Palo Alto-founded startup Traact today (8 November) officially launches a digitally native cloud platform that is billed as a modular, non-siloed solution for a vast range of operations including entity management, permits and licensing, board management, matter management, disputes & litigation, finance & taxes, contract management, and document management.
Co-founded two years ago by former Google software engineers Steven Choi and Afif Ahmed, Traact, which is SOC II type 2 compliant, VC-backed and now has 30 employees, has been working with clients in stealth mode over the past year. It counts corporates such as Texas-headquartered oil and gas services provider Timec among its early customer base.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Traact’s COO Robert Holdheim said: “Our differentiator is that you can have all of these functions run off the same data pool. A lot of them have the same or similar processes involved. And that’s actually one of the things we noticed in pulling all of these functions together and building them around a technology product and platform, is that they actually have more in common, or a lot in common – more than they don’t have in common.”
While Traact’s initial focus was the corporate legal space, Holdheim says: “We’re already in discussions with several larger law firms, not only about using the platform within the law firm, but as a tool for their client base.”
According to Choi, this is entirely proprietary technology, but he says: “It integrates with pretty much any platform that you could think of. So we have an open API that’s going outbound. As long as whatever tooling they’re currently using is able to receive the information, the integration is fairly seamless.”
Corporates and law firms alike will be wary of a Silicon Valley-originated platform that claim to be able to transform the sector, but Choi says that most engineers who target the sector don’t understand the legal space, or the processes involved. “I just happened to get into this realm from my last organisation, because we dealt with a lot of legal matters,” he says.
He adds that the legal and accounting sectors are among the last to be disrupted, with both in-house teams and law firms now trying to drive efficiencies, cut costs, and stay competitive.
“These pieces are now just starting to align, which is the reason why we think this is an opportunity. There’s a pretty substantial differentiation between how we’re approaching the market versus how traditional legal tech companies are doing it.
“If you look at every in-house workflow, every single in-house team tends to work with various different point solutions. Their entity management solutions tends to be separate. Contract lifecycle management is a massive market that’s completely separate. And when you add these building blocks together, what happens is, okay, great, you’re becoming much more efficient, but at the same time the data tends to be spread across different segments. You’re spending the exact same amount of time cleansing the data across different platform solutions and that just adds that administrative task. So our differentiator is we’re bringing this all into a single platform and we want to be the Microsoft office or Google workspace for every enterprise.”
Choi and Holdheim hope that corporates and law firms will grow their adoption of Traact incrementally as they start using it, and Holdheim says: “Everybody has one unique interest that they’re looking for or one problem area that they’re looking to solve. So for example I want entity management but I also really need board management, because what I’m using for board management is a pain. Or I really want contract management, and so on. And so that’s the way it generally happens. They come on board with entity plus one and then they say, ‘Well, let me take a look at this now’, and we give them an environment to play with. Not only do we sell in a modular fashion, we don’t sell by seat; it’s a flat subscription fee.”
Holdheim revisits the point that what differentiates Choi and the engineering team is that they really have made an effort to understand the legal market. “He very strongly believes in going in and getting your hands dirty and learning what the issue is, as opposed to sitting in a room with a bunch of other smart engineers and thinking they know what the issue is.”
Choi adds: “I do understand legal is a very tough cookie to crack. I mandate every single one of our staff members to go do it, see what the legal people’s pain points are. And if I look at myself over the past two years since the inception of this company, I think we learned more from our existing customers and potential customers than we would’ve ever done. So, when we were building out the entity management solution, what I told our engineering team is that, before coding a single line of code, let’s all go and do the filings ourselves and really understand what these people are doing. So for our first customer, we went to their office and literally did filings for a whole week just to understand what a paralegal’s lifecycle is.”
The first referenceable customer, Timec’s GC Raymond Cho, said: “Traact has streamlined our functions, replacing multiple service providers. We’ve seen significant efficiency and cost benefits. Their team is incredibly responsive and always goes above and beyond to help whenever we need it. The level of service is world class!”
It is going to be fascinating to track Traact’s progress from here.
Visit Traact.com for more information.