Private equity dominates as Onit acquires SimpleLegal

Private equity driven deals continue to dominate the legal sector news as, following a $200m strategic investment by K1 Investment Management in January, Onit yesterday (13 May) announced that it has acquired SimpleLegal, a 2013-founded SaaS provider of legal spend, matter and vendor management tools, to bolster its end-to-end business process automation platform.
While there appear to be clear overlaps between Onit and SimpleLegal, according to a statement from Onit, all product, support and services will continue uninterrupted for all customers. Management teams from both organizations will remain intact. Eric Elfman, who was previously CEO of Onit, will serve as the CEO of the merged organization, and Nathan Wenzel, previously the CEO and co-founder of SimpleLegal, will serve as the general manager of SimpleLegal, which helps corporate legal departments to process more than $1 billion annually and manages nearly 500,000 legal matters globally.
Onit, whose previous financial backers included Level Equity Management and Austin Ventures, has a platform that supports a wide range of corporate counsel needs including enterprise legal management; legal spend management; e-billing; contract management; onboarding; and budgeting. Its customers include Fortune 50 global food processing corporation Archer Daniels Midland, where former global director of operations, David Cambria, helped to shape the product. Cambria is now at Baker McKenzie, which as we exclusively revealed in the March 2019 Orange Rag this year, is to be one of the first ever private practice law firms to use Onit to streamline its workflows.
With the investment from K1, Onit has been looking at different ways to scale up, after the company more than tripled its customer base and revenue in two years. Neil Malik, managing partner at K1, said at the time of K1’s investment: “Onit’s platform has raised the bar on what users expect from software that extends across the enterprise. We’ve seen the company more than triple its customer base and revenue in two years and we have tremendous confidence in the management team’s long-term vision. It’s exciting to partner with a team that pioneered the enterprise legal management software space nearly 20 years ago and to now see how their innovative solutions are transforming the way Fortune 500 companies and legal departments operate.”
Los Angeles-based K1 has partnered with over 100 enterprise software companies including Apttus, Buildium, Certify, Checkmarx, ChiroTouch, Chrome River, Clarizen, Granicus, IronScales, Jobvite, Onit, Rave, RFPIO, Smarsh and WorkForce Software.
As we first revealed on 7 May, K1 has just sold Litera Microsystems to Hg.