contracts

LP Contract Landscape 2
Breach: New Players in Contract Management
Breach: New Players in Contract Management 1024 576 Raymond Blijd
Read time: 3 min.

Update 2: April 19, 2019

Traditionally, managing contracts was a byproduct for lawyers. The real money was in drafting new or reviewing existing ones. Not anymore and here’s why.

Gates

Our society is glued together by agreements. Contracts are the engine of our economy. At the top we have treaties and at the lowest level, we use courtesy. In between these levels, we have thick layers of agreements drafted by legal professionals. Ranging from the simple employment contracts to the endless user agreements we all click thru. The more money is at stake, the more intricate the contracts become and the harder they are to manage.

Understanding contracts and their financial impact are vital to any successful enterprise. Most company revenues depend on having signed contracts with their customers. Likewise, the value of a company is measured by the signed agreements with the correct stakeholders. Therefore, two essential economic elements are the text in the agreement and the signature of the parties.

Barbarians

While the text part sat comfortably in the realm of the lawyers, the signature section provided an opening for everyone to storm the gates. We previously discussed the DocuSign IPO and Dropbox acquisition of Hellosign in the larger context of LegalTech.

Update 1: Docusign invested $15 million in Seal Software

Better yet, even Apple demoed their eSign solution on stage back in July 2017.

However, there are more pathways into this universe of contracts and these are provided by the text sections. More precisely: the facts and figures parts of a contract like names, dates, and amounts can be fed to a machine. New entrants armed with machine learning skillset are now able to fire at this fortress for lawyers called contract.

Breach

These new players in the contract management space can also draw on great entrepreneurial skills. They position themselves more attractively as a Google for your enterprise and appeal to a broader market. This enables them to raise a war chest of capital.

Managing your contract has now become this juicy add-on for any text or data analytics company in the world. Any data point which can harm your enterprise is a risk to be analyzed with SmartTech. So after millennia of dominating contracts, attorneys may have to capitulate to machines on reviewing and managing them.

Arena

Now once we took this lens and calibrated it to find contract management solutions, we discovered these dormant LegalTech companies. We started looking at these creatures in May 2018 and revealed the first draft landscape in December. Like Jane.ai, their ammunition is hidden in mission statements, product descriptions, use cases or customer testimonials.

If we round them up and calculate their collective investment capital, you see the numbers in the image below. We mentioned the battle-harden gladiators from the Sales (Quote to Cash) and Customer Relations Management (CRM) arena in the Exits analysis.

LP Contract Landscape 2

Unchained

Now every Cloud Storage, Document Management or Machine Learning solution looking for a problem will have a peek at contracts. It will get tougher to explain to an engineer that a contract is not a math problem. Especially when lawyers created endless fields of text for a machine to mine.

Update 2: Google came to party

In the end, this should not be collision but a collaboration between industries. For the sake of a safe society, having more clarity in contracts would be beneficial to everyone.

Especially when you realize that this legacy mechanism of a contract in text is in a race against a smarter competitor on Blockchain.

Why We Hunt For Harmony in LegalTech
Why We Hunt For Harmony in LegalTech 1024 576 Raymond Blijd

Read time: 2 min.
After hunting 214 apps on Producthunt and gathering them in the Epic Collection, here are some new theories on what a legal app really is. Or should be.

Two years ago I had 3 insights:

  1. The top voted legal apps are least likely to come from legal professionals;
  2. Practical is popular with hunters;
  3. Blockchain is an epic technology;

About 143 apps later, I’ve noticed some other trends.

Contracts & Taxes

One of the 27 tax apps I saw was literally called Death & Taxes. Ironically, it has since died. Nonetheless, the most hunted apps help you run your startup and deal with..contracts. Since most apps help you generate contracts, I was a little disappointed in the number of apps that actually help you understand them. Nevertheless, I was charmed by the simple beauty of some generators like this homegrown one: Docontract.com

Privacy & Harmony

With just 30 apps totaling over 11,000 votes, Privacy and Civictech seem to be dear to our hearts. To illustrate this strange struggle: Arrest SOS can be classified as a Marketplace but it feels more like CivicTech. Because our reality of increased risk, surveillance, and scrutiny, shouldn’t diminish our right to a fair treatment by those in power.

In another spectrum, I discovered examples where privacy was exposed by choice to ensure safety. Apps like CitizenWatcher or Companion literally help you navigate your city like a Redzone or be a Vigilante.

Patterns & Warnings

If you visit the Epic collection you’ll see the top 3 mirror the pattern described above: first is a curated source for founders, and the third is a payment app called Privacy.com. However, it is the second on the list that had my attention. A message for the Legal Industry: #FinTech is here.

Btw, if you are a little confused by the methodology of tagging legal startups e.g. isn’t Patents part of Intellectual Property? Or when is FinTech a legal app? It’s tough and you can read here some of the challenges of classifying legal. Ultimately, tagging legal apps according to legal principles may not make any sense in the real world. Besides our lives are already complex, we don’t need legal to make it worse.

So the rationale is to capture the apps that seek to reduce complexity and restore harmony in society. I believe that is what the legal industry was trained and hired to do.

Join the Hunt