| Bloomberg

Dentons Invests in Transactional Software

From Gabe Friedman on Bloomberg Big Law Business


Nextlaw Labs, the wholly owned subsidiary of Dentons, announced Monday it is investing an undisclosed amount in Doxly, a tech start up that aims to automate legal transactional work.


Its earlier investments targeted ROSS, a legal search tool for bankruptcy cases powered by IBM’s Watson technology, and Apperio, a U.K.-based company that offers matter management and fee tracking technology.


Doxly is a cloud-based software for lawyers conducting due diligence or working on transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions. It provides “automated workflows” to simplify things, like collecting signatures, checklists and document-level collaboration.


A few quick facts about the latest deal:


  • The company announced it has raised $2.25 million in “seed” funding — typically used to fully develop a product it is building — including investments from High Alpha Capital, Hyde Park Venture Partners and Nextlaw.
  • “Doxly will use the capital to scale its technology platform and fuel hiring in product development, engineering, sales and marketing,” according to a press release.
  • It was co-founded by Haley Altman, a former Ice Miller partner. She described it as in “beta” and not scheduled for release until this fall.
  • Altman, who is also the CEO of Doxly, is based in Indiana, which is where Dentons’ chief innovation officer John Fernandez hails from, although he is now located in Washington, D.C..
  • Nextlaw has not disclosed the size of any of its investments, but has said one of its most valuable contributions is the product development feedback that Dentons’ thousands of lawyers around the world can provide.


Dan Jansen, CEO of NextLaw Labs, explained a bit more. Below is an interview, edited for brevity and clarity.


Big Law Business: How did you choose this product?


Jansen: Whenever we invest, it starts with our Dentons lawyers or clients saying this is a pain point.


Big Law Business: Tell me about Doxly.


Jansen: The notion of much better transparency and process and analytical management of large transactions is just something we’ve heard about. When large transactions are underway, there’s a lot of people participating.


Doxly does simple things like automating the signature collection and having it in electronic formats, and it has dashboards that show who has signed and who hasn’t and where it is in the process. It also has checklists. While the solution sounds pretty straightforward, we really haven’t seen anyone pull it all together.


Big Law Business: How is Nextlaw structured?


Jansen: Nextlaw Labs is its a wholly owned subsidiary of Dentons. There’s an additional entity called Nextlaw Ventures, in which Dentons is the only limited partner at the moment. But our deal flow has been so heavy, we are in the process of bringing in additional capital. Legaltech is just blowing up.


We don’t disclose how much we invest, but we are minority investors. We always co-invest with other lead investors. That’s our model. We help shape the product and bring it into Dentons.


Big Law Business: Who else will invest, other law firms?


Jansen: Possibly. We were the first to do it in the legal industry. I’m surprised that no one has followed us. But that’s cool. I’ll take all the runway I can get. We think it’s a compelling model. We’re either brilliant or crazy because no one is copying us. But that’s cool.