Cai GoGwilt   Project Wonderlust   2

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Contracts — typically seen as dense blocks of boilerplate text for corporate lawyers to deal with — are having their moment in legal tech.

Ironclad, which digitizes and automates contracts to streamline the end-to-end contract process, said on Thursday that it raised $100 million in Series D funding, bringing the company close to a $1 billion valuation. Its lead investors include Lux Capital’s Mary Meeker, previously dubbed “Queen of the Internet” by the New York Times, and its roster of existing investors also include VC titans like Sequoia, Accel, Y Combinator, and Emergence Capital.

Contract lifecycle management, or CLM, software has become one of the buzziest areas in the legal tech market. Major players like DocuSign, an e-signature and cloud agreement company, are making strategic investments and acquisitions of contract-related startups, while venture capitalist investors are pouring cash into the pockets of newer entrants like the CLM platform, Contractbook.

Read more: These are the 10 hottest legal tech startups that have raised a combined $1.4 billion in VC funding from investors like Bessemer Venture Partners and Andreessen Horowitz

The global CLM market is projected to have an annual growth rate of 13% to 20% over the next four years, bringing the total market to $3 billion by 2024, per several industry reports. Ironclad itself grew its annual recurring revenue by 192% from around $10 million 2019 to a projected $20 to 25 million in fiscal year 2020, which ends in January. 

Unlike some other legal tech companies that are looking to grow their businesses through strategic deals in the market, Ironclad plans to use its fresh capital to turn inwards and hone in on its product innovation, including the first AI contracting tool that uses Google Cloud’s machine learning technology, Cai GoGwilt, chief technology officer and cofounder of Ironclad, told Insider.

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Ironclad was founded in 2014 by Jason Boehmig, an ex-Fenwick & West lawyer, and GoGwilt, a former software engineer at Palantir.

Ironclad’s growth strategy has been accelerated by its partnership with Google Cloud

With its new $100 million Series D, Ironclad plans to double down on its “relentless focus” on contracting, said GoGwilt, expanding its AI contract tools to help advance its mission of utilizing contract data to help businesses and legal teams. As part of its growth, Ironclad will be hiring more people across all teams, including engineering, sales, and legal.

While it has no plans to grow its platform through strategic acquisitions or investments, GoGwilt said that they’ll consider that route if some solution to an unforeseen problem were to arise down the road.

Read more: Legal tech company Exterro just snapped up a forensics data startup — and is eyeing a potential ‘unicorn’ IPO

Another crucial component of Ironclad’s growth strategy is its partnership with Google Cloud, which was announced in December.

“Even with the funding, we wouldn’t be able to field world-class solutions without Google Cloud AI,” GoGwilt told Insider. Ironclad is the company’s only official partner, and, in December, released the first Google Cloud-based AI product for …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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