On Monday, Houston-based enterprise workflow solutions company Onit Inc. acquired legal operations platform SimpleLegal Inc. for an undisclosed amount. The merger comes nearly six months after K1 Investment Managed invested $200 million in Onit.
Onit co-founder and CEO Eric Elfman said his company and K1 approached SimpleLegal three months ago regarding an acquisition because SimpleLegal’s clientele is in the midmarket corporate legal department, unlike Onit’s large corporate department audience. Such a move into the midmarket was seen as complementary, Elfman said.
Acquiring SimpleLegal and its Mountain View, California, office also places Onit in Silicon Valley for the first time, Elfman noted. However, Elfman said Onit will not be adding any of SimpleLegal’s technology into Onit’s current software. Instead, it will be a subsidiary of Onit and continue to be marketed as SimpleLegal.
SimpleLegal’s platform includes e-billing; spend, matter, vendor and knowledge management capabilities; and a reporting and analytics tool to evaluate legal spend, operations and outside counsel performance. The legal operations platform was started in 2013, and in 2016 received an investment from Y Combinator, along with 10 other legal tech startups.
While SimpleLegal is Onit’s first and currently only subsidiary, Onit already offers users similar SimpleLegal features, including enterprise legal management. However, Onit also provides account management, nondisclosure agreement services, legal hold offerings and contract management.
Elfman said other acquisition discussions are on the table but he would not disclose further details.
To be sure, Onit’s investor K1 is no stranger to legal tech. Last week, the investment firm sold document management software Litera Microsystems, which launched a contract drafting tool in 2018, to private equity group HgCapital Trust. K1 created Litera through a $100 million investment that combined three companies.
In 2017, a K1 investment was also the catalyst in merging communications archiving organizations Smarsh and Actiance.
Onit’s acquisition also comes on the heels of professional and information services company Wolters Kluwer acquiring contract lifecycle management provider CLM Matrix for $35 million. Wolters Kluwer, like Onit, also said its newest acquisition would remain a stand-alone product, however the global company said it would integrate CLM Matrix into its spend and matter management products.