eBilling startups in the headlines again as Mitratech acquires Viewabill

This week not one but two Legal IT Insider ‘Startup Corner’ eBilling providers have been in the headlines, with the news that Mitratech has acquired Viewabill just a day after Dentons’ investment arm NextLaw Labs announced that it has invested in Apperio.

Possibly more a reflection of clients’ increasing demand for real-time billing metrics than Legal IT Insider’s sway over the corporate legal IT market, Viewabill provides in-house clients with real-time insight into law firms’ activities and time entries through web and mobile app access, by integrating with law firm time and billing systems.

Viewabill also enables law firms to track staff efficiency in real-time, enabling better accountability throughout the firm, increased efficiency in the billing process, and stronger client relationships.

The signs were already good for the Ohio-founded company in February 2015, when Viewabill’s director of marketing, Daniel Steinberg told Legal IT Insider: “We’ve been working closely with about half of the Am Law 100 and their corporate clients.” Reed Smith, Pepper Hamilton and Perkins Coie are among the law firms using Viewabill with clients including LinkedIn, Kia Motors, MGM Resorts International and NetApp.

While there was initially some resistance to this level of innovation in billing, Steinberg said: “Over half of the Am Law 100 are starting to appreciate Viewabill’s ability to show value to their corporate clients, promote an air of trust, and to position themselves as being at the forefront of the future of the practice of law.”

Mitratech’s acquisition of Viewabill is the company’s third in less than a year, after it bought CaseTrack from Economic Analysis Group in August 2015 and Bridgeway Software in July 2015.

It follows the investment by NextLaw Labs in Apperio, a legal tech startup that first featured in Legal IT Insider at the end of 2014 and which streamlines matter management, tracks legal spend in real time and standardises the tender process.

“Market-leading legal departments are seeking more than just basic e-Billing solutions – they are looking for ways to enable inside and outside counsel to collaborate efficiently through multiple avenues,” said Jason Parkman, Mitratech CEO.

“Incorporating Viewabill into an industry-leading suite of collaboration tools that already includes invoicing, budget collaboration, timekeeper rate collaboration, and a structure for negotiations, will allow our corporate clients to gain insight into activities and issues long before an invoice arrives, fostering better collaboration and relationships with outside counsel and improving spend management. Additionally, it will provide our law firm clients a way to differentiate their services in a competitive market by delivering on the transparency and predictability sought by their clients.”

Mitratech is actively working to optimise the integration of Viewabill’s innovative technology into its existing portfolio of eBilling and legal spend management tools. This portfolio includes Collaborati, a market leading eBilling platform used by more than 11,000 firms – including 99 of the Global 100 and 100 percent of the Am Law 200 – for submitting invoices and updates to many of Mitratech’s 750 legal department clients.

Nick Quil, president of legal consulting firm HBR Consulting said: “Mitratech’s acquisition of Viewabill has potential to change the game for corporate law departments looking to better control legal spend.

“We know from our 30+-year law department survey that corporate legal departments want greater predictability and transparency. This acquisition is clearly targeting those market needs.”