The merger this week of two major technology companies has resulted in what is now the single-largest provider of business intelligence technology to law firms, the companies’ principals say.
Iridium Technology and Data Fusion Technologies (DFTech), both of which provide business intelligence (BI) technology to many of the largest law firms in the United States, announced their merger Tuesday.
Whether measured by clients, revenue, employees or product footprint, the new company is now the largest provider of BI technology to law firms, its principals say.
The company declined to disclose terms of the deal. Both companies had been profitable and stable, it said. Iridium is backed by a 2018 private-equity investment from Polaris Growth Fund, an affiliate fund of the Boston-based private investment firm Polaris Partners.
Tom Jones, Iridium chief executive officer, will remain in that position. Jeffrey Suhr, DFTech’s CEO, is now senior vice president overseeing the Intellistat/Steere products. Steere will serve as an independent executive consultant.
Best of Both Worlds
“For our Iridium and DFTech clients, you now get the best of both worlds,” Jones told me during a telephone interview yesterday with him and Suhr. “You get the same team and the same products. But now we have more options to extend the product footprint through a larger and more stable organization with a bigger research and development budget.”
Suhr agreed, adding that the larger R&D budget of the combined companies will facilitate Iridium’s ability to add new functionality to existing products and new products to the line-up.
“But the best features you can build are the features the clients want,” Suhr said. “More importantly, we can now go to our 250-plus clients and let them have a bigger say in the product direction.”
In fact, the company is already planning to hold a user conference in the third quarter of this year.
Both companies’ customers were primarily mid- and large-sized firms. Iridium had 100 customers and DFTech had 250, with roughly 30% overlap.
Combining Iridium’s products with DFTech’s Intellistat and Steere product lines, the company now has a portfolio of 17 products focused on BI, profitability and financial management for law firms. Their products are compatible with the Thomson Reuters Elite, Aderant Expert, and SurePoint (formerly Rippe & Kingston) practice management systems.
For the “short term and medium term,” no changes will be made to any of the products, Jones said. Over the longer term, however, he expects some of the products will be merged or modified.
Both companies operated almost entirely virtually, without physical offices except for a small DFTech office in California. All 65 managers and employees of both companies will remain with the merged company, and all customers will continue to work with their current contacts.
Jones said the size of the merged companies is important to customers because it demonstrates the company’s long-term stability, its ability to devote resources to R&D, and its ability “to make things happen.”
“When you’re signing up for a BI solution, you need to figure you’ll have it for 7-10 years,” Jones said. “Clients want to know our long-term plan. They want to be able to say, ‘Let’s go with the people who have the brightest future.'”