As stated in the just released announcement, Reveal, a global provider of the leading AI-powered eDiscovery platform, and Brainspace, a global provider of visual analytics for eDiscovery and investigations, announced today that they have joined forces. The combination creates a technology powerhouse bringing together two leading artificial intelligence and analytics engines, propelling the next evolution of legal technology. K1 Investment Management (“K1”), a leading investment firm focused on high-growth enterprise software companies, has invested over $200 million in the combined organization.
“Backed by K1, Reveal’s merger with Brainspace has set into motion the next phase of AI innovation in the practice of law. Fueled by some of the world’s most powerful AI technology and underpinned by the Reveal review platform, we are ushering in a new era of automation in legal technology.” said Wendell Jisa, founder & CEO of Reveal.
As the announcement notes, in less than six months, Reveal has acquired NexLP and merged with Brainspace to combine the two leading eDiscovery AI solutions and create a “single pane of glass” platform for their customers’ eDiscovery needs. This superior user experience enables clients to manage data, control costs, and extract key insights all in one place. Customers will now have access to the entire suite, including Reveal’s industry-leading processing, early case assessment, AI and review functionality, as well as Brainspace’s data analytics engine.
K1’s investment will be used to fuel growth, including expanding the sales and marketing teams, building additional functionality within the products, and hiring within R&D, data science and customer success to augment the client experience.
I interviewed Jisa yesterday and asked him a few questions about Reveal and the merger announcement, as follows:
What was the driving force behind the decision for Reveal to merge with Brainspace?
We’ve been trying to change the way that law is practiced and I believe we’ve reached an inflection point or paradigm shift in legal technology where it’s become a requirement for attorneys to use technology to further their careers. Five or ten years ago, attorneys looked at technology something that would hinder or distract from their careers, but the next generation of attorneys craves the power of technology.
By acquiring the two leading AI technologies in the legal technology space, we’ve built a chamber that’s powered by artificial intelligence and this has not only put Reveal on the map, but it’s made us the incumbent to provide people in the industry the freedom of choice to choose technology that’s about solving problems instead of just looking at problems. That’s something that I’m really passionate about. I come from an LSP background where we worked to offer a “white glove”, Ritz Carlton like customer experience. We want to provide a similar experience by automating the legal industry and, from my perspective, the way to do that was to acquire the best visual analytics software in Brainspace and the best AI in NexLP, to combine those together to drive the momentum of the review process that the other features of Reveal provide.
How does Reveal plan to integrate Brainspace into the tech stack that you have put together than includes your recent acquisition of Nex-LP as well? Do you envision that Brainspace will be incorporated into the Reveal interface or will it continue to remain a separate platform that is integrated with Reveal?
Two things: first, we’re always going to provide a standalone interface with Brainspace for LSPs and other customers who are using it with competitive review tools. But, Reveal is already integrated with Brainspace. We had turned that off when we acquired NexLP, but we’ve now “dusted that off” with our acquisition of Brainspace. We tried to combine the two companies back in 2017, but we at least integrated them back then. Our end goal is to take the best of the two products, with our combined data science and combined development teams and create a frictionless AI experience with the features and functions and the visual analytics of Brainspace combined with the power of the library modules of NexLP so that you don’t have to push buttons. So, we want to create that seamless and frictionless experience within the Reveal platform, but we also recognize that we can’t limit the power of Brainspace for those existing customers, so we’ll not only going to provide the standalone version of the product, but we’re going to continue to innovate with it. This acquisition is about solving problems, not creating new problems, and the culture of Reveal is invested in doing so for our customers in a unique manner than how our competitors are doing so.
How did feedback from your customers factor into the decision to proceed with this merger?
We knew it was the right thing to do. No one else has acquired products with the capabilities of Mindseye, NexLP and Brainspace to bring together those capabilities within one platform before. Our customers are heavily invested in our success and this acquisition is a part of that. This adds to other customer benefits like our enterprise model for LSPs gives them the freedom to build a model that promotes recurring revenue like they’ve never had before.
This is an industry that’s heavily invested in by private equity. I think we speak their language. But, we also recognize that we need to rely on LSPs as partners to get this platform out to the masses. We need to invest in each other. So, I think they recognize that us giving them this vehicle to customize themselves and go out and drive and race everyone else, that this vehicle has (or will have) every bit of functionality they will need. Doug, you heard it here first, we will go out and do other acquisitions in ’21. This is not the last one. We’re going to continue to strive to be better, offering better technology that solves more problems in the legal technology space. That’s what I’m most excited about. You don’t get comfortable, and we’ve done a really good job of avoiding that. We can’t stop now. Investing in eDiscovery is a passion of mine – I’ve been in this industry forever. A lot of competitors have been looking to move beyond this space, but Reveal has been looking to people like you and George and Joy Murao to collaborate to determine how to put eDiscovery on the map, not just Reveal on the map.
To coin the Field of Dreams phrase of “if you build it, they will come”, you’ve built an impressive collection of AI technology tied to legal and eDiscovery. How do you plan to convince legal professional to “come”, or in other words, embrace the application of AI technology to legal use cases?
Number one is what I’ve already mentioned and that’s relying on LSPs. And the LSP’s have an army of folks out there in the world looking to offer something to their customers that innovative, that’s forward-thinking and that’s built around AI. We’re working with them and collaborating with them to take this to market. Number two is, and I say this with complete humility, Reveal is a company that has grown dramatically the past six years and we feel that our customer base in our SaaS offering has quietly grown faster than our competition, not just from a data volume size, but also from a revenue perspective. I think that having two private equity investments in November 2018 and another one in January 2021 speaks to the potential here. You wouldn’t have almost a quarter of a billion dollars invested in this combined organization if we didn’t already have a very substantial robust customer base. So, we’ve already been convincing them to embrace the technology.
Having said that, we must continue to listen to our customers and invest in our customer success experience. One of the areas that was a weak spot for Reveal was our training and certification program. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to invest in it, it was just a matter of being able to focus on while we were growing as fast as we were. But that’s changing. Since Covid hit, Michael Griffin and his team that runs the certification program for Reveal and Brainspace have signed up almost 10,000 new certified individuals worldwide in over 40 countries. Over the past 90 days, he’s been working to extend that certification program into the other features that we have. Educating and training folks on how to use the platform will enable them to figure out how they want to use it for their jobs.
So, what do you think? Are you surprised by this announcement? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.
Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.