New ‘operators for operators’ fund Bryce Catalyst has announced its first deal since launching in October 2020, investing a $1.75m seed round in legal transaction management hub dealcloser, we can reveal.
Founded in 2017, dealcloser brings online and automates the deal closing process, which, as any transactional lawyer will attest, is a very manual, laborious and error-prone process.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, dealcloser co-founder and CEO Amir Reshef, who is based in Canada and qualified as an associate at Dentons in 2015, said: “Working on my very first deal, I was surprised that people were doing things in a manual way. There were lots of bits of paper and different versions, and the only way to make sure there were no mistakes was to check them over and over again.”
He adds: “I’ve always been interested in technology and love reading about it. I’m always looking for ways to do things better and it makes sense to use a tool if there is one.”
Reshef also took the view that as a junior lawyer, there must be far more valuable ways to spend your time.
Cue the launch of dealcloser, which was achieved with the help of CTO for hire Mike O’Connor, who very quickly came on board as co-founder and CTO. Chief product officer Darren Yuhar, who also started out as a contractor in the early days, is now one of the full-time leadership team. Shane Gordon, COO, who completes the leadership line-up, is ex BDO and KPMG.
Dealcloser integrates with Clio, and earlier this year announced that Clio’s CEO and co-founder Jack Newton has joined its advisory board. It already integrates with Microsoft Word Online and is in the process of integrating with the major DMS providers.
From Bryce Catalyst’s point of view, the reason they are investing in dealcloser comes down almost as much to the team as the product. Co-founder and president Cary Burch told Legal IT Insider: “When we met the dealcloser team we really liked them: they are young, humble and hungry and looking for a perfect fit. We focus on mentoring and building teams and we liked dealcloser because we can have an impact. We talked to lawyers at the coal face on the desktop and they are frustrated.”
He adds: “So many systems are too complex, but dealcloser focuses on very narrow pinpoints. We used the platform from day one – we are using it for the other companies we’re working with. You don’t want a complex platform and simplicity is our best friend, which is why we chose them.”
Online transaction management is a rapidly evolving area and dealcloser will be competing with the likes of Litera Transact, iManage Closing Folders, and NetDocuments Closing Room. Deal management platform thedocyard floated on the Australian stock exchange in 2019.
However, Reshef says: “This space is getting a lot of attention but whereas there are hundreds of different practice management systems, there are only four or five transaction management platforms.
“Our biggest competition is the status quo.”
Arguably, after the huge shift among law firms last year to Microsoft Teams, that is the biggest competition, if law firms work out its collaboration functionality.
However Reshef says: “dealcloser is purpose built for legal document exchange with built in version control.”
Customers can choose where their data is stored and he adds: “Data residency is critical. We offer an on premises solution too.”
This new investment will help dealcloser to increase its business development, sales and marketing.
The $1.75m will not be drawn down all at once, but has KPIs built in for both dealcloser and Bryce Catalyst, and Burch says: “Accountability is a good thing – everyone is accountable.”
Bryce Catalyst, which is managed by Bryce Partners, was co-founded by Erik Baklid and focuses on fast-growth companies in cyber security, legal technology and regulation technology.
In addition to the financial investment in dealcloser, Burch and Baklid are also joining dealcloser’s board of directors.