Startup Corner: SimplyAgree

In February we saw the announcement that signature and closing management tool SimplyAgree is now available through Reynen Court’s solution store, enabling law firms to deploy it as a pre-vetted app.

We ask co-founders Will Norton (CEO) and Sam Beutler for the low down on the Nashville-headquartered company.

How would you describe your company to a friend?

If our friend is a deal attorney, then SimplyAgree is a signature and closing management tool that automates the most time-consuming and tedious aspects of closings, like signature packets and closing binders.  But for everyone else, you can think of us as a turbo-charged eSignature tool, customised for the unique workflows of transactional attorneys.

And if you had to describe it to a techy?

SimplyAgree is built to be a lightweight, extensible platform that is responsive, easy to use and allows us to quickly innovate for our clients.  We use a Javascript client-side application to provide a reactive user experience and a Python backend to take advantage of a flexible REST API and advanced machine learning.  SimplyAgree integrates with common law firm technologies such as NetDocuments, iManage, OpenText, Sharepoint, HighQ and DocuSign.  We also use Kubernetes to containerise the application and support deployment in many different environments, including on premises.

When were you founded?

SimplyAgree was founded in late 2016 with the initial product release in the fall of 2017.

By who?

Not surprisingly, SimplyAgree’s co-founders were both former transactional attorneys who experienced the inefficiencies of deal closings firsthand.  Will Norton, SimplyAgree’s CEO, practiced in the venture capital and emerging company group at an Am Law 100 firm, while Sam Beutler, SimplyAgree’s chief product officer, was a corporate M&A attorney.

Who are your key managers/senior execs?

The SimplyAgree co-founders remain the key managers of the company but are fortunate to work with passionate and high-achieving engineering and customer support teams.

What is your growth strategy?

We believe there are significant opportunities to automate transactions – particularly for the most complex transactions.  While a good number of firms have adopted diligence automation tools, many are looking for the next opportunity to innovate.  We want to help transactional legal professionals embrace automation technology in other areas of their deals, starting with the expensive and manual processes around closings.

Have you received investment?

SimplyAgree raised two rounds of seed capital – in 2017 and 2019 – totalling over $1.5 million.

Who are your target clients?

SimplyAgree works with law firms that have sophisticated M&A, emerging company, venture capital, private equity, commercial finance or commercial real estate practices.  These include everything from Am Law 100 and Global 100 law firms to sophisticated boutique transactional practices.  If a firm does a lot of deals, SimplyAgree can help!

Have there been any key changes in direction since you were founded?

In its infancy, SimplyAgree wanted to be a full-service, front-to-back transactional platform.  However, we quickly learned two things from our customers: the biggest pain points in transactions were all around the closing, and law firms had major concerns about getting users to adopt new technology.  So early on we made the decision to focus on a flexible but easy-to-use tool for signing and closing transactions – and we haven’t looked back.

What are the key challenges you face in your market?

The market for software solutions in transactional law is challenging, because historically it’s been underserved.  While this creates incredible opportunities for improvements, it also means that it takes time to educate the market about how to incorporate these solutions into their practices and the ultimate RoI.  Fortunately, we love having those conversations with law firms!

What are the most exciting developments you’ve seen in your market in the past year to 18 months?

The most significant development for SimplyAgree and the market in the last year or so is the advent of containers for legal software.  Tools like Docker and Kubernetes make it possible to install cloud-based software in any environment – public cloud, private cloud or on premises.  This means law firms don’t have to choose between using the best available technology or sacrificing user experience to meet security requirements.  Companies like Reynen Court are accelerating this development by helping educate and support law firms on how they can use containerisation to streamline their procurement process.

Tell us something that people don’t already know about the company?

SimplyAgree’s cofounders grew up 10 minutes apart in the same town in Nebraska but did not meet until they connected in Nashville to create SimplyAgree!

You can meet the SimplyAgree team at events including P3 – The Practice Innovation Conference in Chicago in June 2020 and at ILTACON 2020 in Nashville.