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Contract management startup ContractPodAI nabs $115M for AI-driven legal review

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ContractPodAI, an AI-powered contract management solution provider, today announced that it raised $115 million in a series C investment led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 at “five times” its valuation compared with July 2019. The round, which saw participation from Eagle Proprietary Investments, will be put toward product growth and expanding ContractPodAI’s presence internationally, leveraging SoftBank’s Asia-Pacific network.

Almost every business function relies on legal involvement or expertise. Despite its importance, legal has been one of the last functions to adopt digitization. As of 2017, the cost of a basic contract stood at $6,900, according to the International Association for Contract & Commercial Management — with around 5 billable hours spent on legal review and up to 18 hours of management and procurement time.

ContractPodAI

Above: ContractPodAI’s product dashboard.

Image Credit: ContractPodAI

Founded in 2012 and based in London, ContractPodAI is the brainchild of Sarvarth Misra, a lawyer-turned-entrepreneur who sought to digitize legal tools and resources by leveraging off-the-shelf AI technologies. ContractPodAI pairs public cloud services from IBM, Microsoft, and others with a no-code interface designed to help teams tackle claims, request-for-proposal reviews, and intellectual property portfolio management using prebuilt and configurable apps.

“The company was founded by Robert Glennie and I, who are both corporate lawyers by background. We recognized the huge market opportunity from legal’s slower adoption of technology,” Misra said in a press release. “It was a question of ‘when,’ not ‘if.’ But, there was no existing technology truly fit for purpose, so they built ContractPodAI using legal design thinking which has today evolved to a no-code fully configurable platform for legal teams across their day to day work.”

Injecting contracts with AI

As the pandemic disrupted businesses around the world, investors bet the farm on legal solutions, which they predicted would become increasingly digitized. According to Crunchbase, legal tech companies have already seen more than $1 billion in venture capital investments so far in 2021, smashing the $510 million invested in 2020 and the all-time high of $989 million in 2019.

The contract management software market alone is expected to climb from $1.5 billion in worth in 2019 to $2.9 billion by 2024 as scaling legal research, case development, and strategy refinement becomes increasingly key. Despite evidence showing that only a small number of law firms use AI-based tools — in a recent survey, 7% of firms said that they’ve implemented AI-powered tools, with 45% citing accuracy and cost concerns — interest in the technology continues to grow.

“The pandemic in part accelerated the need for legal digital transformation. Last year, we released Advanced Cognitive Search which, [which] helps clients quickly identify force majeure pandemic-related clauses on sell-side and buy-side contracts,” Misra said. “We [also] released Contract Risk & Compliance, which starts to take away not just manual work for a legal team but actually helps them in more strategic work. We launched cognitive language translation, enabling global legal teams to work much more cohesively in their own native languages. And we introduced a Quick Deploy model, which helps get clients up and running with their foundational ContractPodAI functionality such as remote workflow and esignature.”

Two-hundred-employee ContractPodAI offers guided forms and templates to create legal applications with integrations with products from IBM, Microsoft, DocuSign, and Salesforce. Customers get a toolkit of AI functionality like document review, cognitive search, and analytics for each use case, as well as “tailored” AI data models tuned to the objective of modules.

“When customers upload a contract, the platform’s natural language processing scans the documents, and extracts important aspects like the autorenewal dates, termination dates, and so on,” Misra added. “Further, our Contract Risk & Compliance feature offers suggestions of how to mitigate the risk and track a customer’s progress toward a less risky, more compliant, agreement.”

In spite of competition from startups like Lexion, LinkSquares, Malbek, Evisort, and DocuSign, ContractPodAI has managed to attract current and past customers including Bosch Siemens, Braskem, EDF Energy, Total Petroleum, Benjamin Moore, and Freeview. In addition to its office in London, the startup has outposts in San Francisco, New York, Glasgow, Chicago, Sydney, Mumbai, and Toronto.

To date, ContractPodAI has raised over $170 million in venture capital.

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Author: Kyle Wiggers
Source: Venturebeat

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