artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence company Neota Logic today rolled out version 9.2 of its AI automation platform, introducing Dashboards, a data-management and visualization tool that customers can configure to create custom views and charts of data collections and usage, and Open Negotiation, an authoring tool for building contract negotiation into document automation workflows within Neota.

[See video of Dashboards and Open Negotiation.]

But perhaps the bigger news is the company’s aggressive plan to expand its scale, in part by expanding its customer base — which to date has been primarily law firms — within corporations and corporate legal departments and by extending into additional verticals.

Kim Massana

This is the plan laid out by Kim Massana, who joined Neota Logic as president and chief executive officer, Americas, in October, and with whom I spoke yesterday by telephone, along with Rebecca Tear, who joined the company in October as global marketing manager.

Massana came to Neota Logic from Thomson Reuters, where he had been global head of customer experience, not just for legal, but across the organization. Earlier, he had been CEO of Innovative Interfaces, a developer of ERP software for academic and public libraries, and, for nearly a decade before that, he had been at Thomson Reuters in various executive roles, most recently as president of the company’s Elite business.

He was attracted to join Neota Logic because of its strong reputation in the industry and its potential for growth, he told me yesterday. Although still a small company, it is well known and well respected, he said, and it has “an amazing client list.”

“We have been very much a knowledge-driven company,” Massana said. “Now we are going to put a more commercial emphasis on that so that we can scale the company.”

Neota Logic has done well in selling to large law firms in the AmLaw 100 and Magic Circle, but Massana believes the company’s bigger opportunity is in the corporate world. Not only is it a bigger market overall with bigger budgets, but corporations’ term of investment in a platform such as Neota is longer, he said.

Expanding into the corporate market means also expanding into different verticals, Massana said. While the product has already established a strong base in banking and insurance, he said, he sees opportunities in sectors such as pharmaceuticals and healthcare. “We can tailor our solution to different industries and different verticals.”

All of this means that Neota Logic will be significantly expanding its marketing. “We’ve been good at attracting some major clients, but historically it’s been done more by word of mouth and by leveraging our great assets such as [co-founder] Michael Mills,” Massana said. “But our platform is now ready to go to a bigger scale.”

That expanded marketing will include a new website, a more prominent presence at major legal and technology conferences, and potential joint marketing programs with law firms and technology providers.

In addition, the company has created a customer advisory board and is in the process of creating a user group modeled on the Elite experience, which has a robust user community and annual user conference. Neota had its first user conference in December.

“Part of the problem we have is the platform is very powerful and can do lots of things,” Massana said. “That’s great, but that’s also a problem for marketing. We need to get our marketing more targeted.”

Massana said he is adjusting to New York weather after moving from Los Angeles, but added that he is energized by the Neota environment and the talented people who work there, including many lawyers and computer scientists. “This is the only place where I’ve worked where I feel like I’m the dumbest person by far.”

 

The UK company Luminance, an artificial intelligence platform for contract review, today announced that it has completed a Series B funding round of $10 million, at a valuation of $100 million.

The funding was raised from existing investors Invoke Capital, Talis Capital and Slaughter and May. The funds will be used to support product expansion and global growth, the company says. The company closed a $10 million Series A funding in November 2017.

Launched in 2016, Luminance offers a document review platform for due diligence, compliance review, property lease abstraction and e-discovery early case assessment. Its technology is based on machine learning and pattern recognition techniques developed at the University of Cambridge to read and understand legal language.

The company says its platform is used by more than 130 law firms and in-house teams in more than 40 countries, including 14 of the global top 100 firms and three of the big four accounting firms. The company has offices in London, Cambridge, Chicago and Singapore, and recently opened a fifth office in New York.

In a statement announcing the financing, Emily Foges, Luminance CEO, said that 2018 was a year of significant achievement for Luminance. “We have expanded from one product to four, owing to the flexibility and innovative nature of our core technology. This has enabled a remarkable rate of global customer acquisition over the last 12 months and these funds will valuably support this continued expansion.”

Just the Beginning

During the recent Legalweek in New York, I met with Foges, who told me that she expects 2019 to be a year of significant growth for AI, as law firms no longer view it as experimental.

CEO Emily Foges

“Two thousand nineteen will be the year that most law firms move out of their experimental stage,” Foges told me. “What we’re seeing now is firms saying, ‘Now we get it.'”

During our meeting, Foges recounted the platform’s progression from a due diligence platform into compliance review, property lease abstraction and e-discovery.

But her longer-term vision is for Luminance to become “the AI platform for the legal profession,” she said. She wants to extend the life cycle of how legal professionals use the platform, so that as they move from one task to another, they are able to continue working within Luminance.

“I think we’re really just scratching the surface,” Foges said. “Our customers are now doing a lot of their work in a fraction of the time it once took, and doing work that they wouldn’t have pitched for before.”

“This is just the beginning,” Foges said. “It will get even more interesting.”

Axiom, an alternative provider of legal services to large corporations, has seen steady growth since its launch 17 years ago, to where it now has 1,500 lawyers serving half the Fortune 100. Known for innovation in its delivery model, it describes itself as a provider of “tech-enabled” legal services.

Now, Axiom is bringing artificial intelligence into the mix. This week, it announced the launch of AxiomAI, a program through which Axiom will leverage AI to improve the efficiency and quality of its contract work. As part of the launch, it is deploying Kira Systems’ machine-learning contract analysis technology into its M&A diligence and integration offering. The launch also encompasses a broader program of ongoing research and testing of AI to determine how else it can effectively be applied to the delivery of legal services.

On Friday, I spoke with Paul Carr, the senior executive overseeing Axiom’s AI efforts, about the launch of AxiomAI and the company’s plans for incorporating AI into its mix of services and technology.

I report on our conversation for my column this week at Above the Law: Legal Services Innovator Axiom Unveils its First AI Offering.