Tech start-up incubated by law firm gains cash and high-profile investors in latest funding round

Pullan: eyeing major expansion and profitability stage

A contract review technology company incubated by Cambridge-based law firm Taylor Vinters has raised more than $1m in its latest funding round, with investors including former Vodafone UK CEO Guy Laurence, and Michael Findlay, chairman of Morgan Sindall and former co-head of investment banking for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The round for ThoughtRiver, a developer of contract intelligence AI software, was oversubscribed within 11 days.

Founded in 2013 by former Taylor Vinters partner Tim Pullan, ThoughtRiver has developed software that uses AI to scan and interpret information in written contracts. It produces visuals of the potential risks in an online dashboard to enable the user to make better decisions more quickly.

Dentsu Aegis Network, a global media, digital and communications group, was the first company to trial ThoughtRiver in its contract departments.

At the time of its investment, Taylor Vinters said the move “fits squarely with our strategy of finding new ways to address client needs outside of a traditional law firm service model”.

As well as providing financial backing, Mr Laurence and Mr Findlay will be advisors to ThoughtRiver. They join investor and advisor Duncan Painter, the CEO of FTSE-250 company Ascential who led the round.

Mr Laurence said: “Drafting contracts is an everyday practice for businesses of all sizes. A big company, however, can easily have more than 150,000 contracts stretching back years and, in many cases, signed by people who left the company long ago.

“As the former CEO of a $13bn public company, I’ve signed many large contracts and lived with the consequences of badly worded ones from the past. ThoughtRiver allows contracts old and new to be scanned in minutes and evaluated for risk and liabilities.

“Having reviewed ThoughtRiver’s capabilities, it is clear it will be at the forefront of this market and that’s why I’ve invested in the company.”

The money raised will be used to fuel further growth ahead of a Series A funding round later this year.

Mr Pullan said: “We hit the market at the right time, so have developed a strong reputation, which has generated a lot of interest and direct approaches from potential clients.

“Over the next few months, our aim is to convert those opportunities into revenue, so it’s going to be a very busy period. The funding will be key to this, helping us to accelerate sales activity and product development as well as enhance client management.

“We’re really pleased to have Guy and Michael on board as we embark on our traction stage. As a combined team with Duncan, their experience and expertise will enable us to refine our strategy and lay the foundations for our next funding round in the winter. We expect this to be the last one we will need before taking the business into its major expansion and profitability stage.”

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