LinkSquares Benefits From Legal Tech Boom With Fresh $100M – TechCrunch

LinkSquares, a company that develops intelligent software that helps brands maintain and sign new contracts, proves there is a robust market for contract management solutions and today announced it has raised $100 million in a G Squared-led raised Series C funding. The tranche, which included both new investor G2 Venture Partners and existing backers, brings the startup’s total funding to $161.4 million at a valuation of $800 million.

“With this new investment, we will continue to grow our business with in-house legal teams and further expand our presence in international markets such as Canada, the UK and Australia. [and build a] Multi-product suite that extends beyond contract lifecycle management to other use cases for in-house legal teams,” CEO Vishal Sunak told TechCrunch via email. “[We] think that … there is an opportunity to develop more products that support the whole legal team in areas like intellectual property management, outside legal advice, [and] Governance-Risk-Compliance.”

Established in 2015, LinkSquares was inspired by Sunaks and Chris Comb’s work with contracts and due diligence on a corporate acquisition. Combs led business development at Backupify when it was acquired by data backup company Datto, now owned by Vista Equity Partners, in 2015, while Sunak served as Datto’s Operations Director.

“During this time, all hands were on deck, there [Backupify] everything prepared to support the acquisition,” explained Sunak. “Datto was hoping to migrate Backupify’s customer data to their cloud infrastructure. However, one obstacle to this business goal was understanding each individual signed customer contract and determining whether Datto had the right to move the data without permission. The idea of ​​reviewing each contract, reading the data transfer provision, and saving the response seemed simple at first. In reality, since Backupify had negotiated more than 2,000 contracts, it was an impossible task to find all the contracts and search for the deployment language.”

As it turns out, Backupify wasn’t the only company struggling to glean insights from its contractual arrangements. According to World Commerce & Contracting, almost 40% of companies do not have a clear idea of ​​who is internally responsible for their contracts. Independent, previous research by the Blickstein Group suggests that most companies only track basic contract management metrics such as volume by customer, partner, program type and region.

With LinkSquares, Combs and Sunak wanted to build a platform that would combine legal analytics with sophisticated contract lifecycle capabilities. Leveraging AI and “the expertise of top legal clients,” LinkSquares helps companies write contracts, analyze the content of existing documents and collaborate with other teams across the organization, says Sunak.

Photo credit: link squares

“Inhouse Legal brings unique skills to a company that are of real value to stakeholders up and down the company ladder, but they are often seen as a company bottleneck. Modern legal teams need to consolidate their seat at the senior management level. To do that, they need to have consistent and accurate data at their fingertips,” Sunak said. “[L]Regardless teams also have needs outside of contract lifecycle management and are often forced to use siled, single-use products that don’t integrate with other business systems in the organization, creating major challenges for adoption, usage, and data flow.”

LinkSquares provides post-signature analytics and a searchable repository for contracts, allowing businesses to use AI to extract both contract data and metadata. Sunak claims that the platform, which has processed more than four million documents and over 100 million unique data points to date, can provide about 115 contract metadata responses in 20 seconds.

Additionally, LinkSquares integrates with Salesforce, Adobe, DocuSign and HelloSign services and will receive an in-house e-signature solution, LinkSquares Sign, next week to provide “full end-to-end” contract lifecycle management.

“For our contract lifecycle management product, our pre-trained contract metadata extraction technology runs out of the box with no user training needed… We aim to have 250+ out-of-the-box extraction values ​​by the end of the year” , added Sunak. “Also, we now have … benchmarks of what is being negotiated by our clients in real time and really interesting trending data on the use of certain provisions, wording and clauses that we’re excited to release later this year and will even be incorporating this into our product, so legal teams can better understand their position in negotiations.”

Growing market

Gartner predicts that legal department budgets for technology will triple by 2025. Already 2021 was a record year for legal tech, with $1.4 billion invested by venture capital firms in the first half of the year — more than all of 2020 and well above what was in 2018 and 2019, according to Crunchbase data was raised.

LinkSquares — which has 550 customers including DraftKings, Igloo, and Wayfair — generated over $20 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) in 2021, Sunak claims. Plans are to increase ARR by 150% by the end of 2022 and double LinkSquares’ workforce to 500 employees.

“We believe LinkSquares is well positioned to meet this critical need with what we believe to be market-leading proprietary AI. We see that the company’s success to date is based on its best-in-class financial metrics and success rates,” Spencer McLeod, G Squared partner and research director, told TechCrunch. “The management team has a vision to transform this space and we believe that through continued execution and product innovation, LinkSquares can redefine how modern legal teams work.”

But legal tech spending and investments don’t necessarily correlate with adoption. For example, according to a 2020 study by the American Bar Association, only 58% of companies use cloud-based data storage, while only 7% use tools with AI (e.g. ContractPodAI, Cognitiv+ and SirionLabs).

Historically, hurdles to technical deployment in the legal field have included time constraints, cost concerns, and a lack of commitment to skills training. Company admins tend to block any non-billable activity, such as B. training, as a waste of time. Sunak himself acknowledges that contract lifecycle management providers have offered a poor shopping experience over the past decade.

That’s all to say that software like LinkSquares isn’t a silver bullet. Effective contract management requires improving internal processes and fostering – or strengthening – the relevant skills of employees. Only then can improvements in contract value be realized through cost reduction and increased revenue – a message LinkSquares must communicate clearly in order to retain and grow its customer base.

“[Vendors have sold] feature-rich products, complex implementations, [and an] Over-emphasis on pre-signing workflows as the solution to every contract management problem,” said Sunak. “[But we’re] seeing much wind in the sails now and in the years to come, as predicted… The [contract lifecycle management space] has a lot of activity, which is very positive. Legal tech and contract management in particular are hot areas and it’s great to see contract management and contract lifecycle management supported by companies like DocuSign and Icertis.”

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