education, making it an ideal location for the new CoE. In addition to increasing Sirion’s global talent pool, this expands the company’s geographic reach and ability to provide localised technical support for its European customers.’
One could add that Nice and the surrounding area also constitute one of the nicest parts of France, with great food, a fantastic climate with a very special light, plus a rich culture, including many world class art galleries. Artificial Lawyer is right this minute booking another trip, for legal tech purposes only of course.
Ajay Agrawal, co-founder and CEO of SirionLabs, said: ‘The war for talent is global, and we’re thrilled to be adding such skilled professionals to the Sirion team as well as gaining a foothold in a key region for tech development. Their world-class engineering expertise moves the needle on our data-centric approach to building a better, faster, more powerful CLM platform.’
Meanwhile Lathieyre concluded: ‘Joining forces with Sirion and establishing the Engineering CoE enables us to fuel innovation that makes enterprise contracting simpler, smarter and more intuitive – as well as reaching scale to achieve a data network effect.
‘Nice and the French Riviera have earned a reputation as an elite incubator for tech innovators, and the new CoE strengthens our ability to attract the very best engineering talent to the Sirion team.’
[ Pic: The Maeght Foundation, near to St Paul de Vence, which sits in the hills above Nice. RT photo. Sculptures in foreground are by Giacometti. ]
Looking forward to see you in Nice!