Centerbase, a Dallas-based company providing legal practice management software for mid-sized law firms , has received a growth equity investment from Mainsail Partners, a growth equity firm that invests exclusively in fast-growing, bootstrapped software companies.

In an interview with LawSites, John Forbes, founder and CEO, declined to say the amount of the investment, but he described it as “really significant.”

Since founding it in 2015, Forbes has self-funded the company. It has seen 100% year-over-year growth every year since 2017, when the company released its product commercially, he said.

A distinguishing feature of Centerbase’s cloud-based platform is that it is highly configurable by users. It includes native accounting, billing, timekeeping, matter management, document management, and reporting.

Its primary customers are mid-sized law firms practicing in the areas of civil litigation, insurance defense, family law, and criminal law, but the firms also span such practice areas as business, employment, immigration, intellectual property, real estate, and others.

Forbes said that the company intends to use the growth capital to enhance its product offerings, customer success, and marketing, and to expand its management team to enhance its ability to serve its customers.

“We have spent the past seven years building a robust practice management solution for the legal sector,” Forbes said in a statement. “Between our powerful billing functions, our integrated accounting solution, and our enhanced configurability, we were confident that our product was a stand-out.

“However, we also knew our growth was outpacing our internal resources. After several months of diligence, we chose to partner with Mainsail Partners based on their reputation for helping companies like ours. We are excited to leverage their experience in this next phase of growth.”

“The pace of innovation coming out of Centerbase reflects their commitment to their customers, as well as their ability to understand the needs of the legal market,” Taylor McKinley, partner at Mainsail Partners, said in a statement. “This unique blend of innovation and customer focus is just one of the reasons we are so excited to partner with this team.”

Mainsail, since its founding in 2003, has raised more than $1.3 billion of committed capital and invested in more than 50 bootstrapped companies throughout the United States, it says.

Forbes started developing Centerbase’s core software as a management platform for his prior company, Progression Technologies, a re-seller of engineering software. After further developing it as a business-management solution, he began to focus on the legal sector.

Over the last six months, the company has doubled its employees to 60, and expects to expand that number even more with this investment.

Its growth has come largely through word of mouth and trade show appearances, without any formal advertising or marketing.

Forbes said the company has an aggressive roadmap for further developing its product. Although he declined to discuss specific features being planned, the focus will be on making the platform more flexible and configurable by users, and on further developing functionality specific to certain practice areas.

In my interview, I also spoke with Rob Joyner, vice president of sales and marketing, and Paul Murphy, vice president of operations.

Murphy said that a additional development goal is to give users access to more data and provide them greater ability to generate custom reports.

“We already give our users access to more data than probably anyone else,” Murphy said, “so we want to further enhance our report builder to make it easy for them to generate custom reports.”

Murphy said that he was excited about working with Mainsail because they are not out to acquire multiple companies and cobble them together like a legal tech Frankenstein, but rather have a business operations team that will focus on helping them grow.

“They will help us stay Centerbase,” he said.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.