NetDocuments has hired former investment banking head Hugo Doetsch as its chief financial officer in a hire that appears likely to precede further acquisitions, as the document management and collaboration vendor eyes strategic growth and a focus on end-user productivity.
Doetsch, who replaces Pete Childs following his retirement, joins from Ping Identity, which helps enterprises achieve Zero Trust identity defined security. Before that he was at Citi in the role of global head of services and investment banking. He has also held the role of vice president of Citadel Investment Group.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, CEO Josh Baxter said: “Pete decided to retire and I started to think about what the things are that NetDocuments needs for the next stage of our journey. The business has grown 250% since I showed up and we’ve invested in engineering and go-to-market and customer success resources. I felt that this was an opportunity to bring in somebody with Hugo’s background. He has experience of preparing companies for IPO. There is so much that goes into being a fast growth native cloud software business and you need the same maturity as a business going public. It felt like a leader like Hugo can bring real pedigree and I’m pumped about how well he’s fitting in.”
Doetsch was recruited by Vista Equity to join Ping to facilitate an exit. He told Legal IT Insider: “We could have sold it or taken it public but we took it public in 2019 and it was the sixth-best performing software vendor of 2019, so a great outcome. I really enjoyed taking a company to that next level of operational maturity and I saw that same opportunity at NetDocuments. It’s an industry that largely has a duopoly and NetDocuments has a world-class multi-tenant SaaS platform, which is extremely attractive. There’s a lot we can do.”
Doetsch said that COVID-19 is expected to be a catalyst for firms to invest in cloud technology and commented: “We will continue to lean in and to invest to drive growth.”
While the legal market is fragmented and law firms typically use a matrix of point solutions, Baxter said: “A key focus area for us in the coming months and years will be M&A. We’re going to be a safe home for some of these small legal tech vendors with great solutions. You’re going to see a focus on acquiring technology to drive end-user productivity. For the longest time we were the best at helping legal professionals to store and organize their content and the market has shifted to be about end-user productivity.”
NetDocuments acquired Chapman & Cutler’s Closing Room solution in 2018 (now SetBuilder); ThreadKM in 2017, and Decisiv Email in 2015.
The Utah-headquartered company is private equity-owned – it was acquired in 2017 by Clearlake Capital, who divested a minority stake to Cove Hill last year. It is unlikely that either will be looking for an exit yet and Baxter said: “Our private equity group is extremely strong and we’re lucky to have two firms supporting us.” He added: “Cove Hill has longer cycles – they have a long dated fund and go beyond 10 years. They are excited about this investment.”
In the BigLaw market, the most recent document management system wins such as Baker McKenzie and Clifford Chance have gone to iManage but NetDocuments has had some very big corporate wins, including Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs.
Doetsch’s hire follows that of chief marketing officer Ken Robinson and vice president, strategic partner management, Reza Parsia.