As I wrote here earlier, Litera yesterday announced that it has acquired Doxly, a four-year-old company founded by a former biglaw partner to manage the legal transactions process. I have just had a phone call with the CEOs of the two companies and can provide more details.
First, to sum up the news. the document technology company Litera Microsystems has acquired Doxly, a platform designed to manage the transaction-closing process from end to end. The significance of this acquisition is enhanced by the fact that, just last month, Litera acquired U.K. company Workshare, which has its own transaction platform called Workshare Transact.
In the space of roughly a month, that means, Litera has gone from having no transaction-management technology to having two of the leading platforms — and platforms that span both the U.S. and European markets. By so doing, Litera has positioned itself as a leader in the transaction management space — and some might argue the leader.
Litera has been a company to watch in recent years, particularly since 2017, when a $100 million investment combined Litera with three other leading document technologies: Microsystems, XRef and The Sackett Group. Then, last May, Litera was sold to Hg Capital Trust Plc.
As for Doxly, it was founded in 2016 by Haley Altman, a former corporate lawyer with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in San Francisco and Ice Miller in Indianapolis, and her Ice Miller colleague Elizabeth Brier. The same year, they raised $2.2 million in seed funding. In 2017, Doxly was a participant in the first-ever ABA Techshow startup pitch competition (of which I was an organizer and moderator).
Last year, with Altman remaining CEO, Doxly brought on a new executive chairman, Christopher Clapp, who is an expert in leading companies to exits. At the time, I asked them if that meant the company was positioning itself for an acquisition. “We’re just trying to build a beautiful business,” Clapp told me, “and the rest will take care of itself.”
The CEOs Speak
Today, I spoke with Altman and Avaneesh Marwaha, the CEO of Litera, about the acquisition and what it means for the companies and their customers.
Marwaha called the acquisition a natural extension of his company’s current ethos. As Litera has been “heads down” working to improve the drafting process for lawyers, Doxly has created a product that is ripe to blow up the ability of lawyers and law firms to manage transactions. Litera has the resources to speed up achievement of the goals that Altman and Doxly were already pursuing, he said.
For customers, this is important because some are timid about investing in a product that is still relatively new to the market. With this acquisition, Doxly is now backed by the entire global Litera team of developers and support professionals. “This allows the buyer and user greater confidence that what they’re investing in will be around for a long, long time,” Marwaha said.
Altman said she was attracted to Litera because its vision mapped exactly to hers. Both companies share the goal of providing legal professionals with an integrated, end-to-end platform for managing the document creation and transaction lifecycle.
“This allows us to holistically expand to the whole document lifecycle,” Altman said. “All the things I wanted to have in Doxly are all there in Litera. I think that’s really powerful for customers.”
“The commonality is that Haley and I have both been practicing lawyers in the past,” said Marwaha, who started his career practicing IP law. “We have a passion to make life better for our friends.”
With last month’s acquisition of Workshare Transact, Marwaha said that the two products will eventually be combined into one that will better support transactions on a global basis.
“The communications that we’ve heard from firms is that they are keen to see this come together,” he said. “We want to bring it together; we want the end user to have the same experience everywhere.”
Altman will lead that integration in her new role as general manager of transaction management. “It was important for me to be able to say on,” she said. “We’ve always had a big vision and we’re not done executing on that.”
All 10 of Doxly’s employees will also stay on. Clapp, the executive chairman I mentioned above, will not remain with the company.
The deal came about quickly. From first meeting to final close, just 10 days passed, the two CEOs told me. Needless to say, the entire transaction was managed using the Doxly platform.