XRef founders unveil app to instantly visualise transactions: is a new platform player in town?
The founders of legal proofreading company XRef have launched a new tool that will enable lawyers to instantly turn pictures into digital diagrams, enabling them to map out and build digital visualisations of how deals or even cases are going to work.
Travis Leon and Stephen Scanlan founded XRef in 2012 and sold it to K1 Investment Management in 2016, as part of a private equity driven merger with Microsystems and later Litera. The pair have now turned their hands to Jigsaw, which leverages computer vision to help lawyers and clients digitise the likes of corporate structure plans, organisational charts, and data flows.
At the beginning of a corporate deal, senior lawyers (often partners) create a visualisation of the corporate structure, which is often done in PowerPoint and can be extremely time consuming to build. Pictures are sent back and forth to the client with annotations, making for a convoluted and error-prone process. Here is a very simple example but you can imagine what happens when it gets more complex.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Leon said: “In a big corporate transaction such as when one corporate is buying another, you can’t hold all the information in your mind and usually the senior partner and maybe the client and bankers get in a conference room and put a blue print on the white board. It will involve how ‘Company A’ is going to buy ‘Company B’ – and it’s all in siloes that you need to make sure are joined up.
“Without a tool, it’s like a jigsaw done by circulating PowerPoint and it’s incredibly complicated. Changes creep in and you need to continuously update the PowerPoint, creating quality issues.”
Jigsaw takes a photo of any hand drawn image and converts it into an on-screen structure, either in Jigsaw or PowerPoint. You can build the structure out by tapping on the entities to add new divisions, built out with new lines and different shapes, such as triangles and circles.
Corporate deals are significantly down post COVID and there is less likelihood of people cramming into an office around a whiteboard. However, the process is still happening over Zoom and Leon says: “We’ve been speaking to a regulator and are discovering new use cases all the time.”
Demonstrating the app to Legal IT Insider, Scanlan showed a typical map of the likes of investor; security trustee; debenture holder; and shareholders and said: “Often the lines drawn don’t connect or make any sense and this is the first document the client receives to work out what’s going to happen. The lawyer normally creates it in a hurry and it takes ages to create. Jigsaw turns the picture into an onscreen diagram instantly and when you want to build you just hover over an existing shape and it allows you to build in any direction.”
If you click on the entities it brings up data on the right hand side (this has to be filled in currently) such as who the director are, the jurisdiction and other information about the structure, so you can see the potential for the platform to becoming a living transaction bible.
Leon and Scanlan’s longer term ambitions for Jigsaw go well beyond the current functionality. They have an open API and plan to integrate with the document repositories in which lawyers live, plus potentially contract automation tools. Leon says: “We’re inviting people onto a platform at the beginning of a matter to structure the deal so lawyers are on the platform from the beginning and they can remain on it,” adding: “We’re creating a helpful tool that can integrate with anyone.”
According to Jigsaw’s website it is funded by partners, CIOs, CKOs, MDs and other City professionals. It is building a consortium to help develop its functionality and already has five out of a planned 10 firms. They plan to release the app in November. For more information see: