| IBJ

High Alpha upstart aims to streamline legal legwork

From Jared Council in the IBJ

 

For attorneys handling the paperwork for big-dollar deals, there are few things worse than getting to the 11th hour and discovering a missing signature.

 

That’s what happened to former Ice Miller attorney Haley Altman on a $35 million private-equity transaction a few years ago. The experience ignited an idea that grew into a new company called Doxly Inc. The startup is the third one to sprout at Indianapolis venture studio High Alpha.

 

Doxly sells transaction-management software aimed at law firms, which can use it to manage real estate, mergers and acquisitions, and other deals that frequently involve hundreds of pages, numerous people and several key signatures.

 

Altman said attorneys often use email accounts or document-storage software to manage such transactions. But information tends to be siloed there, she said, and workflow tools designed for closing deals are limited, if available at all.

 

So, she set out to provide solutions to those pain points—as well as instant insights into data such as total deal volume—with Doxly.

 

“At the end of the day, we’re just trying to provide that whole view of the transaction process and automate some of the features that help you get there faster,” the 36-year-old Doxly CEO said.

 

Led by former ExactTarget CEO Scott Dorsey, High Alpha adopts and creates enterprise-software companies. Soon after debuting in spring 2015, it brought email signature startup Sigstr Inc. under its umbrella and created its first two companies—ClearScholar Inc. and Zylo Inc.—this June.

 

Haley, a DePauw University graduate, said she first discussed her legal-tech idea with High Alpha last August. The connection came through her employer, Ice Miller, which already has been doing work for the venture studio.

In February, Haley was invited to participate in High Alpha’s “sprint week,” a five-day period in which all 20 employees completely clear their schedules to turn concepts into businesses.

 

On the first day, High Alpha partner Kristian Andersen challenged Altman to sign up three customers that week.

 

She signed up four—law firms in Indiana, California, Michigan and Ohio—by Thursday based solely on the concept, she said.

 

“We’ve been in contact with potential customers and a full pipeline of new customers, and people are excited about it,” Altman said. “They can see the value of how it will improve their transactional practice … .”

 

Doxly has five employees, including former Determine Inc. software engineering director Moses Dwaram. The company hopes to have 10 employees by the end of this year.

 

High Alpha typically invests about $500,000 in its portfolio companies up front and surrounds them with a bevy of human resources—including product designers, marketers, and more. The goal is to accelerate those firms’ growth rates faster than they could on their own.

 

Its return on investment comes when those companies experience an exit, either through an acquisition or an initial public offering.