Exclusive: Polaris makes significant strategic investment in Iridium Technology

Iridium Technology has today (20 August) signed a significant funding deal with Boston-based investment fund Polaris Growth Fund, an affiliate fund of Polaris Partners, as Iridium’s founders look to scale the fast-growing legal BI business to the next level.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, co-founder Tom Jones (pictured), who together with partner Martin Vizner has grown Iridium out of the company’s cash flow to date, said: “I started Iridium eight years ago and we now have 36 employees and 76 clients. Martin and I have built the business from scratch and we’ve scaled to every challenge, but to take the business from 76 to 200 clients was an entirely new sort of challenge and we needed help.”
Iridium went to market with the help of Cleveland-based M&A partner Western Reserve Partners, and Jones said: “Polaris was the best not only in terms of money but who we wanted to partner with.
“We received two kinds of offers: those that wanted to invest a percentage and we continue to run the company, and those that wanted to buy the company outright. Martin and I love to work and we want to keep building our empire and growing our clients and we strongly favoured Polaris because they are the good guys and the companies in their portfolio raved about them.”
Dan Lombard, a partner at Polaris Partners, who will be joining Iridium’s board along with Sabrina Chiasson, a vice president at Polaris.
The Iridium management team will meet this week to put together a formal strategy but the priorities are these:
– Building new product and accelerating the growth of existing modules
– Building out infrastructure including support
– Hiring across the board – bolstering sales, development and marketing (with a first full time marketing head)
Jones added: “One of the main messages from the last year and a half is that we’re solving BI problems for client but they are asking if we can help with adjacent problems and we’ll be looking to expand out from BI.”
Iridium’s revenue has been growing at around 50% year on year. Around 70% of its clients are based in North America with a strong presence in Canada; 15% in EMEA; and 15% in the UK and APAC, with growth taking place across the board.
BI is an area of huge focus for law firms as they work out how to drive profitability in the face of squeezed margins. While BI in the cloud is of interest to many, law firms remain nervous about putting their financial data in the cloud and of Iridium’s 76 clients, only one is in the cloud.