“We think it’s rocket ship time”: Iridium acquires Smart Time Apps
Iridium Technology has acquired automated time entry provider Smart Time Apps, which becomes the fourth limb of Iridium’s business after business intelligence, budgeting (Intellistat), and paperless billing (Steere).
Iridium received significant investment from Polaris Growth Fund in 2018 and last year bought Data Fusion Technologies (DFTech), which accounts for the Intellistat and Steere products. That acquisition/merger saw Iridium grow to 70 employees and 250 law firm clients.
Iridium won 24 new law firm clients last year and founder and CEO Tom Jones told Legal IT Insider: “With Smart Time we have over 300 clients. They have a great product set and help to get your billable hours up.” Smart Time is made up of five people and has been bootstrapped until now. CEO Todd Gerstein told Legal IT Insider: “We have always been product driven and think we have the best product in the market but are at a point where the product needed to be amplified. The choice was to take private equity money or find a partner. Tom’s team has marketing, sales and support plus a development group, so we think it’s rocket ship time.”
Jones said: “Our focus has always been on helping firms improve process and profitability. Smart Time’s tools do both for firms both in the United States and in Europe.” Iridium has a presence in the UK, and the goal is to begin marketing Smart time Apps internationally.
The ambition will be to cross sell across Iridium’s product lines. Access to the raw timeslips will allow Iridium’s tools to report with more detail and on a more granular level, for example, with improved reporting/dashboarding on time entry practices.
While questions hang over the future of the billable hour, it remains the primary way of calculating fees. Gerstein said: “The billable hour has been dying for decades. The firm may go to an AFA but if you don’t track the time you’re running your business in the dark.”
Smart Time’s products include:
- Time Entry – Automatically generate time entries that conform to client billing guidelines, use consistently worded narratives, and include the time spent on tasks, client matter numbers, required codes – everything attorneys and accountants need to simply review and approve entries in seconds.
- Time Capture – Automatically tracks work-related activities and polls all firm systems for data to generate pre-populated time entries. Time Capture typically finds 8-10 hours of additional time per timekeeper each month.
- Mobile – Equips timekeepers to easily track and enter time anywhere, anytime through native timekeeping apps for IOS and Android devices.
- Timers – Allows timekeepers to track time as they work, negating the need for trailing time entry
- Billing Guidelines – Automates compliance with outside counsel guidelines to minimize the rejection and resubmission cycle that often delays and reduces payments
- Approver – Streamlines the timesheet approval workflow to allow more rapid review
Hennepin Partners acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Smart Time. As a private transaction, the terms of the deal will not be disclosed.