Legal IT Insider speaks to BigHand’s CEO Sam Toulson, Iridium’s CEO and founder Tom Jones, BigHand’s managing director/VP for profitability products Rob Stote, and BigHand’s group marketing director Briana McCrory about what this major acquisition means.
UK-headquartered legal tech provider BigHand has acquired North American business intelligence (BI) competitor Iridium Technology in a move that will give both companies far greater transatlantic firepower when it comes to giving law firms insights into their day-to-day financial and operational management, we can reveal.
BigHand, which is private equity owned, provides workflow, dictation, BI, pricing and resource management solutions following a series of acquisitions over the past four years, including Mason & Cook in November 2020 and BI and pricing provider DW Reporting in April 2018.
Iridium, meanwhile, which since 2018 has been backed by Polaris Growth Fund, has been on its own acquisition trail, acquiring Smart Time Apps in January last year and Data Fusion Technologies in 2020.
The acquisition, which gives Polaris an exit after three and a half years, means the combined companies will now offer a complete range of BI, profitability financial management, time recording, matter pricing and analytics solutions.
BigHand’s managing director/VP for profitability products Rob Stote said that the acquisition means that BigHand can now take care of everything “from WIP-to-cash”, meaning from the moment of entering time to the collection of fees. “Vendors usually have gaps,” he said. “But we will have the complete package.”
Iridium opened a competitive bidding process last year and Jones, who describes BigHand as Iridium’s ‘forever home,’ told us: “We decided to go with BigHand because they are people we want to work with. A big driver was finding a good home for our people, our products, and our clients.”
BigHand’s CEO, Sam Toulson told Legal IT Insider: “In the last calendar year we got closer to Iridium and the businesses know each other well as respected competitors. Culturally we are very aligned, which made the conversation very straightforward.
“In our financial productivity space this transforms our offering and it made sense geographically: we are very strong in the UK and Europe and Iridium in North America, so it’s a great fit.
All of the Iridium staff have been taken on and Toulson says: “We’re very excited about the 100 people joining our group,” adding, “This is a big growth play for us.”
One query that the market and clients will undoubtedly have is around product overlap. BigHand says its product lines are extending to include the Iridium BI, Intellistat, Steere, and SmartTime product families.
Stote said: “Overarchingly a lot of our products are complementary. There is some overlap, but even there we have approached clients from different directions.”
He added: “There is no need to change anything in the products going forward and we want our clients to understand that they don’t have to go anywhere. All the people from Iridium are coming over so we have all that knowledge staying with us.”
Maintaining numerous different systems long term is expensive and the roadmap ultimately for all of the BigHand’s product is to the cloud. However, Jones said: “In the short term all the clients will be supported 100% and there will be no changes.” He adds: “What Iridium did with Data Fusion is really the play book here. In the medium term, we will look for integration to bring the products closer together. The longer-term plan is to streamline and determine where to invest and what our feature vision is. But in the short term, it’s business as usual.”
The objective is to leverage the huge amount of combined data and group marketing director Briana McCrory said: “Long term we will be able to surface intelligence from across the entire platform.”
The combined organization now has over 3600 clients worldwide and 350+ employees. You can read the press in full below.
BigHand Announces acquisition of Iridium Technology in move to be the leading analytics provider in legal
The combination of both organizations’ complementary product sets means law firms will now have a single platform for their financial and operational data.
Chicago, USA, February 1st 2022 – BigHand, a leading provider of operational and financial products for law firms, today announced it has acquired Iridium Technology.
BigHand and Iridium have been offering complementary products and in coming together, now offer powerful insight and data into law firms financial management, operational management, resource optimization and business development. “Law firms are under continuous pressure to improve their efficiency while also growing their profitability. Our goal has always been to offer our clients the best solutions and support, that work for them- so when it comes to M&A, we’ve been very selective. We want to join forces with organizations that align to our goals and the goals of our customers. There has to be an added value to our customers and that’s what makes this acquisition very exciting. The combined organization now gives our clients the opportunity to access a vast amount of data within their firms that will enable them to move from the practice of law to the business of law”, says Sam Toulson, Chief Executive Officer of BigHand.
Rob Stote, Managing Director of Profitability at BigHand continues “More specifically for our financial product set, BigHand and Iridium together now offer a complete range of BI, profitability financial management, time recording, matter pricing and analytics solutions to the legal industry. The two teams working together will ensure law firms get enhanced access to extensive domain expertise and feature-rich products.”
BigHand’s product lines are extending to include the Iridium BI, Intellistat, Steere, and SmartTime product families. This acquisition means BigHand can offer law firms leading legal business intelligence and financial applications.
“Martin and I have had a personal mission to find a “forever home”
The full Iridium team are joining the BigHand team effective today. The combined organization now has over 3600 clients worldwide and 350+ employees. “I’m so excited to welcome our newest BigHanders. Throughout the whole process, I’ve been really impressed with how both organizations have come together and identified so many opportunities for growth and improvement. Together, we will achieve big things” concludes Sam Toulson.
Financial details for this transaction were not disclosed.