Luminance’s CEO talks growth and international strategy

Luminance has in the past six months visibly notched up a serious number of client wins, most of which Legal IT Insider has reported on, and which span the Nordics, Australia, Spain and Italy. CEO Emily Foges tells us what’s behind them and what the strategy is going forward.
What has sparked the spate of international wins for Luminance?
This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot. We have a lot of inbound demand from all over the world. We always recognise that no due diligence data rom is ever in one language – you always find five or six languages. We did a pilot the other day with a firm that said ‘we don’t’ believe Luminance will work in Danish and they opened up the documents and it was all in Vietnamese. We also have a very scalable model – it’s not something we need to spend lots of time on the ground and go off and build something as legacy products do. This is up and running instantly and 150 transactions have gone through Luminance in the nine months since we launched. We go and see clients to see how they are using the technology and learn about them but we can go anywhere and have gone anywhere.
Where are you seeing most traction?
We’ve got lots of traction with clients in Chicago and we’ve started looking for our own space. In New York we have our own space but in Chicago we’ve been borrowing space and working on live transactions – we wanted to be there and understand the market first. The Nordic firms are early adopters and embrace technology and see it as a huge opportunity to work for the better. One of the Norwegian firms asked me to present at their partners meeting but I don’t see that so much from the London or US firms yet.
How do you think your tech differs from competitors?
Normally a big data room takes a lot of time to get up and running – our clients don’t have time to set up a system and tell it how to analyse the transaction for them. Now the technology is capable of analysing a data room without instruction. We talk to client with previous experience of clause extraction who get caught up on ‘when do I do the training’? We say just focus on being a lawyer.
What are your latest growth stats?
We’ve won around 20 new clients in the last six months. In terms of where the most wins have come from the UK stands out, closely followed by New York and then Australia and Singapore. We have a new office in Trafalgar Square, in London and for the last couple of months have hired two new people a week so in London we are now 20. In total, we have around 30-35 staff and the roles we’re building are in sales and marketing. Our developers are in Cambridge.
What is your strategy going forward?
We’ve always had a lot of interest from GCs and inhouse legal teams who are really struggling to understand what documentation they’ve got, so when a big regulatory issue comes along it can be very daunting. Amazon started with books and we’re starting with M&A but by the end of the year we will be launching regulatory capability, which is in a slightly different space because there are different levels of activity over different periods of time. Contract management might be the best way to describe it – what you’ve got and how you need to react. We’re also on cusp of launching a Spanish interface.
Emily Foges joined Luminance from Equifax, where she was latterly international product development director. She has previously held senior roles at BT and Betfair.