Startup Corner: ClauseMatch in Focus

In March, document and workflow collaboration platform ClauseMatch gained the full attention of the FinTech sector after Barclays signed up with the startup, which took part in Barclays’ accelerator programme. Focussed on overhauling the contract negotiating process, it should also be on your radar. Here, ClauseMatch, which is in Legal IT Insider’s brand new startup directory out this week (note: Thursday 27 April), tells us more about how the platform works and who is behind it.
How would you describe your company to a friend?
For decades, the whole process of negotiating contract agreements was terribly inefficient. It was fragmented, lacking in transparency and full of hidden risks. We have created ClauseMatch to solve this problem. Now it’s possible to use a collaborative, flexible and innovative tool for working with documents without the need for Microsoft Word, PDF or emails. It works as a cloud-based, real-time, multi-tenant editor capable of setting granular permissions to each paragraph of the document.
When large and globally distributed teams are working on the same document, the process of completion can be easily stifled. Risks arise through human errors and data extraction from the documents are hindered. ClauseMatch is a ground-breaking and disruptive tech product which reduces risks through its real-time and full audit trail, providing a valuable source of information on authorship changes, particularly for firms with lots of users, such as banks. ClauseMatch is a next-generation, fun-to-use platform which gives a completely different experience when working with documents.
And if you had to describe it to a techy?
ClauseMatch is a real-time, browser-based editor with an embedded workflow functionality for granular approvals, comments and user-permissions. All the key document data is captured at the point of creation and works via an API to other internal systems, so it can be integrated with third-party solutions. This allows users to further develop the product to their liking, with no bounds.
More and more applications today use the cloud and ClauseMatch is no different. The use of the cloud brings so many advantages. Namely, users can get access from any device, which enables greater working flexibility that wouldn’t have been possible in standalone environments.
When were you founded?
ClauseMatch was founded in 2014 in London.
By who?
ClauseMatch was developed by Evgeny Likhoded and Andrey Dokuchaev, the two founders passionate about making agreements negotiations more effective. Evgeny has had extensive experience in working within the legal teams of global banks. We started ClauseMatch out of the frustration that we experienced in large financial institutions when working on complex documentations with many stakeholders. Having spent almost a decade negotiating agreements, we wanted to find a new solution that could fix this broken and fragmented process, which seemed completely inefficient: sending multiple versions of documents to each other, storing comments and approvals in emails. It all led to a lack of transparency, a non-existent audit trail and inaccessible content in documents. Management had no overview of issues and bottlenecks, and regulators wanted to see deviations and approvals of non-standard terms, which had to be recorded manually.
Who are your key managers/senior execs?
Evgeny Likhoded (pictured), ClauseMatch CEO and Founder.
Andrey Dokuchaev, ClauseMatch COO and Founder.
Carl-Henrik Thorsen, Head of Sales at ClauseMatch.
What is your growth strategy?
Over the next 12 months, we will be aiming to grow based on a market and product development strategy. We want to extend our current platform capabilities and help build a more complete RegTech ecosystem, possibly in partnership with other technologies. Secondly, we will be looking at maximising the current usability of the platform to extend the user base in existing markets. A third element will encompass packaging the platform for other sectors such as the legal market.
Our strategy will involve direct sales to top-tier banks and law firms, building partnerships with large consultancies and natural virality from bilateral negotiation between multiple counter-parties.
Have you received investment?
ClauseMatch has received several rounds of seed investment since 2014.
So far we have raised so far £1.25 million in seed funding since 2015.
Who are your target clients?
ClauseMatch was initially designed to meet the needs of large enterprises with an extensive document workflow and complex business logic. It is in demand primarily by banks and financial institutions that face policy management and compliance challenges, but also by law firms, insurance companies, municipalities, or by any enterprise where there is a need for an innovative solution to rid document workflow processes of outdated practices.
In the age of innovation, collaboration with documents has remained unchanged. There is a deep-rooted culture in firms to heavily rely on Microsoft Word, PDF and emails, which are hugely cumbersome, particularly for compliance an legal professionals.
ClauseMatch addresses the specific needs of financial institutions by providing a single tool which increases the visibility of workflow processes whilst reducing risks.
What are the key challenges you face in your market?
FinTech startups are known for building slick and cutting-edge technological solutions. However this isn’t without its challenges. It’s difficult for firms to adapt to new innovations by moving away from traditional working norms. Ancient working practices and tools don’t seem to be working for the ever-increasing costs, risks and regulations. Financial institutions are in dire need of ridding inefficient practices by adopting new technologies which could help them save costs in the long-run.
After the global financial crisis in 2008, European states were fundamentally challenged. However, it gave rise to the development of financial technologies, which became known as RegTech. London has seen a huge burst of creative solutions and has advanced as the global hub of FinTech since the crisis.
Given the current political and economical challenges in the UK, particularly after the uncertainties surrounding the impacts of Brexit, some consider it a “game changer”, as it may encourage firms to embrace market-disruptor innovations.
What are the most exciting developments you’ve seen in your market in the past year to 18 months?
Banks are becoming more open to collaboration with smaller technology companies. Gradually financial institutions are starting to accept the disruptive nature of FinTech. 82% of incumbents expect to increase FinTech partnerships in the next three to five years, according to the latest PwC fintech summary.  What’s more. 56% of them have put disruption at the heart of their strategy.  Over 60000 people are now employed in the FinTech sector only in the UK. This opens up bright perspectives for innovative FinTech companies developing groundbreaking genius products in the market.
Tell us something that people don’t already know about the company?
ClauseMatch is a multinational FinTech company. Our friendly team is represented by over 6 nationalities united by one passion to transform the routine work with documents making it transparent and lovable. Every member of our team has diverse professional experience, speaks several languages, and is actively involved in hobbies from skiing to chess.